Sunday, June 11, 2006

Making Drinks For Nigel: Singles & Shots

Calum Marsh

One hot summer day last year, a good friend of mine from high school invited me and several others over for a little reunion. The six or seven of us that could spare enough time to show up spent an afternoon doing what we did a lot back in the day: playing video games and eating pizza. It's one hell of a way to spend a hot afternoon, but I was getting restless and wanted to make things more interesting.

"Let's drink this evening", I proposed to the group, expecting acclaim for such a spectacular idea. I had already spent a year in University, which these folk had not yet done, and so my affinity for binge drinking was totally alien to them. I got all the usual excuses - "I'm working in the morning", "I can't really afford it right now", and the worst, "I really shouldn't" (what the hell does that even mean?). Disheartened, I gave up. But Dan, the friend that had organized the event, was all for the idea, and piped up when he noticed that nobody else would: "Fuck it, let's drink".

And so we did. All we had to drink was beer, which, at the time, I wasn't really into. Dan and I had only managed to convince one other friend to stick around and have some fun, but the three of us were determined to have a good time nevertheless.

At midnight we found salvation. Tyler, an old friend who we weren't able to get ahold of earlier in the day, gave us a call. He was already drunk. "I'll be right over", he slurred before hanging up the phone. We waited. Moments later Tyler pulled into the driveway - he nearly hit Dan's car and wound up parking on the lawn. He stumbled into the house and threw a very large duffle bag onto the floor. "Open it", he said, making his way into the kitchen and pouring a small glass of water for himself. Inside the bag we found, to our great surprise delight, bottle after bottle of liquor. He had everything from Prince Igor vodka to Creme Du Cacao (a delicious chocolate liqueur), and it was ours to enjoy. A moment passed and nobody said anything. What was there to say? I asked what the others were surely thinking: "Where on earth did you get all of this?" We never got an answer. Instead we got a shot glass each and an open invitation to drink whatever we pleased. Tyler dug through the bag retreaved a small hardcover book with the words "101 Shots" scrawled across the cover. "We're going to have as many of these as we can until we pass out", Tyler declared, preparing for business, "come, we've got a lot of work to do".

Tyler set us up downstairs. Each bottle was affixed with a stopper to ensure accuracy even when completely hammered - laid out in front of us I could now see the extent to which we were stocked; we had everything I'd ever had and a great number I'd never before seen. I was amazed.

I was excited to get drunk with my friends but even more excited to try new things. I imagined tasting many different recipes and deciding which were the best. I would be a shooter expert, and I could make a drink for any occassion. Ah, but here's the rub: the more shots I had that night, the less likely it was that I'd remember them the next day. Turns out I had so many that I didn't remember a single thing the next morning. I think one was green, but I could be wrong.

The point here is that while shooters are a lot of fun and often tasty, it's a bit pointless to try and make a mental inventory of the ones you like and the ones you don't. Nobody wants to spend the time and money trying each of these professionally. This isn't fine wine. Shots are for getting drunk, plain and simple, and although the process is a lot more interesting and enjoyable when you're downing two ounces of layered rainbow-coloured mystery liquor that tastes like schnozberries, it's not the only thing that matters.

Still, it's worth having a few simple and delicious shooter recipes on hand that you can crack out at parties and impress your friends with. And those delicious shooters are even more delicious when downed to the sound of the right record. Making and drinking a single shot isn't long enough a process to warrant an entire album, though, so these excellent shooters are going to be paired up with some excellent singles. Here are five great 12" Singles from my record collection and five great shooters from my recipe book. Enjoy (responsibly).

5. LCD Soundsystem - Losing My Edge/Beat Connection
There are few records that start a party as well as this great LCD Soundsystem single. Things start of smooth and slow with 'Losing My Edge' - you've gotta ease people into the dancier stuff - and then appropriately pick up with B-Side 'Beat Connection'.

Shot: Alabama Slammer
The problem with drinking is there's no particularly easy way of starting. Doing a shot is pretty rough when sober, so it's important to start the night with a drink that's not too harsh. The Alabama Slammer is always a crowd favourite because it's a lot of fun to drink with friends and it's relatively smooth going down. If you're really anxious to get things going, shoot every time James Murphy says "I was there" - you should be soused in no time. Pour 1oz of Southern Comfort (though you could use Rum or Tequila in a pinch) into a 2oz shot glass. Top up with a clear soda (7Up, Club Soda, etc), and cover the top of the glass with your hand - shake it up and shoot it while it's fizzing. Be warned: this is increasingly diffcult to do properly as the night goes on.

4. The Juan Maclean - Give Me Every Little Thing
This a great song to hear smashed strictly because it's fun to should "GIVE ME EVERY LITTLE THING - AND DON'T STOP!" when you're completely and unabashadly intoxicated. Trust me, you will not be able to resist doing so. Seriously. Just try it.

Shot: Blow Job
Yeah, yeah - it's the most cliched shot ever, and it's got a really retarded name. But it's actually pretty good, and, sadly, kind of fun to do when you're drunk. Just imagine the possibilities: with enough alcohol, you'll spend the whole night dunking these shooters while slurring "AND DON'T STOP!" - now doesn't that sound fun? Layer a half oz of Kahlua and a half oz of Baileys (or some other Irish cream) in one oz glass and top with whipped cream. Tie or hold your hands behind your back and grasp the glass with your mouth; throw your head back and please, don't choke.

3. M83 - Don't Save Us From The Flames
It's a great nighttime album and a great nighttime song, made all the more moody and intruiging with a couple of drinks and some good friends. It isn't very appropriate for wild and crazy parties or hardcore keggers, but if you're planning a more relaxed social event with friends you like actually talking to, this is the song to throw on.

Shot: Fireball
It's kind of a lame pun, but it stands up as a shot even without the silly name connection. Though it won't satisfy every intellectual in the room, the craziness of the Fireball shot will definitely spice up your party - ho ho. Mix 1oz or Cinammon Schnapps (though I find Fireball Whisky works just as well) with a little bit of Tabasco Sauce (not much, for Christ's sake) in a two oz or 1.5oz shot glass. Be extremely careful and have a glass of water on hand.

2. Antony & The Johnsons - Hope There's Someone
I don't recommend throwing on 'Hope There's Someone' in the middle of your drink-fest, but this is a great song to throw on right at the end of the night. Or, if you're planning a classy party with a few close friends, this song does a good job of setting the right mood.

Shot: Polar Bear
Mmm, mmm - there are few shooters as delicious or heartwarming as this classic bar favourite. I've yet to meet a single person who doesn't like the taste of this delicious treat, and it's not too crazy or too powerful to upset the tone of a slower or classier gig. Combine a half oz of Peppermint Schnapps (anything minty will do) and a half oz of Creme Du Cacao in a standard shot glass and shoot or sip to your heart's content.

1. !!! - Take Ecstasy With Me
A great band's great cover of a great song by a great band. The interesting thing about this single is that works for both wild parties and calm gatherings, making it a crucial part of any record collection. I've thrown on this record so many times and my company has yet to be disappointed - I love it.

Shot: Ecstasy
Obviously. Granted, the experience would be all the better (and gleefully self-referential) if you were actually taking the drug, but for now I think I'll stick to the shooter that happens to go by the same name. Combine 3/4 of an oz of Butterscotch Schnapps with a quarter oz of Baileys (or, once again, another Irish Cream) in a standard shot glass. Enjoy.

LCD Soundsystem - Losing My Edge
Juan Maclean - Give Me Every Little Thing
M83 - Don't Save Us From The Flames
Antony & The Johnsons - Hope There's Someone
!!! - Take Ecstasy With Me

LCD Soundsystem - LCD Soundsystem
Juan Maclean - Give Me Every Little Thing
M83 - Don't Save Us From The Flames
Antony & The Johnsons - Hope There's Someone
!!! - Take Ecstasy With Me

Comments on "Making Drinks For Nigel: Singles & Shots"


Blogger Geoff Trainor said ... (11/6/06 11:23 pm) : 

Ha, I reallt enjoy the story intro. Made me laugh out loud.


Anonymous rsgold said ... (2/3/12 1:26 am) : 

This kind of submit may be a little bit of a revelation in my opinion.

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