As the campus-wide NSO dry policy is lifted, we give you the lowdown on the tastiest versions of the generally questionable drinks served at campus parties.
For 120 years now, we at The Daily have been asked literally every kind of question a wide-eyed freshman could possibly ask. From the academic (“Which course has the best effort-to-grade ratio?”) to the awkward (“How do I tell my roommate I’m deathly allergic to his cherry-scented lube?”) — there is little ground in the Universe of the Great Unknown that we have not helped students conquer.
The most common question through the ages, though, seems to be a particularly universal and perennially surfacing concern: Which parties are the best parties?
Now, we’re not going to beat around the bush. There are no two ways about it — the answer is simple, straightforward and immutable. The best parties are those that serve really, really great drinks.
See, there really only is that much awkward twerking you can bear to watch with your Natty Light beer goggles. As much as our unwavering editorial standards steer clear of overused hashtags, we really do appreciate a party that knows how to #keepitclassy — if you’re going to turn your house into one giant steaming vat of writhing bodies, the very least you could do is to make sure that the vodka being served to guests isn’t a $1.99 handle you bought off the Walmart clearance rack.
So, henceforth, no more Jungle Juice of dubious origin: We spill the beans on the tastiest tipples in town, sharing our top picks for classy alternatives to six of the most common party drinks. Whether you are a seasoned hedonist trying to spruce up your tired parties (looking at you, frat boys) or a guileless freshman going to your first-ever bacchanalian bash, this guide will help you get crunk without the junk.
While vodkas don’t generally have a distinct flavour of their own — unless, of course, you count “tipsy” as one– they certainly can leave a foul bitterness on the tongue. Avoid this with the holy triumvirate of Ketel One ($23.99, 750ml), Belvedere ($29.99, 750ml) and Grey Goose ($29.98, 750ml), all of which are specifically filtered to remove the chemical compounds responsible for the lingering taste of shame and regret.
What is a party without tequila shots? A civilized party, that’s what. But if you absolutely must slam it back, we’d rather you go with one made with 100 percent agave juice to prevent that nasty hangover. You won’t need a spoonful of sugar to help the Jose Cuervo Tradicional Reposado ($24.98, 750ml) go down: Aged in oak barrels for up to three years, the rich, rounded chocolate and fig flavours will do anything but make you balk.
It is an unfortunate reality that rums are usually buried under mixers (see: Cuba Libre). For a much tastier option, dark rums aged in oak barrels preserve the sweetness of sugarcane juice, from which rums are distilled. The complex candy and honey flavours of Ron Zacapa Centenario 23 ($45.99, 750ml) are sensuous enough to slowly sip — on the rocks, just as the Guatemalans themselves do — and smooth enough to knock back. And, because we know you are wondering: No, Malibu Rum is not a valid option here.
Few can deny the sublime delight of a frosty gin and tonic, but we would sooner turn to a vodka and tonic than have to drink one made with a harsh, overpowering gin. By far our favourite brand of juniper juice is Scottish label Hendrick’s ($34.99, 750ml), whose delicate Bulgarian rose and cucumber notes make for a wonderfully floral — and extremely drinkable — G&T. Bonus point: makes one hell of a martini too.
The first time I tasted beer at a frat party, I thought I had accidentally drunk from the cup of water used to cleanse the grimy beer pong ball. For something less like water and more like a malt brew, the intensely flavourful Abbey Leffe Blonde ($8.69, 6-pack) is a delicious Belgian explosion of sweet, bready goodness, while managing to remain refreshingly light with fruity overtones.
Ah, the trusty Equally Attractive Non-Alcoholic Beverage — providing both sensible teetotallers and long-gone guzzlers nightlong sustenance. If you’re not quite feeling the fluorescent “orange juice,” the delicate taste of Bundaberg Root Beer ($6.99, 4-pack) is a subtly citrusy alternative, brewed using time-honoured Australian methods with sarsaparilla root, liquorice, molasses and vanilla bean.
Prices are based on www.bevmo.com. The Stanford Daily encourages drinking in moderation and bears no responsibility for the enduring bout of beverage snobbery that will plague you for the rest of the year. If you are thoroughly inspired by this piece of food writing — or, indeed, if you think you can come up with something better — and would like to contribute, contact firstname.lastname@example.org to enquire about joining The Daily Food & Wine team.