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It was during my senior year of high school that I was introduced to the phenomenon that is Burnett’s vodka. I was on my senior year spring break trip, and 20 or 30 of my high school classmates had all chosen to spend the week in Clearwater Beach, Florida, a choice not so much made by us the children but by our parents.
They had formed a committee of sorts, and they didn’t want us in Cancun where we could legally drink so instead they chose a place with a large police presence and affinity for arresting underage drinkers.
Don’t ask me how they rationalized this decision but that’s beside the point. I was drinking throughout the week, sneaking booze from my parents hotel room and “Hey, mistering” my ass off on my way to the beach every morning.
Early on in the trip, I was sitting on a balcony around midnight when a friend of mine handed me a fifth of cherry flavored Burnett’s. He also had his own bottle, and he recommended we play a game called “Finish Your Own Fifth.” I played that game until I lost control of all bodily function. I didn’t finish my fifth, either. I had at least a quarter of it left when I pissed my pants in a lawn chair and made a declaration to a room full of people that Burnett’s was the greatest alcohol ever made.
I don’t know if Burnett’s is a regional vodka or not, because when you’re young it seems as though everyone has their own preferred brand of cheap liquor that they’ll go to great lengths defending. I’ve heard people wax poetic about Heaven Hill, Komchatka, Pinnacle, and Popov.
In my neck of the woods, it was always Burnett’s though. I drank Burnett’s well into my sophomore year of college before transitioning to Crystal Palace, which was just as cheap as Burnett’s but not flavored. I was 20 when I finally gave up on it because I thought that I was above drinking cherry and pomegranate infused vodka shots.
I wasn’t above it, I just couldn’t handle the artificial flavors that Burnett’s had to offer anymore. Since that time I’ve grown into my own as a drinker. I know what I like and more importantly, I know what I don’t like. I know my limits and I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I don’t like shots or enjoy them. Just give it to me as a mixed drink so I don’t have to stand over a trash can for five minutes pretending vomit isn’t about to spew out of my mouth. But I’ve fallen into a sort of rut.
Or maybe it isn’t a rut so much as it just good old fashioned boredom. I have a rotation of four or five bars that I like to visit on the weekend and I don’t really deviate from that. It’s all become routine. I’ve also just recently moved into a new apartment, and I finally have enough furniture and wall decor in there to warrant a housewarming party.
And as I think more and more about this housewarming party, the more appealing Burnett’s and a few 30 racks of Busch Light are sounding. The question is would people show up. We’re a nation obsessed with nostalgia. It’s why we’ve got people dressing like extras in a Seinfeld episode and why everywhere you turn there’s another pop-up bar that is Saved By The Bell or Friends themed.
I could fund a Burnett’s and Busch Light fueled party for a couple hundred bucks and I’d be happy to do it. I think it’d be hilarious for a bunch of people in their mid to late-20s to get back to their roots a little bit, but I’m also thinking it could be an unmitigated disaster.
Everyone has very particular alcohol preferences now. People have their brands and they stick to them, whereas in your early 20s you’ll drink literally whatever is in front of your face. I think what I’d have to do is con people into coming by saying something vague like “Alcohol will be provided so no need to bring anything except a good attitude.” It could be the party of the decade, something that people tell their friends about years from now. It could also turn into a situation where my toilet and any available trash receptacles get assaulted by vomit but there’s only one way to find out. Let me know if any of you want an invite, I’ll send you the Facebook event link..
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