After Grib gave the blueprint on how to be a functional alcoholic, I figure we have an entire off season to improve our games in preparation for the fall. And what better way to do that than to study the habits of those that have already achieved great success? Paul Johnson and Urban Meyer pick each others brains, Mark Richt and the VT defensive staff consult with each other ... the college football offseason is full of folks learning from each other. If we are to be stars, we should be holding ourselves to the same standards as our coaches.
And honestly, if you look around the globe - who really are the champions in the field of alcohol consumption? There's a few contenders you see every year: Irish, the Nordic countries, the state of Louisiana, etc. But the undisputed all time champions are the Slavs. They come in many forms (Russians, south Slavs, Cossacks, Poles, baltic Slavs and the like) but they all share one thing in common. They can, and will, drink your fucking ass under the table. While you're already to the "freshman girl with everclear/kool-aid punch" stage, they will be cruising along throwing down enough booze to flood Nashville.
How do they do it? Like many advanced skills, it's part practice and part technique:
Whatever you drink, drink it straight. No beer, no sugary mixers and certainly no carbonated sodas. All those do are get you drunk faster and make your hangover much, much worse. Don't shy away from flavored booze, that's perfectly fine if you want something with a different flavor ... just don't mix it with anything. It doesn't matter if it's any of the myriad types of the fruit brandy "rakija" that the south Slavs drink, or the pepper spiced vodkas that the Russians prefer, or the insanely smooth straight grain vodka the Poles make, they are all booze that is designed to be consumed just as it is.
Pregame. When we in the US think of pregaming, we think of throwing down a few cheap stiff ones before we head out. When Slavs pregame, they throw down some fatty or oily food to help stabilize the stomach an hour or so before the drinking begins. Raw eggs are a favorite in some areas, but sardines or other fatty fish, smoked lard, cheese, fatty sausages and the like are all acceptable. For college football fans, BBQ or brats are quite acceptable alternatives (come to think of it, Wisconsin fans might have already mastered this step). Whatever it is though, make sure it's in your stomach and starting the digestion process BEFORE you start throwing down.
Stay SAFe with Salt, Acid, and Fat. Once the drinking has started, remember "SAFe". Avoid all sugars and carbs and stick to salts, acids and fats. Have you ever seen Slavic finger food? It's pickled or salted fishes, cheeses, sausages, egg salads, caviar, pickled vegetables, jellied meats and the like. Keep eating regularly. Remember, since you're going with straight booze you have more room in your stomach for food. Like a good running game, it's something you have to stick with over the course of multiple hours. It'll sound sexy to start just chugging from the bottle and skipping bites of food a couple of hours in, but that's a rookie mistake of poor discipline. Keep up a steady diet of SAFe food and you'll be going strong while everyone else is reduced to sad quivering creatures trying to keep vomit out of their own hair.
Postgame. Everything you've done to this point has been designed to slow down the body's absorption of alcohol and deliver it into your bloodstream at a steady predictable rate. Make no mistake though, you still put down close to a bottle of pure booze by the time it's all said and done. And if you're going to get up and stand in line for bread the next day, you're going to need some way to prevent a brutal hangover. Hair of the dog early the next morning is really the only way to go. Beer, bloody mary, mimosa, whatever your morning poison of choice is ... it's going to be your friend.
After covering the basic techniques - if you really want to spice up a tailgate this year with something interesting, find some rakija. At it's core, it's distilled liquor made from fruit or nuts - often called "fruit brandy" in western europe and the US. Slivovica (plum), kruskovaca (pear), visnjevaca (cherry) and medovaca (honey) are my favorites ... but there's literally an infinite number of flavors. The really good ones can be incredibly dangerous, the fruit flavor masks the lethality of the shot you just put down. Put a bottle of visnjevaca in the middle of a sorority tailgate and come back in an hour to check out the havoc you started. Wineglobe.com sells and ships a number of rakija for cheap prices if you want to experiment.