It is Mixology Monday time again, and our host Rowley’s Whiskey Forge has tasked us with the all so appropriate theme of hard drinks for hard times. Rather than come up with a few wallet stretching cocktails, I thought I’d share a few tips on stretching your drinking dollar. A recession doesn’t mean you can’t drink well, it just means you need to drink smarter.
Stay home and invite friends
Drinking at home is always cheaper than going to a bar. No huge revelation here, but it needs to be said. Staying home doesn’t need to mean drinking alone, invite friends over, put out some snacks have some fun. Hopefully, a guest or two will bring a bottle along, now that’s economical.
Drink spirits instead of beer & wine
A 750 ml bottle of liquor has about 25 1 oz. drinks. A decent bottle of just about anything can be had for $20 or less. This makes each 1oz. drink about $.80 or bit over $1 if you pour a 1 1/2 oz shot. Compare that to a bottle of wine. A decent bottle runs you $10 or $2.50 a glass. If you want to push it, there are some decent $5 or about $1.25 per drink. OK you can get some cheap beer, but I set the bar at decent, not cheap, so a decent six-pack is going to run you $6 on the low end or $1 per drink. If you shop well, the math gets even better.
Shop smarter, buy bulk and off brands
During hard times there are deals to be had, look for them.
Even in good times I buy booze at Trader Joe’s. If they have one in your town, go there. Trader Joe’s stocks a nice selection of liquor beer and wine all at very good prices. A liter of Jameson – $21.99, Bulliet – 19.99. They also have great store and less known brands, for example Monopolowa, a very nice Austrian potato vodka for $10 and Trader Joe’s blended Scotch at $10 per liter is a steal.
Volume rules! Buying a 1.75 is simply cheaper ounce per ounce, so stock up. Costcocarries most major brands of liquor, wine and beer. Costco also gets some ultra premium stuff from time to time at good prices.
If you live in California, you have BevMo, a liquor superstore of great deals. Look for the liquor superstore on your area.
Work the weekly specials. I just scored a 1.75 of Skyy Vodka for $23 at Safeway. There are always deal to be had, sp buy when you see it. The good news, it rally doesn’t go bad. Even some RiteAid and Walgreen’s run specials on brand name booze. Scan through the ads in the Sunday paper for the week’s deals.
Make long drinks or highballs
Stretch you drinking dollar even further by pouring long drinks (aka highball) at home. this is basically a standard pour in a tall glass filled with soda, water or juice. Some of my favorites include the stalwart Jack & Coke, the trustworthy Greyhound and the drink that started it all the Gin & Tonic. I am not saying you should water down you drinks, I am just saying, even water will help stretch your evening and your budget.
Serve sangria and punches
Punches & Sangrias aren’t just easy to make, they serve themselves and really stretch a budget. What more can we say, punches are perfect for satisfying a thirsty crowd. Got some wine, a bit of tequila or brandy and bunch of fruit and sugar, you got Sangria. It’s just that easy.
Go to dive bars
If you must go out, frequent your neighborhood dive. Not only will the drinks be cheap, but I’ll bet it has heart.