We've already offered tips on how to survive your inevitable layoff
, but what's the best way to keep yourself happy and boozy when that income dries up? We did some intoxicatingly in-depth research on the subject, as well as getting first-hand advice from free-drinks guru Seva Granik of Myopenbar.com
and economical bartendress Jessica Chrustic of Brooklyn's Public Assembly
. 8. B.I.Y. (Brew It Yourself)
OK, so distilling your own vodka at home sounds about as tempting (and safe
) as cooking up crystal meth in a Motel 6. Making beer in the living room is a simpler proposition, even if the equipment can be clunky. 7. Follow the Tax
Beer drinkers should flock to Missouri and Wyoming, where the tax on their drink of choice is a piddling 6 cents a gallon. Vodka and spirit drinkers will want to stick to Maryland, where the tax is only $1.50 a gallon. Cheap boozers need to beware Alaska: the land of moose, oil, and Sarah Palin loves their liquor taxes. $1.07 per gallon of beer and $12.80 per gallon of spirits? That's cold, Alaska, cold.Shotgun, chug or simply sip the top six
, after the jump.
6. The Power of 40s
Our younger siblings once regaled us of a college drinking game making the rounds. Dubbed "Edward Fortyhands," it involves duct-taping a 40-ounce beer to each hand; the player can't remove them until they're drained. This seems like one of the most efficient ways to get completely tanked for the cost of two Colt 45s (around $4.)
If you really want some bang for your buck, throw 'em in the freezer first -- all that alcohol will settle in the top of the bottle, and it'll hit you like a delicious brick to the head. (EDITOR'S NOTE: We are not responsible for any lifelong regrets or communicable diseases that result from performing these activities.) 5. Why Didn't You Flask?
Just because you're drinking lukewarm rotgut on the sly doesn't mean you have to look like a hobo while doing it. Invest in a classy number from the highbrow Brits at Aspinal of London
. Then head to your favorite watering hole and order cheap (or free) sodas and tonics all night long. A little top off from the flask in a shadowy corner, and you're on your way to budget drunk heaven!
Just don't be obvious, as bartender Jessica Chrustic concurs: "I don't kill people who flask it. I don't want to be a hypocrite -- I know times get can get rough. If they aren't douches, I tell them I didn't see anything but warn them if I do again, they're out. I figure it embarrasses them and sends a clear message."
If you're feeling technical, you can always adapt a sports product (like the Camelbak
) for some athletic drinking. A source tell us: "In a college town it's pretty normal to see backpacks at the bar; in Iowa City I knew someone who had a backpack specifically designated for the bladder of a box of Franzia." Classy! 4. Cheap Doesn't Mean Vulgar
Our friends over at AOL Foods rounded up seven bottles of wine clocking in at under $5.99
. (Wash that down with this fascinating look
at the "Two-Buck Chuck" movement.) For low-cost beer, most bars stock cheap-ass cans of the hipster-approved swill Pabst Blue Ribbon, and it's not as bad as you think. "A beer-and-a-shot combo always wins, and most bars will have something of the sort on special," notes Myopenbar's Granik -- though it's those "bargains" that often end up in a 24-hour hangover.
Certain low-cost spirits are to be avoided. There's a reason single malts are so expensive. Whiskey is a refined drink -- just ask Ron White
-- and the craptastic versions are an insult to that tradition. We've already warned you of the perils of discount 'mixto' tequila
. Chrustic cautions against Midori in any of its incarnations ("After my first open bar with Midori, I will forever be scarred") as well as anything cheap and sweet ("It has lots of sugar, you look like a pansy and will pay for it the next day.").
Stick to the bottom-barrel vodkas instead. A brand like Svedka manages to be both affordable and award-winning, but drop down to Nikolai or Laird's if you're really skint. If your stomach ends up unable to handle the budget vodka, don't throw it away -- you can clean your razors or kill bees with it
3. Become a Media Whore
Writers, journalists and other media types have an inside track to free boozing. Why not splurge on some fancy business cards making yourself the Editor in Chief of an imaginary magazine with a name like LuxLife or Rich Bitch Quarterly? Get in the loop with publicists, and before you know it you'll be invited to the inner sanctum of free martinis and fancy hors d'oeuvres. (For a hint as to what this rarified world looks like -- or looked like, before the economic crash -- read Toby Young's "How to Lose Friends and Alienate People
2. Stay At Home
Everyone knows that the liquor mark-up at bars is substantial, but we try not to think about it too hard, lest we end up weeping into our watered-down drinks. But let's ponder the actual math for a moment. A source in the wholesale distribution business broke it down for us: A domestic keg costs a bar about $50 -- that generates around 120 pints. Priced at an economical $4 per pint, that still brings in a whopping $430 of pure profit. A bar might pay roughly $12 for a bottle of Smirnoff's, which would be good for around 17 mixed drinks. If those mixed drinks are priced at $5 -- a helluva bargain --that's still $73 profit. Lesson learned? Drink for cheap in your living room ... and use all the money you save to open your own damned bar. 1. Detox Your Bank Account
No matter how many corners you cut, the drinking life is still going to drain your finances -- so why not rebrand yourself as a teetotaler? Sober doesn't have to equal boring. We've heard that quit-everything guru Alan Carr's books
have an almost mesmerizing potential. With all the money you'll save over the course of a year you might just be able to afford to start drinking again ... at least until you need to repeat the cycle.