Since it was St Patrick’s Day a few weeks back – and because I’ve just returned from a weekend of pretending to be a hard-drinking, abuse-spitting koala – this week’s 101 Things compilation is all about drinking. And how it is a terribly, terribly fun thing to do.
34 – Design Your Own Cocktail
The first alcohol I started drinking regularly – and continue to drink regularly to this day – is Southern Comfort. One of my own “To Do Before You Die” is to return to the French Quarter of New Orleans and try to work out where McCauley’s Tavern used to be – where SoCo was supposedly invented. Or you know, just do the SoCo tour.
I’ve always had a sweet tooth with drinks, so I’ve never had any interest in beer because it tastes like bitter despair (an opinion that didn’t win me any friends working in the military or the mining industry), and wine generally seems like an expensive way to turn perfectly good raisins into something as sour as Germaine Greer’s undercarriage (although I don’t mind a sweet “late-harvest” desert wine). So it’s only natural I’d design a cocktail based on Southern Comfort. Although in all honesty calling it a “cocktail” might be a little bit of a stretch… and saying I invented it might be a mild fabrication too…
Because I was but a poor student at uni, and because I enjoyed going to bars with army/mining workmates about as much as I enjoyed having poor-man’s A.I.D’s, shouting out “Drinks on are on me” at a bar took until the end of my short “career” in the mining/blasting industry – right around the time the Mighty Ginge started coincidentally.
In fact it was April 20th, 2009 – the last night I was on a mine site.
Since it was my last night at Wodgina (and soon to be decided last night working in the mining industry), the blast crew I worked on convinced me to come down to the site bar for a big night before flying out the next morning. I’d been avoiding the bar like the plague – the last thing I wanted to do was start drinking with the guys I worked with, doing a job I hated 12 hours a day. But I relented, rang the bell (to signal I was paying for everyone’s drinks) and personally got plastered. I still managed to get back to my room afterwards, but not without trying to unlock three other people’s rooms and rip down someone else’s clothes line in the process…
All in all the damage wasn’t that bad – the total came to $100 between a dozen of us. But having a drunken “Deep & Meaningful” conversation with one of my fellow blast crew trying to explain that I didn’t hate him (I just thought he was a waste of oxygen) proved to be considerably more expensive emotionally…
93 – Complete the Monopoly Board Pub Crawl
More than any other item on the “101 Things To Do Before You Die” list, writing up the entry for the monopoly board pub crawl has scared me most. Because to do it justice, I feared I’d have to lay out exactly how to do the Monopoly Board Pub Crawl. And having done it twice, the thought of writing the route & schedule all out again was daunting to say the least. Turns out someone has done all the hard work for me.
Let me explain…
For those that don’t know, the Monopoly Board Pub Crawl involves having a drink at each of the 26 properties on the London Monopoly board. You start in Old Kent Road at about 11:45am, and finish in Mayfair around midnight. You traverse all of central London, and it’s actually a great way to see a lot of London if you’re new to it (while getting hammered). But organising one is an outright nightmare – pubs open, close and move all the time. And doing the Monopoly Board Pub Crawl needs to be done on such a schedule you can’t afford to turn up to find a pub not where it needs to be.
In June 2009, I’d just been accepted into the Royal Marines but had to wait until November to start training – so needless to say I was in peak fitness and had plenty of time I do stupid shit like research doing a Monopoly board pub crawl. I found some guys who’d posted how they’d done it in 2001 which helped with about half the properties, but it took a solid week of research to find pubs/bars for each property and what tubes needed to use to get there - buses were obviously out of the question. Thankfully for people doing it now there’s a dedicated website that’s updated regularly as things change, but in 2009 this was not the case.
There’s no point even trying to describe the crawl itself – as I said, I’ve run two of them now (one in June 2009 with an old uni friend and one of her other mates; the other at Christmas the same year with two of my mates from the marines and the manliest woman I know) – and there’s so much drunken stupidity going on that sharing it all here would spoilt it. I do recommend introducing several rules to spice things up and help you survive though;
- Redbull and Vodka at the first stop (Old Kent Road), and the first person to finish their drink at each pub gets to pick what the group drinks at the next stop. This is particularly hilarious when you get a spirit drinker consistently winning (like me), who then gets to watch his beer-drinking buddies fall apart with round after round of shots.
- Nothing more than half pints. It’s not being weak – you’re on a 26 stop, 12 hour pub crawl so pace yourself. Try to stick to spirits and liqueurs, otherwise you’ll be fighting for the toilet at every stop.
- Which reminds me – print out and laminate a copy of the schedule, then tie it to someone’s wrist. THEN STICK TO THE BLOODY SCHEDULE! The new in-order route gives you a little more time by starting at 10:30am than the one we did (which couldn’t start till 11:45), but once you’ve lost time it’s still a nightmare to make it back. If you lose the route/schedule because of drunken stupidity, your night’s over.
- Get something to eat half way through – around Leicester Square is perfect. Again it’s not weak, you’ll pass out somewhere near Bond street if you don’t. And I will not give you a piggyback ride around half the monopoly board… unless you’re hot…
- Do NOT make fun of the Custodian helmet the Metro police wear – they may not have guns, but they do have batons.
- Everyone wears stupid hats. Removal/loss of hats will result in expensive/unpleasant pub crawl punishments
- Have fun