So you’re having possibly the last night of stag drinks, fun and games. Because the next time you get invited out to lark might be trying out a new jungle gym at the early learning centre, or dancing at the “educational Tots disco” to the Moshi monsters play dubstep. Or your best mate is being kidnapped by the fearsome kingdom of marriage. Kinda like being kidnapped by fanatics, but at least they’d send you back a toe occasionally.
Either way it’s a time of great change. A seismic rearranging of the continents of your friendship. So what do you do? Talk about your feelings? Grieve for your loss? Naaaaah you get wasted. And this is perhaps why stag nights have always had such a historical relationship with booze.
But what should you drink? What will get you pleasantly buzzed and still have some great memories you can actually remember. As opposed to being made to clean up your spew by an unamused copper (seriously: Newcastle constabulary now accompany council cleaning staff at night and will make you clean up after yourself) and getting an on the spot fine, or heaven forbid making a very awkward phone call to the stag’s betrothed from a casualty. Whilst the junior doctor on the night shift decides whether to save him or the traffic cone he “sat on.”
1. Drunk love punch
Now this is a great one before leaving home. Cheap and allows you the mischievous trick of pretending you’re preparing your killer doom, voodoo punch the secret of which was imparted to you by a crazed, voodoo mixologist on holiday. This sinister brew is in fact one bottle of sangria and eight cartons of orange juice. Of course the problem is someone else on the party may spot your shenanigans and add some extra spirit to liven the punch. This is the crux of the problem with punches unless you keep an eye on it you don’t get to see what’s going in.
When you go for something similar at a bar or pub, you really don’t know what you’re getting. Remember once the juice and fizzy pop goes in it can be accompanied by any amount of white spirit. The infamous dentist’s chair can easily have 20 units in 10 minutes; or the equivalent of 5 pints of Stella. However it is a stag and they are supposed to be fun aren’t they? So start the evening with a bit of mystery punch and maybe a bit later. Just make sure you know what’s going in!
2. Lager, lager, lager shouting
Sometimes you can’t beat the classic combinations; little and large, fish and chips, lager and more lager. It’s cheap enough, you know what you’re getting, and easy to keep a track on what you’re drinking. And everyone likes it (or wouldn’t have the guts to admit disliking it, for fear of being asked if they’d like a pint of Blossom Hill and a skirt). If you really want to be different you could substitute bitter or cider (though careful cider does attract folkies and alkies and even worse alkie folkies). The only real disadvantage is well as I suspect we all know. Drinking booze by the pint will get you peeing all over the places, which in a well policed city centre can get awkward. Also most modern lagers are produced in giant chemical factories that could produce chemical weapons for a Bond villain. So expect a pretty vicious hangover.
3. The Refined
Or for the opposite why not go to an actual wine bar (e.g. one that serves real wines of quality and not office Xmas parties organised by someone called Shaz), or even a fine whiskey bar. The booze will be better quality, the atmosphere more refined. Better quality alcohol tends to have fewer impurities and ergo less hangovers and upset stomachs. It’s also ideal for a quieter, more contemplative evening. That’s half the problem. Stags aren’t very contemplative and a bar which looks down on improvised karaoke may not be a winner. Also the good stuff can be considerably more expensive.
4. Think before you drink!
Spiking drinks is always a no no. Illegal drugs tend to have highly unpredictable effects at the best of times. Far more so when mixed with alcohol. This is even more so when your inept discussion with a dealer lead to you buying a mixture of Viagra, female hormones and horse laxatives. Stag drinking games can get out of hand every time; seriously you don’t play poker because you don’t want to lose your salary. Why would you play it if you risk losing your liver? Mixing drinks; well you can do it a little. But different alcoholic drinks can contain toxins. It’s the toxins which give you a hangover. So whiskey, alcopop, lager, wine and that weird bottle they keep under the bar and has a health warning in Serbocroat on it. It’s a smorgasbord for hangovers and may well leave you convinced you picked a fight with a gorilla the night before.
5. Don’t drink
Well you don’t avoid all drink obviously; but some of the wickedest fun can be had convincing someone they’re drunker than they are. Spike his drink with sugar, or make it a batch of insanity punch (which in fact has no booze in it). It’s actually much funnier watching someone pretending to be drunk trying to chat up a bar maid, than watching an actually drunk person do that. Or watch the grooms’ fear as you and the others knock back a dozen pints (half of which are alcohol free shandy) and knows he can’t keep up with you. Of course let him know what you’re doing at some point. And remember what’s the point of having a great time if you can’t remember it.