...where distraction is the main attraction.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

What Are You Drinking? -- Part Two

This is the second installment of a three-part series.  Part One is here.  I'm including a link to the Google Docs file on which the table screenshots are based.

I  <3  California grocery stores

Part 2:  What'd you pay for that?

In this troubled economy we should consider where we're putting our money.  Buy a sixer of Miller Lite?  Or a mid-range whiskey blend?  Miller's going to set you back $6.  Johnnie Walker Black's on sale for $28. Then there's that $8 wine at Trader Joes.  What's going to give you more booze for your buck?

OR sometimes a opportunity comes around to buy something nice for yourself.  Are you going to go for that bottle of great real champagne for $35 or how about that good bottle of 18-year-old single malt for $100?

"$100!  That's ridiculous!  Why would you dump so much money into some liquid that you're just going to drink up anyway?  Let's skip the middle man and flush that cash directly down the toilet."
Good question, Blue Text.  We'll get to that.

Now, assuming for a moment that you enjoy all of these alcohols relatively equally, how much drank can you actually get for your dollar?  See here:

Orange = beers; Purple = wines; Pink = liqueurs; Blue = spirits; Brown = whiskies

To answer the first question: While it's closer than some may expect, Miller Lite does give you more for your money.  The beers tend to.  So do the mid-range liquors, as can be expected.  It's interesting to note how close everything lines up at the top.  That makes it convenient to choose whatever your tastebuds call for.

Beers hold their own pretty well throughout.  The liqueurs really don't, again due to their low alcohol by volume.  Conversely due to its higher content, gin shows up as a cost-effective option, whether you're aiming high or low.

Now, to address the second question.  Compared to the $35 champagne, that $100 whisky doesn't seem so bad now.  Alcohol content is 16% more expensive in the bubbly.  Meanwhile the whisky is an investment.  And that's a major premium that's difficult to measure.  To note:

Once you open that champagne, it must be finished within the next couple of hours, even if you seal it up Vacu-Vin-style.  But that whiskey?  You can go back to it whenever you like.  A pricey bottle like the one in the example above can last you two months if you don't abuse it too badly.  Liquor bottles thus become luxurious.  A long-term relationship, as opposed to a one-night stand.  Something you don't have to rush.  Did your work day suck?  Enjoy a sip.  Is it Friday yet?  Have two sips.  How much are you willing to pay for that?

"But you can't drink liquor with a meal!"
Yes, you can.  Vodkas are designed to be flavorless -- they're basically ethyl and water -- so you can enjoy it with anything you like.  No two decent brands of gin are the same, resulting it different balances of herbs which in turn can be paired with the herbs and seasonings in your dish.  Great whiskies are known to have 10-15 separate flavors and aromas that can in turn be matched to nearly every food.

"But a glass of wine is romantic!"
Perhaps.  But Oban 14-year served neat is damn near erotic.  And it's not $100.

"But I like Budweiser."
Don't tell me you like it.  Tell me you bought it because you were financially responsible and reviewed my chart above.

Have I sold you on liquor yet?
"No. I like Budweiser. And Baileys. Together."


Well, wait until you see Part 3...

(Sources: my liquor cabinet; beveragewarehouse.com; American Medical Association; Indiana Prevention Resource Center;
Feller, Robyn. The Complete Bartender. New York: Berkeley Books, 1990.)

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