Here we are, lockdown again.
By the time this article is published, we could all be basking in the knowledge that Level Three is over, and life can be relatively normal again. Or, we could still be in the claw-like clutches of COVID-19, trapping us inside with all these hours to fill.
Fear not, if you’re looking for some fun ways to bond with your flatmates, or your parents, we have the perfect solution for you: it’s cocktail night baby.
We all want to be that one girl baking loaves of sourdough and practicing yoga, but sometimes, all that pressure to have the perfect lockdown schedule gets to a person. It’s time to unwind.
Maybe you have half a bottle of wine from last weekend’s BYO. Or maybe you have half bottles of spirits lying around from the days when drinking on weekends with your friends was still doable. Maybe you have a basket of fruit on the verge of rot, like we did. Waste not, want not.
Here are five pandemic themed drinks to get you through the pandemic that you can make with whatever’s in your pantry.
1 tsp / liberal shake of brown sugar
Pinch of goji berries
½ tsp ginger
½ teaspoon cinnamon
1 packet ginseng tea
1 (liberal) shot of gin
Naomii: Okay so, maybe you don’t have these ingredients lying around in your pantry, but I did. My Mum gave me packets of ginseng tea right before the Level Three announcement. I was sitting in my kitchen, preparing for a quiet night, when the announcement came. Suddenly, there were people in my kitchen, fresh off a birthday BYO. I looked to my right to see the dregs of a gin bottle lying around. Whatever, I guessed I was drinking now.
What I didn’t expect was that this drink frigging slapped. With a little extra effort, this was a bonafide fancy cocktail that I’d be happy to consume in any non-lockdown situation. Additionally, all the herbs made me feel like I was drinking a health supplement, and I was ready to go in less than ten minutes. Gwenyth Paltrow, eat your heart out.
Tasting notes include parental disappointment, and the chinese medicine soup my Mum makes me drink when I have a sniffle.
Rating: 9/10. Point deducted because it can’t actually protect you from COVID.
Sherry: Excellent mouth feel. Top notes from the brown sugar, smoothly flowing to complex depths from the ginseng root. It all masks the cheap gin I’d found left by some poor kid at our last flat party. All in all, would drink again. And lots of it.
I had started the night before lockdown rigidly sober as Round the Bays was the next day. But since the 8.4 km run was no longer knocking on my door anymore, a mug of ‘Gin’seng Immune Booster took me straight up to the level the rest of the flat was already at.
Rating: 9/10, would be 10, but also parental guilt.
Ben: With the morning’s Round the Bays also on my mind, I’d taken the quiet approach to my evening with a nice cup of tea. Suddenly, Jacinda’s on the radio and my night cap isn’t matching the frantic energy of a flat celebrating the last hours of freedom before the socially distanced supermarket trips, Zoom lectures, and YouTube yoga take hold.
Turns out, I could have my cake and eat it too. The additions of goji berry, spices, and sugar made the abrasive smell and taste of old gin go down smooth while I still got to enjoy my cuppa. It could even have been a good pre-bedtime drink had it not been for the five or six equally old, and increasingly questionable alcoholic concoctions that followed it up.
Rating: 9/10, made slightly sour by pre-lockdown sadness.
Old bong water
1 shot vodka
Naomii: Like I said: waste not want not. Auckland is in a water shortage after all. I didn’t think this one would really do much for me, but the flavour of the bong water made me feel cross-faded, so that’s… a win? Definitely a placebo effect, and a good way to ingest too many carcinogens. Save the environment.
Tasting notes include ash, piss and a little throat vom to round out.
Rating: Lung AND stomach cancer / 10.
Sherry: Ditto. Mainly cuz I don’t want to try it, so just take her word for it.
Ben: On so many levels, why?
Did Naomii receive the clout she deserved for trying this? Do you have anything to gain from making a Hair of the Bong? Was this the worst cocktail ever conceived?
I don’t know the answer to these questions, but then again I’m too nauseous to care.
Rating: Don’t try this at home/10
Half bottle of BYO red
Singular sad feijoa
Four packets fruit tea
Naomii: There’s a weird sour taste to this one that I couldn’t place. It was probably the mystery leaf, or otherwise the mould on the peaches. On the plus side, the peaches were so far gone they had probably fermented a lil extra alcohol. It’s organic. This one was fun because the alcohol content is so low. Sit on your deck, pour over some ice, close your eyes, and imagine you’re on a beach in Spain.
Rating: Possible hallucinations / 10.
Sherry: It’s fine. All I get is tea. Tastes reminds me of cheap Victoria Secret perfume. Inoffensive smell, watery and pretty enough. But has the bite of something off.
Ben: This drink had all the promises of being good—an interesting blend of fruits, a unique flavour profile. It ended up tasting like cold, watery herbal tea with a bitter aftertaste. If any of these drinks are worth trying to improve though, this might be the one. To be safe, just leave out the leaf.
Rating: 7/10, needs a lot of work.
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp garlic powder
1 mushed tomato
1 shot vodka
2 splashes tabasco sauce
Naomii: Like a COVID test, this drink will leave you with a weird headache and dripping sinuses. The actual flavours were pretty yummy though.
Rating: not contributing to a COVID test line unnecessarily / 10
Sherry: I’m not sure if it’s actually good. I expected to yak after a sip, but it was actually fine. A call back to Gigi Hadid’s vodka pasta recipe that blew up on TikTok? I wished I’d snorted it, but I’m intolerant to garlic.
Rating: 10/10, it was fun watching Naomii cry at the kitchen table.
Ben: Yeah, surprisingly not bad. Also avoided putting anything up my nose due to PTSD from a previous COVID test where the nurse shoved the swab up three times because one of my nostrils was too narrow.
Rating: 6/10, could drink again. Could, not would.
Naomii: Definitely killed all the bacteria in my mouth. Might be a quick replacement for dentist teeth cleaning (just kidding). Weird aftertaste from the aloe-vera.
Rating: alcohol poisoning / 10
Sherry: I’ve stopped using the lord’s name in vain, swearing, gossiping and bitching. Cleaned my potty mouth right out.
Rating: Born again/10
Ben: Kid-Ben would have thought this was an obvious way to kill some mouth germs. Kid-Ben also ate mud.
Rating: Halitosis cure/10
*Disclaimer: Craccum does not endorse making or drinking any of these. Especially not hand-sanitizer.
*Lockdown can be a hard time. If you require help call the Alcohol Drug Helpline at 0800 787 797 or text 8681 for a free, non-judgemental and confidential chat.