It’s become somewhat of a trademark
of mine by now: my occasional articles dedicated to disseminating advice
to the general public about the do’s and do not’s of
drinking. I now enjoy a small following of people who sometimes implore
me to share more of my ‘expertise’ on the matter. I oblige.
a true alcoholic or a desperately poor man trying to maximize the yield
from a limited ‘crop’ would dare to drink on an empty stomach. My
personal advice on the matter has and always will be never to drink on
an empty stomach! It turns a session of alcoholic lovemaking into a
brutal act of rape.
Before I reveal the seven mixes of death to
you, I’d like to give you some cautionary advice on how best to face
them on your travels to taverns near and far:
The most important
thing is not to try to gauge your own masculinity by facing the bottled
demon without the prerequisite protective chainmail offered by a bowl
of mashed potatoes, the shielding qualities of a 500g T-bone steak, and
the hangover-combatting effects what you will most certainly come to see
in time as ‘holy water.’
There exists, of course, a degree of
intoxication at which the fun of being drunk falls down the staircase
(and the inebriate along with it). As much as I love drinking on both
good and bad occasions (and, more often, no occasion at all), I’ve never
seen the point of getting so drunk that one becomes dispossessed of
reason and consciousness. Try to avoid this, because it invites to your
tent one of the seven mixes of death.
I am also the only person I
know of who advises drinkers engage in something intellectually taxing
while drunk. I find that debating intellectuals, reading books, or even
doing work intended for the next day is a great way to give meaning and
purpose to a night of drinking—which for me is practically every night
of the week. I also love writing when sloshed.
only discovered two of the seven mixes of death, and both resulted from
my many failed diets in recent years. (I want to fend off that
middle-age form as long as I can.)
I would be starving myself
all day long at the office, preoccupying my mind with work to numb out
the hunger paints, only to have a bunch of uninvited friends kidnapping
me—on what I swear was a course intended for home—and dragging me into
the nearest pub to celebrate the latest divorce to hit the group. (Yes,
real fine friends I have, but just like that cheap whore of liquors,
vodka, I’ll mix with practically anything).
Such experience from
my youthful days of ignorance and excess really made me appreciate the
fact that alcohol is a mealtime accompaniment.
And now, I give you … the seven mixes of death! (Avoid whenever you have stomach rumbles.)
The first of the seven mixes of death:
discovered the first mix of death while celebrating with friends and
family my imminent departure from the nation that birthed me. That was
the day the first of the seven mixes of death taught me a Kung Fu lesson
that I will never forget! A lesson so thorough and severe that I have
never sought revenge for what was done to me.
started early, before sunset actually. The others were sensible,
diluting the brandy with excesses of Coke, while I stuck to my regiment
of not mixing. I soon developed a classic case of projectile vomiting,
followed by passing out on a bed and taking a medical leave of absence
from the only party ever held in my honour. In hindsight, I’d never seen
that same group of people happier than when we were celebrating the
fact that I was leaving. Oh well. Friendships started in the vineyard
are rarely of the sincere and enduring kind.
So the first of the
seven mixes of death is refusing sensibility and not mixing hard liquor
at all. I practically set up a beacon for the bastard to find me.
my horror, there was not just one mix of death! I discovered the next
five of the seven mixes of death by watching relatives and friends
engage these mythical tyrants of inebriation. I deliberately chose to
observe people whose constitution I am familiar with, so as not to get a
false sense of the threat posed by the different mixes.
The second of the seven mixes of death:
and lime cordial, the combination of which ruined both my brother and
one of his closest friends at the time, leaving them both drenched not
just in their own puke but also each other’s puke. From the little bits
of information that retained in memory, they were both crying in each
other’s arms at 2AM in the morning. Other parts of the story of that
night have now slipped into legend, and I was not there to observe the
entire spectacle in person, but my brother’s puke-encrusted clothing,
indeed, testified to a drawn out fight with a very menacing foe.
The third of the seven mixes of death:
drink called ‘gone in 60 seconds,’ which I’ve only seen served at a
single pub in Pretoria. It was after my grandmother’s funeral that my
brother, cousin, uncle, and I decided to wash away the morbid mood of
the day with some of nature’s all-purpose solvent. I was enjoying the
house rum when my brother entertained the barmaids challenge to sample
their signature drink, gone in 60 seconds. My brother was gone, all
right, reduced to babbling and wobbling mere minutes after consuming the
tainted mix. A second gone in 60 seconds would have left him drowning
in a pool of his own vomit, I’m sure. From what I recall, the drink was
almost alchemical in nature, consisting of red wine, stoh rum, and a few
other hard liquors haphazardly thrown into the mix. I think a more
fitting name for this drink would be ‘the iceberg that sank the
The fourth of the seven mixes of death:
never thought that any mere mortal would outlive papsak, but, finally,
it’s been taken off the market. This bootleg, brandless ale has been
menacing fraternal gatherings for decades. And testifying to the danger
of papsak is the fact that no two bags ever tasted the same. That
details the quality control. Luckily, the unknown and unnamed brewers of
this cursed ale clearly sympathized with their customers, which is why
they so thoughtfully provided an inflatable pillow (the very vessel in
which papsak is sold) for when you need it most. But never mind if
someone else steals your pillow, because if you really hammer papsak
hard, your head becomes so mush even a jagged rock feels like an Arabian
The fifth of the seven mixes of death:
one is a phantom to which human senses are blind, and it is, arguably,
the most dangerous mix of all: sheer excess. The fact is that in a fight
that keeps dragging on, any armour will eventually break down, any
sword will eventually dull, and even water can only flow so fast from a
tap. The fifth mix of death lurks wherever stocks of booze rest and the
indiscriminate or inexperienced gather to plunder. The negative effects
if drinking the endless mix can hardly be exaggerated. All crimes of
inebriation have their origins in this practice. The best way I can
describe this phantom is by referencing that epic scene in the opening
cinematic of Diablo 2, which shows a man sitting in a tavern, twitching
as he tries to contain the demon within him. As he breaks down in
defeat, and all hell breaks loose.
The sixth of the seven mixes of death:
Waragi (to which I dedicated an entire article)
has the reputation of a feared and psychotic African warlord, for it is
just as dangerous. This local mix of bananas and sugar cane, fermented
in a tough under the African sun until flammable, has ruined much of
Ugandan society. The little puddles where this stuff is spilled deter
all forms of life in the area, and the surrounding soil is forever
rendered infertile. If the local population would just stop drinking the
stuff by the bucketful, they could become Africa’s first biofuel
exporter. For the real scholar of the dram, I suggest you look at the
Waragi documentary floating about on YouTube.
The seventh and final mix of death:
one was revealed itself to me here in Singapore. I drank (again,
stupidly, on an empty stomach) a commercial mix of 80-proof bourbon
whisky mixed with honey. This vile liquor is called Wild Turkey American
Honey. While not particularly potent as far as alcohol by volume goes,
the thick, saccharine notes of this concoction soon left me sick and
puking in convulsive fits usually only seen of the demonically
My wife escorted me to a 24-hour clinic to get
charcoal pills. I never told the doctor what I had done, and his remarks
were that whatever I ate or drank was extremely noxious. Even after the
hurling sessions had subsided, my insides felt like they were washed
out with boiling hot bleach.
The resulting hangover was a true
gale force five assault on the senses. It also permanently tainted the
way my palate interprets bourbon. I used to love bourbon as the
occasional alternative to scotch, but after this particular incident,
any type of bourbon now makes me nauseous just at the smell of it.
there you have it, the seven mixes of death. They are not the stuff of
legend, and, undoubtedly, you will encounter one of them sooner or
later—so it’s best you know the fighting style of each.
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