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The Last Contrarian
 
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Drinking on an empty stomach – the 7 mixes of death!

04 February 2014, 12:30

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.

Only 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.

I, personally, 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:

I 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.

Festivities 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.

To 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:

Cain 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:

A 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 Titanic.’

The fourth of the seven mixes of death:

I 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 cushion.

The fifth of the seven mixes of death:

This 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:

This 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 possessed.  

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.

And 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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