Hard Stuff

BALVENIE SIGNATURE 12-YEAR SINGLE-MALT SCOTCH. Mmmmmmmmmm…infused with sherry, this Scotch starts slightly floral then mellows into smoky caramel notes and then finishes dry. Divine. RECOMMEND.

LAPHROAIG 10-YEAR. If a well-meaning friend invited me to an AA meeting, this is what I’d take along in my flask. Delicately peaty with oaky dryness—a symphony of complex flavours in a big, big single-malt whisky. RECOMMEND.

BACARDI RUM. This is my first-thing-in-the-morning fave. I also like soak my fur in it and lick myself all day. RECOMMEND.

SILENT SAM. If you’re as terrified of going in the washing machine as I, this clear, minimalist vodka is for you. Minimal taste and smell mean it won’t offend you or your loved ones as it marinates your fur, and you’ll be able to tackle the rest of that 46er without retching. RECOMMEND.

CANADIAN CLUB. Light and smooth, this is a not-embarrassing substitute for the pricier Crown Royal. I like to keep a glass beside the bed for when I wake up. RECOMMEND.

CROWN ROYAL. Golden, smooth blended whisky with a long finish. After priming with Canadian Club, I like to take a bottle downtown and lurch around. RECOMMEND.

CROWN ROYAL. To clarify, I like to drink Canadian club until the tremors go away, and then when I can relax and just enjoy the taste, I switch to Crown Royal. RECOMMEND.

POLAR ICE VODKA. With a bear on the label, you can’t go wrong. Reasonable and unpretentious. And the plastic bottle means you can reel around just about anywhere with it and not worry about breakage. RECOMMEND.

DR. McGILLICUDDY’S FIREBALL WHISKY. You think you’re gonna get a nice whisky burn and instead you get the flaming owie ouchie of cinnamon searing your esophagus. This is probably not for drinking the way I tried it—straight-up in a big tumbler—but I RECOMMEND it in little sips with a tumbler of vodka on the side.

CUERVO. More like a high than drunkenness is what you can expect with this overhyped market bully. Harsh, unrefined and somehow jagged-tasting, it’s nevertheless absolutely the ticket when it comes to getting completely loaded. RECOMMEND using a funnel if someone won’t lend you their skin/fur for a body shot.

STOLICHNAYA VODKA. There’s such a confusing selection of different flavours that you really have to shop sober (i.e., Monday 9:00 a.m.) or risk buying something that isn’t even vodka. (I digress.) Decent if not awe-inspiring, and moderate in hangover terms. Echoing my good friend Jean-Guy, I RECOMMEND mixing it 50/50 with Smirnoff, especially when your day feels pointless.

SMIRNOFF VODKA. Cheap and strong, this goes well with Tang. RECOMMEND.

JACK DANIEL’S WHISKY SOUR MASH BLACK LABEL NO. 7. This is a good introduction to bourbon and therefore suitable for prom and similar occasions. Once you’ve acquainted yourself with better, you won’t bother with it except maybe for breakfast. RECOMMEND.

BEEFEATER GIN. The only gin that’s still bottled inLondon, Beefeater has all the flavours you expect from a good gin. It’s perhaps less subtle than some of the up-and-comers, but it gets the job done beautifully at a reasonable price. I’d like to jump into a vat of Beefeater and spend the next few days sucking it out of my fur. RECOMMEND.

MOUNT GAY EXTRA OLD RUM. These guys have been making rum for 300 years and it shows. This stuff is perfection itself: intensely flavourful without burning, and delicately complex with faint citrusy banana in the background. I have to admit I would drink an entire bottle of this in one go. RECOMMEND.

NEWFOUNDLAND SCREECH. This is the real deal—a nice, strong Jamaican rum. Why the hell it’s distributed in Newfoundland I just don’t know, and I’m not sober enough to learn why. But what I do know is that the stuff sold in Newfoundland stores is the legal stuff; RECOMMEND finding the extralegal stuff if you really want to party.

BOWMORE 17-YEAR SINGLE MALT SCOTCH WHISKY. Complex, lingering, balanced. I would drink this even if I had to wring it into my mouth from some seven-day-old dirty underwear. RECOMMEND.

CHIVAS REGAL 12 YEAR. Just silly. This non-serious blended scotch is nonetheless a reasonable gateway for those who will one day seek out real single-malt scotch. I like to drink it while wearing a dress. RECOMMEND.

ROBITUSSIN. Another good go-to when parents have been tardy replenishing the liquor cabinet. Tastes like ass, but RECOMMEND in a pinch.

BACARDI BIG APPLE. Fulfills the sophomoric need to add *flavour* to perfectly good spirit. Counteract this dilution of the general spirit of drinking by opening this bottle before work. RECOMMEND.

LAGAVULIN 12-YEAR. Single-maltIslaywhisky is pungent with peat and smoke. It will take the fur off a bear’s chest, but don’t you dare water it down or I will laugh at you. RECOMMEND.

SHIT MIX. Don’t say you’re too mature to do this: wake up early and pour a finger from each of five+ bottles in your cabinet and shake/stir before enjoying. This is a great way to clear almost-empty bottles out of your house on mornings when the recycling truck is due. RECOMMEND.

GREY GOOSE VODKA. Neither the best nor the worst. Certainly overrated. RECOMMEND.

GUSANO ROJO MEZCAL. There’s no reason not to have some of this intriguing stuff right now. Keep it in your desk at work; share your office gossip with the special redOaxacaworm swimming in the bottom. The nectar of the Aztec Gods. RECOMMEND all day.

APPLETON ESTATE RUM (JAMAICA). Do not waste this in a tiramisu or any other dessert!! Drink it, fools. RECOMMEND.

TANQUERAY GIN. This is the perfect gin. It neither errs on the side of too much (Beefeater) or too little (Bombay)—the juniper flavouring is exquisite. Don’t get fooled into buying the pricier Tanq 10—it’s a cleaner version that will leave you missing the original’s character. RECOMMEND.

GILBEY’S VODKA. Burning and offensive, this is the sort of gargle to seek after performing sexual services on a hobo (presumably to fulfil your end of some unspeakable, substance-seeking negotiation). It will kill every tastebud in your mouth. RECOMMEND.

HENDRICK’S GIN. Confusing, unexpected flavours such as cucumber suggest this gin was concocted for designer-type gadflies with low attention spans and purported high IQs. Try with a wedge of cucumber instead of lime/lemon if you wish to join this esoteric world. RECOMMEND.

EL SENORIO MEZCAL. Look at the little guy at the bottom in there – little wormy looks like he’s going for a swim. Leave him be and just drink the mezcal – if you’re into this bottle you’ve already proven yourself. RECOMMEND.

BOMBAY SAPPHIRE GIN. A delicate, almost too clean gin that to be fully appreciated should be enjoyed as a martini. To add mixer to this delectable gin is to mask its nuance. RECOMMEND.

POTTER’S GIN. This gin’s for you if you don’t know or care what juniper is, and you either need to spike a punch or attend a parking-lot party with some shiftless friends. RECOMMEND.

THREE OLIVES VODKA. Makes a spectacular greyhound. RECOMMEND.

MALIBU. What doesn’t this go with? RECOMMEND.

WINDEX. *Conditionally* RECOMMEND only if there are no other spirits available and you are already blind.

JAEGERMEISTER. Add some class to your moviegoing experience: take a flask of this slightly medicinal treat along and throw it in your extortionate concession drink. Then get raucous. RECOMMEND.

BROKERS LONDON DRY GIN. Excellent dry, gin that—unlike so many new gins—does not try to draw more attention to itself than it should. Tasteful and just plain perfect. RECOMMEND.


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