Down to clown, but not down to die? You’re in luck! As Sporked’s resident lightweight, I have compiled a list of drinks that I can trust to give me an appropriate buzz without burying me in the bushes. I am the person who babysits a single shot the entire night and wonders if I’m “doing it right,” while my friends down multiple drinks like it’s nothing. But after some experimentation, I can say that there are some drinks that I, personally, can finish, without feeling out-of-control or being judged for my alcohol intolerance. [Ed note: Always drink in moderation. Duh.]
Hard kombucha is my college sweetheart. It was the first alcoholic drink I consumed that didn’t instantly make the room spin. The alcohol taste is masked by the slightly funky taste of the kombucha, and we love that for her (“her” being the kombucha). The alcohol percentage in a hard kombucha is very low, usually around 5% or 6%, which is all I need to get the party going.
I will take a hard cider over a beer ANY day. Beer may have a low alcohol percentage, but to me it tastes like an old shoe. Hard cider, on the other hand, has so many different iterations and you can’t really go wrong with one of them. Hard cider has an artisanal, even hand-crafted taste. As I type this, I am daydreaming of the hard ciders sold at Trader Joe’s, particularly their hard rosé cider. It’s floral and has a welcoming sweetness that I believe both lightweights and regular drinkers could enjoy.
I find it ironic that all these drinks start with the word “hard” but the only thing I find hard is trying to finish one. Hard seltzer is all the rage right now, with brands like White Claw, Truly, and even Topo Chico cashing in on the action. I was initially scared of hard seltzers because the name sounds a bit…intense? I was picturing an alcoholic base with a flavorless water mixer to cut the bitter taste, but boy was I wrong. That carbonation actually works wonders at masking the taste of alcohol. I reach for these pretty often when I’m out with friends. Hard seltzers also tend to have a fairly low alcohol content, and whatever essence they use to make them mango, blackberry, or lemon lime-flavored is simply heaven-sent.
The first time I had a sip of wine was with my mom on my 21st birthday, and I stumbled all the way back to the car after just one glass. Maybe wine alone isn’t for me. A wine spritzer, however, is a bit of wine mixed with soda water in what I like to call “a twofer.” The soda water dilutes the wine and adds carbonation—what more could I ask for?! This is my drink of choice if I am out with friends at brunch, allowing me to sip something that has “wine” in the name, real sophisticated-like.
I know what you’re thinking, “Whoa, that took a turn!” But I promise you this one has been field tested—by me, on multiple occasions. I first learned about this drink from a friend who’s a former bartender. I was skeptical at first, but after sipping one for what felt like half an hour, let me tell you, that night was fun. I don’t like the taste of alcohol, but the tartness of the cranberry juice manages to overpower the taste of the vodka. It’s sweet enough to be more palatable than the liquid fire of a straight shot of liquor, without being so sugary that it’s hard to finish. I definitely cap myself at one for the entire night, though.