CHEAP DRINKIN’ WEDNESDAY – WEEK 2: COLT 45

by FRANK THOMPSON

Admit it, we all wanted to be him.
Admit it, we all wanted to be him.

If you can’t trust Billy Dee Williams, friends, who can you trust? I mean, this man brought an intergalactic Rat-Pack-style cool to the Star Wars saga. Han Solo may have been the growling Sinatra, but Lando was Dean Martin, baby, all the way down to his patent leather space boots. And you know he would have been getting Princess Leia drunk if he’d had half a chance. And then there are the commercials…

With this in mind, I decided to try out Billy Dee’s favorite brew, Colt 45 Malt Liquor, only $2.85 for a 40 0z. bottle. (Yes, I could have gone with the tall boy can for about a buck less, but if you don’t drink Colt 45 out of a fawty, it just doesn’t count. )

Not the same.
Not the same.

The lovely Shell Station On Beltline, my usual stop for supplies when doing research for Cheap Drinkin’ Wednesday, was running a special on Uncle Ray’s Sour Cream & Onion chips, so I decided just to make a hootenanny of the whole thing and go all in. My total outlay was right around $4.00, which seemed right reasonable for an afternoon of fun and refreshment.

 

Breakfast Of Champion Drinkers
Breakfast Of Champion Drinkers

Taking the Colt 45 bottle in hand makes one feel at one with Billy Dee. Indeed, it inspires one to channel one’s inner Billy Dee; to hold the golden flagon slightly aloft, beckoning the fates and the slinky beauty at one’s side to come hither and partake of life, of sustenance, of the elixir that is…COLT 45…

"Works every time..."
“Works every time…”

I have, if I may, shot the 45 a time or two in my youth, (of course those were the days in which getting very drunk very quickly overrode all other concerns) but did not recall much about it either way as I began the sampling. The aluminum twist-off cap didn’t inspire a great deal of confidence, but its scratchy metallic palm-bite was familiar in a nostalgic way.

One thing I had completely forgotten was the amount of foam these babies can produce. Along with a yeasty odor with vinegar undertones, the uncorking (as it were) released a great deal of effervescence, topping off the pour with a head about half the size of the glass. I realize it may be a bit dandified to pour Colt 45 into a glass, but I just can’t see Billy Dee swigging from the jug and passing it to his lady friend.

Mr. Bland, we've had some issues with your specimen...
Mr. Bland, we’ve had some issues with your specimen…

The aroma is, as described, overwhelmingly yeasty, but with an underlying sharpness. You know how sometimes something that stinks also smells oddly good in a weird way? Colt 45 smells rather like cat pee, but not in an entirely unpleasant way.

Now, for the taste test…

 

Bottoms up...
Bottoms up…
At first it perplexes...
At first it perplexes…
...then the whang kicks in...
…then the whang kicks in…
...then you fear you may be ill...
…then you fear you may be ill…
...followed by a skunky stank that makes you pucker...
…followed by a skunky stank that makes you pucker…
...the bitter finish catches you by surprise...
…the bitter finish catches you by surprise…
...leaving one unsure how to feel about it all.
…leaving one unsure how to feel about it all.

…and that pretty much sums it up. Although not really.

You see, the odd thing is that after a couple of sips, I found myself strangely enjoying it. It’s almost as if the first wave of taste-numbingness had to do its business before I could settle into the drink. It became crisp, almost citrus in its nature, and after about half a glass I found myself quite cheery, indeed. I had a sudden urge to call up old friends I hadn’t seen in years, just to wish them well. I was filled with vast, expansive impulses…to write the world’s greatest novel, to solve the problems of society, to…to…

db

…and after a few minutes I just wanted to sit down and close my eyes for a bit. This stuff lives up to its name, managing to be cold, steely, explosive, potent, and likely the cause of more than one violent incident. Approach with caution, and don’t try to down the whole thing unless you’re in training. You have been warned.

The Uncle Ray’s chips were quite tasty, albeit with a definite chemical zing beneath the crispy onion-flavored goodness. In fairness, this may have been a residual vapor burn from the Colt 45, which was, by then proving itself to be persistent, indeed. Half a bag of chips, a couple of bites of cold rice pudding and a glass of water had yet to eliminate the 45’s lingering fumes.

notbad

In all, I just can’t bring myself to give a full thumbs-down to the Colt 45. It’s a cheap-ass malt liquor that’ll sneak up and punch you in the back of the head, but that’s not always a bad thing. If you’re young and bulletproof and/or just looking to get messed up fast for not much money and devil take the consequences, I recommend giving it a try. Tell ‘em Billy Dee sent you.

Cheap Drinkin’ Wednesday – Week 1: Happy Juice

by FRANK THOMPSON

Welcome, friends, to the kickoff of Cheap Drinkin’ Wednesday! This no-doubt-soon-to-be-famous weekly look at the less expensive beverages on offer around our fair city will hopefully enlighten as well as entertain. The Girl and I will be purchasing, taste-testing and evaluating various libations that will appeal to the budget-conscious as well as those simply in search of a cheap buzz.

Our maiden voyage begins with the insouciantly-named HAPPY JUICE. Marketed as a “premium malt beverage”, this crimson elixir comes adorned with a smiley face…or is it?

HJ3

The casual imbiber should take note of such subtle clues as the devilishly leering grin on the seemingly innocent logo. There’s evil in that bottle, friends. Pure alcoholic malfeasance in a non-recyclable. Note the malevolent cast of the eyes; the expression that says “you may have the time of your life, or you may wind up pantsless in a dumpster behind a Popeye’s chicken.” Adventure awaits, but you pays your money and you takes your chances…

…which brings us to the economics of the whole thing. Let’s be honest. If you’re anything me, the only reason you might consider drinking this glorified day-glo turpentine is because you can’t afford Chateau Lafite. (If it makes you feel any better, Happy Juice could also be called Chateau La Feet for its very specific bouquet, but more on that in a moment…) A buck-eighty gets you a full 24 ounces of this Jus Du Joie, leaving enough change from a fiver for a big-ass bag of pork skins and a Chunky.

HJ4

The color of Happy Juice is not one generally found in nature, which adds significantly to its allure. A murkily iridescent red, it glows with a sort of evil seductiveness, promising much more than it will likely deliver. (The hot tattooed stripper of cheap beverages, if you will.) There’s also something vaguely medicinal about it, beyond the taste similarities to store-brand Robitussin. It’s Dr. Jekyll’s devil’s brew, or perhaps something in a hypodermic in one of the shitty Star Wars prequels nobody liked.

HJ5

To call Happy Juice a heady concoction would be not only an understatement, but far too lofty a description. A powerful smell of premium unleaded mixed with Fruity Pebbles head-butts those whose noses get within arm’s length of an uncorked container.

HJ6

This is rocket fuel, friends. Make no mistake. This is the overture for a little performance we call Jo-Jo And The Amazing Technicolor Throwup, playing nightly in parking lots and municipal trash cans across the land.

After giving the Happy Juice a few moments to breathe, The Girl and I decided to give it a shot. (No, seriously, we both considered getting a gun and shooting it while we still had time.) For a moment we were befuddled by the etiquette of the whole thing. Does one decant before pouring? Is Happy Juice considered a wine? A beer? A mixer, even? (I must tell you all sometime about the wino my college roommate and I feared we had killed after giving him an extra-large cup of MD 20/20 and Skol vodka, which he promptly chugged. But I digress…)

We settled on tumblers, which seemed appropriate. A jaunty clinking of glasses, and bottoms up…

HJ2

Imagine if you will, a base of cold, flat off-brand lemon/lime soft drink. Something sold by a down-at-heel grocery store and called Melon Yellout or Mountain’s Day, in cans with color schemes and logo shapes identical to the real thing. Open it up and leave it out overnight. Now add some rubbing alcohol to the point that you start to develop anxieties from childhood associations with that smell and the proximity of a doctor’s needle. Got it? Now think of the Jello served in individual cups in grade school lunchrooms, melt one down and throw it in. Top off with Zima, Old Spice, and Listerine yellow.

Happy Juice is neither happy nor juice. Angry Chemical Slurry would be much more accurate.

HJ7

The Girl and I looked for something to kill the aftertaste of stale Pop-Tarts and Windex. I went with salsa, she with dill pickle chips, which proved the most effective. Neither of us can attest to the intoxication brought on by Happy Juice, as a single sip was enough for both of us. I can only guess, but I don’t imagine it leads to a good drunk. Swilling Happy Juice is never followed by smartly dressed Gatsbyesque misbehavior and witty repartee. Undershirt-clad louts in doorway shouting ineffectual threats at grubby neighbor children, yes. Noel Coward around the bar at Antibes, no.

After giving the rest of the bottle a proper burial, we noticed the sink draining much more quickly and efficiently than before. Make of that what you will.

HJ1

The verdict? Happy Juice is likely to appeal to those for whom such dandified concerns as taste, smell, and overall palatability are immaterial when compared to getting smashed quickly. May be of passing interest to teenage girls, who will abandon it for Boone’s Farm after the first good hangover. Again, only speculation, but a Happy Juice hangover has got to be beyond painful. If you ever experience one, please don’t tell me about it.

NEXT WEEK: Colt 45…BANG!!!

Wine, Women (kind of), and Jazz!

By Trinessa Dubas
Hey Columbia. I love being in a spot that I can recommend for your future Wine Down Wednesdays.
This week I am suggesting Liberty Tap Room and Grill 828 Gervais St. I was there on Tuesday and the first thing that happened was my chance encounter with a dear friend. I was already digging the ambience. People seemed to be enjoying their meals and the energy was above high. This made for good conversation until shortly after, my friend and I parted ways. I then sat at the bar and tried to figure out a good opening for this entry and, well…this is what you get!
Thursday night (6/26) join Dorae Saunders as she presents Leading Ladies of Cabaret. Comedy House 2768 Decker Blvd. The show will have opened on Wednesday night, but I didn’t have anything to fill in Thursday nights spot this week. This show is over the top fun! The “ladies” are great. Join some of Columbia’s best performance artists as they lipsync and twirl their way to the top hun-ty! Show starts at 8. Tickets are $10 in advance and $15 at the door.
Hallelujah! Friday (6/27) there is another play opening and this time it is at Harbison Theatre Midlands Technical College 7300 College St. CTC presents The Hallelujah Girls. After the death of a friend and re-appearance of an old boyfriend the ladies of Eden Falls, Ga. gather for a day of fun and laughter in a day spa. Show starts at 8p and tickets are $18 (military, student and senior discounts available).
As per every Friday so far this summer, there is plenty to do. And an abundance of music will be playing. USC School of Music Recital Hall 810 Assembly St. will present Summer Chorus 1: Mozart’s Requiem at 7:30. This beautiful blend of music and talent is FREE.
On the North Main side of town between 4-8pm A Night Out With Neighbors Fundraiser will be hosted by the Eau Claire Community Council 830 Wildwoood Ave. It will be afternoon into evening full of music, fun and games as well as community information. Dinners for eat in or take out will be available starting at $10. Tickets can be purchased at eauclairecommunity.org. proceeds from this event will go to Neighborhood Action Programs.
And one thing before I let Friday go. Sister Care of Columbia is presenting Sounds of Summer featuring Terence Young at 701 Whaley 701 Whaley St. Tickets are $25 and will benefit Sister Care of Columbia. Show starts at 8p
I’m going to have to repeat a venue for Saturday (6/28). Comedian Rodney Perry will be carrying host duties for “Off Chain” at Comedy House. This is one funny brother and I am sure he and his guests will bring it. Two shows will run Sat 7p and 9:30pm and one on Sunday at 7p. (if you’ve read this early enough you can catch the show Opening Friday night @8). Tickets are $15. two item minimum. comedyhouse.us.
I don’t usually add Sunday, but there is so much love to go around that I had to spread the words. Two places to be, thank god for different times. Sunday (6/29) head out to Mama’s and the Tapas 931-A Senate St as the Daisey Mack Project Presents The Vintage Jazz Brunch from 3-7pm. This event takes place every third Sunday of a month and is sweet music to my ears. There is no cover charge and free parking (Woot-Woot!). By now most people know that I am a friend and fan of The Dubber. Join me as I support this brother and his musical partner Brodie Porterfield at Jakes’s 2112 Devine St. The two are joing together to give this audience a chill atmosphere and music to fill your soul. Doors open at 6. Cost is $5 and there will be drink specials.
You gotta love Columbia. So much to do, hear and see. Grab a friend, go have a bite to eat and enjoy the rhythms. This will be a busy week for me as you can surely read. I will be on… the… go, so if you see me, you better speak!
Honey, I’ll see ya!!

Having a life on the cheap