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Buzzes Revealed

Hoisting a few for science

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In college, while funneling Crystal Light and Vodka, we wasted precious study hours philosophizing about the various types of buzzes. The vodka buzz was different from beer was different from wine. No final determination came out of the long hours of discussion, so I assembled a thirsty crew of editorial-types (smokers, drinkers, etc.) to establish, once and for all, if buzzes vary. The experiment: nine people, nine choices of alcohol, and a drunken string of thoughts from each participant:

Diana White Wine: A buzz can be elusive, like a female orgasm. It often depends on the mood. Fortunately, though there was little more available than Riesling, I was definitely in the mood for a buzz. I was also in the mood to bond with my co-workers. In the past, I'd always assumed that a white wine buzz was more elegant, higher-class than say...tequila, but I learned that when one is dealing with sweet white wine, buzzed is buzzed. I found myself energized, talkative and vaguely blissful.

Jim Gin: The first thing to admire about a real martini is its efficiency. The first sip -- turpentine flavored with juniper berries -- catches your attention. A novice may be nonplussed, but an experienced drinker relishes the sting. The next sips go down more smoothly, but initial astringency -- a vacancy of moisture from your oral membranes -- provides a focal point for your buzz. Cares fade away. Something purporting to be cleverness takes its place. I stop writing and start talking, which is just as well. For experience has taught me that the cleverness is fungible. The best thing about talking is you can't check the written text in the morning.

Taylor Grand Marnier: Sipping a cordial is like shimmying into a warm, soft sleeping bag on a chilly, open sky night -- the sweet buzz warms you from the feet up. Halfway down the glass, the shoulders relax, the vision gets a bit blurred, and you have an intensely mellow, floaty, smiley sensation. My belly warms to the occasion.

Kelli Red Sangria: No, no... this is all wrong. I'm at a Latin restaurant, sure, but with a drink like Sangria in my hand, I should be on a four-hour lunch break in the middle of a workweek in Mexico. But hell, it's sweet fruity goodness for free, so who's complaining? First glass: delicioso! Going down like fruit punch and not a slipped brain cell in sight. Second glass: My, I'm feeling witty! Still not feeling buzzed but that probably speaks more to my consumption habits than the restaurant's drink-making abilities, but I'm smiling and laughing and talking like a New York socialite on meth. Third glass: Am I moving more fluidly? Oh man... tender chunks of pork on Cuban toast is a buzz killer.

Todd Bourbon: I did a freelance job for the Planet. They invited me for the drinks. They gave me two bourbon and cokes, and all I know is, I want to have sex with everyone.

Sara Rum Mojito: 6:45pm, still coherent. 7:00, noticing the color of champagne and big pieces of mint. Starting to drop food on table, can't figure out how to eat the sandwich without a napkin and thinking my drink is a little too mild. 7:04, starting to get a headache and I wandered lonely as a cloud. Getting poetic. 7:25, people interrupting each other. 7:30, starting to get hairy, losing physical coordination, getting philosophical. 7:35, want to throw glasses, want to smoke. 7:55, cackling begins.

Scott Tequila: Most tequila drinkers have that one torrid tale of indiscretion and expectoration... I am fortunate enough to have seven or eight. The tequila buzz is heady, extroverted and a bit aggressive -- it's an energetic high that can get ugly if one goes too far. Either enjoy in moderation, or indulge and forgo responsibility. Now, who can I kiss, then punch?

Eric Beer: The best beer buzzes come after working out. Get a sweat, get a buzz, get good. I went to the gym, cooled off and ordered two El Presidentes. I felt the buzz after I got 3/4 through my second beer. My muscles loosened, my breathing got slower, my body got warm, and my capacity to give a shit about most anything drifted away. I realized I am a shitty writer when I'm buzzed. Hemingway is safe.

Susan Vodka Straight Up: It starts with a little blurriness around the eyes -- a soft focus that makes other people look better than they really do. A certain warmth flushes the cheeks and the urge to tell the truth wins out before the internal editor can stop it. A general fuzzy feeling sets in with the second drink. Good cheer and warm feelings about all assembled. People start telling secrets and I can only hope to remember them when I'm sober.

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