Cornhole and Horseshoes
I don’t think anyone will argue against cornhole and horseshoes being the undisputed champions of summertime drinking games. Nothing compliments a good beer and a summer breeze like throwing a hefty something at something. A good player knows that in order to truly succeed at these games you must capable of accurately gauging both your strength and level of inebriation. To do so requires an endlessly complicated series of calculations that might, in the right circumstances, stall out even the strongest of the world’s supercomputers. It is for this reason among many that I believe that we, the people of the world, are greatly underestimating the cultural importance of such contests of mind and body. It is now our time and duty to see that the perceptions of these games is changed on a global scale. I would like to point out that there is no better arena for such an exhibition as the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio De Janeiro. If synchronized swimming, ping pong, and canoeing are already included in this event, is it really so much to ask for to add cornhole to the running? I don’t think so, and neither should you.
Badminton and Softball
Just as some people chose to water down their whiskey with ice, in life you will experience many things that are simply a diluted version of a far superior original. Often these “watered down” versions are respectable in their own right, but tend to leave something desperately wanting: a paid internship to a job, a handie to a blowie, a Keystone to a beer. So logically, it would seem that at some point in the history of sports, somebody was too much of a pussy to play tennis or baseball “straight,” and thus, badminton and softball were born. While these sports may be lacking in watchability, athleticism, and originality in their transformation, the one trump card they hold over their parent sports is that you can drink while playing them. So, while you still may not be able to say “shuttlecock” with a straight face, at least now you can cover up that smirk with a sip.
Bocce Ball and Croquet
One would be greatly challenged to come up with a pastime more nostalgic and steeped in tradition than the fine practice of American lawn sports. It’s hard to say whether it’s the smell of fresh cut grass, the sound of ice jostling about in a glass pitcher, or the perpetual creaking of a weathered rocking chair against the porch, but there is undeniably something about these games that really brings you back to a time when America was a simpler place.
While nearly all lawn sports can be played competitively with a drink on deck, I would argue that you don’t even need to actually play them to enjoy their charm. Instead, just collect a handful of your close friends, set up your equipment, and retire to those rocking chairs on that porch I just described. At this point, all you need to do is light up a musty cigar, sip on a strong drink, and turn the conversation to traditional things, like the pleasures of owning land, returning to the gold standard, or the proper methods of educating a loyal hunting dog. If possible, procure a handkerchief to periodically dab sweat from your forehead, preferably while laboredly muttering “mercy” to no one in particular. If you can do so, you will most definitely receive extra points.
Of all the games included in this list, it is likely that none are as “drinking accessible” as billiards. Combining all the best aspects of geometry, standing, and tables, pool has long been a staple of the American bar-going experience. While pool might coexist in the same pantheon as darts and shuffle board, no other bar room amusement offers the opportunities for gambling, chalk throwing, and bar fights as well as pool can. However, I understand why you, the reader, might be confused as to why pool is on a list of games that you can play with a drink in your hand. Technically you may be correct, as attempting to play a game of pool one handed will only result in a lot of ripped felt and excuses (I would know). But to this I offer one brief counter-argument: fuck it, it is a sport that you play on a table, put your drink down, it belongs on the list.
Frisbee and Hackysack
I like to believe that in the realm of competition there is a sliding scale on which we are able to define what exactly a certain activity should be labeled as. At the most highly esteemed and lauded end of this scale is the world of sports. These are special events that at their best can take on significance equivalent to a decisive battle in a war. Participating in a sport means rigorous training, and knowledge that can only be accrued from years of experience. We do not play sports for fun, we play them to win. Naturally, the next step on this scale of competition is the world of games. Unlike sports, when playing a game, fun is often at the epicenter of the experience. In games, there is often far less at stake. However this does not mean competition is by any means absent; it is just a little bit more modest. Traveling further down this scale we will find games of chance, amusements, and toys, until eventually we end up at the very tail end of it all: frisbee and hackysack.
These creations, likely born from the reefer-addled minds of two enterprising burnouts, have offered hours of fun and distraction to the worlds most easily amused masses for decades now. Each one of these games takes the performance of a skill, either being able to throw a disk or juggle a bean bag, and turns that into a sport in itself. Leave it to a bunch of hippies to create a game that is somehow more repetitive than the jam bands from which they draw their power. As expected, these games require nearly the bare minimum in terms of athletic prowess, seeing as hippies are filthy, lazy creatures. Fortunately, however, this mean that they make excellent games to play while drinking. So, feel free to pour yourself a drink, toss a disk, or hack a sack around with a friend, but if for even one moment you consider dousing yourself in patchouli or making vegan, free-range, organic pot brownies, I greatly suggest you put the disk down and make your way to the closest available steakhouse.
Since the dawn of man, we have preoccupied ourselves as a species with the pursuit of hitting things with other things. While at first we may have been limited to throwing rocks at other rocks, in a short time we have come far. As we spread across the planet, our grasp on the material world grew increasingly detailed and complex. We developed slings, catapults, and archery. To defend our lands we rigorously trained ourselves in their use, and in doing so the sport of marksmanship was born. However, despite all this progress, a fatal flaw yet still remained: it is practically impossible to shoot a bow and arrow while holding a glass of liquor (Again, I would know). Unfortunately for mankind as a whole, it would take some time until someone got around to fixing this fatal flaw. It was not until the glorious year of 1835 that the first revolvers were put into production and the sport of marksmanship was forever changed, and with it the world. In this new era, a man could unload a barrage of bullets whilst simultaneously unloading a glass of scotch into his stomach, all with nothing more than his raw bravado and two hands. While most safety experts and champion sharpshooters might advise against drinking liquor while firing a handgun, you must ask yourself: “Who are they to tell me what to do? I have a bottle of whiskey and a gun in my each of my hands.”