Getting drunk on the cheap? Totally doable
Published: Thursday, April 16, 2009
Updated: Monday, January 18, 2010 16:01
The Spring Weekend cometh. Clearly, intoxication is in order. But alcohol can be expensive! So you may ask yourself, what's the most cost-effective intoxicant available locally? A good question! It is time, then, for another round of "Useful UConn Statistics," the "Getting Drunk Cheaply" edition.
First, some background detail. One gets drunk by imbibing ethanol, and so I've calculated the price per ounce of pure ethanol in the most popular alcoholic beverages on UConn's campus, in their most cost-effective sizes - so, a keg of beer and not a six-pack, a handle of vodka and not a fifth, etc. I also calculated the cost based on what the U.S. government defines as a "drink."
In addition, the same beverages of the same volume aren't the same price everywhere. There are many choices near to UConn for your liquor purchases - Villa, Holiday, Ted's - all of which are pricey. If you're planning on buying booze for a massive party, you might as well drive a few extra miles to get a better deal. Head to Worldwide Wine Cellars near Big Y in Tolland - it's about 8 miles from campus. Far, but it has better prices and oozes class. Look at it this way: campus stores are to hungover brosephines looking for 30-racks of Keystone as Worldwide is to sharply-dressed older women picking up a few bottles of Côtes du Rhône. I'm just saying.
And now, for the numbers.
For a large party, the four mainstays of efficient large scale Husky inebriation are a keg of beer, a handle of Dubra vodka, a handle of Graves grain alcohol and a box of cheap wine. Deservedly so, as the numbers reveal.
For a keg of beer, the only reasonable choice is Natural Ice. All keg light beers taste like you're watching your parents get gunned down in a back alley, so unless you're planning on living a life of sober crime-fighting, you might as well go for the Natty, with its awesome 5.9 percent alcohol by volume (ABV). Worldwide Wine Cellars actually doesn't sell kegs, sadly, so I got my quote from Villa: $68 for a 15.5 gallon drum, equal to 117.06 ounces of pure ethanol. A keg of Natural Ice: 58.09 cents per ounce, 34.86 cents per drink.
Next: grain alcohol. A handle of Graves is $32 - pricey, but, the stuff is 95 percent ABV! So, 1.75L of Graves: 56.92 cents per ounce, 34.15 cents per drink. Even more efficient than a keg, and no deposit! Throw some of this into a great deal of Kool-Aid, and you've got a great-tasting, highly efficient Jungle Juice.
Boxed wine. The classic is Franzia, coming in about between $14 and $16 for 5 liters. But most varieties of Franzia have a particularly low percent ABV: three of the most popular - Sunset Blush, Chillable Red and Refreshing White - are a meager 9 percent for $13. Efficiencies of these varieties: 78.86 cents per ounce, 47.32 cents per drink. Terrible! But there's hope, and its name is Almaden. At $14 for 5 liters at 12 percent ABV, Almaden's red Burgundy and white Chablis are a much better deal at 69.00 cents per ounce, 41.40 cents per drink.
And now, the king of kings: Dubra vodka, freshly distilled in Russia New Jersey. You can get a handle of this stuff for as little as $10 at Sam's Club in Manchester, which is the price I used in my calculations. (Worldwide's price: $10.50) 1.75 liters of Dubra: 42.25 cents per ounce, 25.35 cents per drink.
Dubra tastes terrible, but that's why God invented mixers. It's about 38 percent more efficient than a keg, and over 60 percent more efficient than Almaden. Nothing else even comes close. Even a gallon of pure anhydrous ethanol for laboratory use, 200 proof and ordered online from Cole-Parmer.com, is 60.16 cents per ounce, 36.09 cents per drink. That's right, it's cheaper to get Dubra than it is to get pure alcohol.
And just a few other numbers, for the interested:
Bacardi: 97.17 cents per ounce, 58.30 cents per drink.
Smirnoff: 92.95 cents per ounce, 55.77 cents per drink.
Caribaya Rum: 35.49 cents per ounce, 59.15 cents per drink.
(Seek out Caribaya on your next liquor run - it's legitimately not awful and its price-to-quality ratio can't be beaten.)
But of course, this was all hypothetical. A game, if you will. I know none of you Huskies would be déclassé enough to drink any of this swill.
Happy sipping, UConn.