In these difficult economic times we have to put away our Cognac and fancy French wines and perhaps find something a little cheaper to get us where we need to go. While once the cheapest of the cheap alcohol was reserved for college students living on meager incomes, they are now sadly catching onto the unemployed to help escape the surly bonds of reality for just a little bit. However, when indulging in cheap alcohol, you have to sacrifice some things.
Things like dignity or class are the first to be sacrificed. I hope you didn't have too much of that left. The biggest thing you sacrifice though is taste. The cheaper the alcohol, the worst the taste. Though that is not always the case with wines, it is always the case with hard liquor and beer.
Warning: This information is for poor adults who are of legal drinking age. This is not for underage kids trying to get the most liquor out of their weekly allowance by sending their friends' morally questionable 22 year old brother to buy booze for them.
Malt liquor is the go to cheap alcohol for those that are in the know. There are two categories of malt liquor though. The "light" malt liquor and the "heavy" malt liquor. The light malt liquor has 6% alcohol by volume and the heavy stuff has 8%. However, the heavy brands of malt liquor like St. ides, Steel Reserve 211, and Olde English 800 High Gravity are banned in some states in the United States.
The high alcohol content and the large bottles make these a favorite for those buying on a budget, but they are not exactly "good" tasting. Malt liquor is one of those drinks you just want to chug in lieu of actually tasting it. Wine, hard liquor and sometimes beer can have their flavor improved by adding various things, but malt liquor is really quite immune to them.
The good news is that you can buy a 40 ounce bottle for just around $2 dollars just about anywhere.
There are probably thousands of different beers in the world to drink, but with quality and culture comes expense. Sacrifice the quality and the classiness of a beer and you find yourself with essential bitter and cheap alcoholic water. However, cheap beer is good to get you good and drunk or just play beer pong on a budget. Thankfully, the more you drink cheap beer, the better it starts to taste.
Some cheap beer options include:
Natural Ice (Natty Ice) - $11 for 30 Pack
Pabst Blue Ribbon - $10 for a 24 pack
Milwaukee's Best Ice - $13 for a 30 pack
These prices vary from place to place, these are northern Indiana prices. Natural Ice is the iconic cheap beer around the United States while Pabst is the traditional redneck drink of choice. however, hipsters absolutely love to drink Pabst for some reason. The king of hipsters must have met some super cool good ol' boy and declared it fashionable. The best thing about all these cheap options is that they have slightly more alcohol than more expensive beers. Though people drink more expensive beers for the flavor, the alcohol Is just a nice addition.
However, most people have never heard of Milwaukee's Best Ice. It is—surprisingly—very popular for cheap folks in Wisconsin and Illinois, but everywhere else is pretty new to it. It's dirt cheap, cheaper than Natural Ice, and actually tastes pretty good. I highly recommend it not just for the price, but the pretty refreshing taste. It doesn't hurt that every can has a 5% alcohol by volume content. It is potent, cheap, and not horrid tasting.
If you are looking to improve the flavor of cheap beer, try mixing in some ginger ale to make it sweeter or tomato juice. The tomato juice sounds a little strange, but it does spruce up the flavor quite a bit.
Cheap wine has a lot of options and a lot of different flavors and qualities. It is kind of a hit or miss when it comes to flavor. I have found some amazing tasting cheap wines and some absolutely gross ones while touring through the cheap section of the liquor stores' wine selection.
Franzia is the popular cheap wine of course, often referred to as "hobo wine" or "box-o-wine" as you can get a lot of very cheap and it comes in a fancy refrigerator friendly box. You can get yourself five liters for wine for around $10 dollars give or take. The prices and alcohol content vary between reds and whites. If you want the best tasting Franzia box, I recommend the Sangria.
Then there is Arbor Mist wines which are less like wines and more like a giant bottles of wine cooler. Arbor Mist is definitely the tastiest way to go as it blends wine with fruit flavorings. A large bottle only costs around $12 and has 8% alcohol by volume. It is a nice way to relax, but will not get you very drunk. I highly recommend the Strawberry Zinfandel.
Finally, there is the legendary Two Buck Chuck. Wines by Charles Shaw are absolutely dirt cheap and definitely not something you would bring to a dinner party. They are only sold at Trader Joe's, but they are the best bang for your buck. Costing only $2 dollars (sometimes $3) they are extremely affordable. Too bad they are exquisitely terrible tasting.
Now we get to the stuff that gives the biggest alcohol content for the lowest price. Cheap hard liqour is usually classified as "bottom shelf" liquor as you can tell the quality and price of alcohol by what shelf it is one. Anything on the bottom shelf is almost guaranteed to be three things: cheap, taste and burn terribly, and get you trashed.
Some cheap brands include Popov (Vodka), Dark Eyes (Vodka), Admiral Nelson (Rum), Wild Turkey (Whiskey), Old Fitzgerald (Burbon), and Gordon's (Gin).
However, if you really want to become intoxicated on the cheapest and most alcoholic hard liquor go for Bacardi 151 or Everclear. Those are the two most alcoholic kinds of liquor you can legally buy. Though Everclear is not legal everywhere. A word of caution though, never do shots of either, always mix them heavily. It only takes two shots of each mixed into anything to make your evening fun. The best part, I have rarely seen either for over $18 dollars and a bottle will last for a really long time.