September 6, 2006

Cheap Fun Bum Wines

WinoIt has just dawned on us that in terms of what we cover on this site, our thinking has become really uptight. Yeah, we cover wine, but we've been so focused on finding nice, safe little Chardonnays and Merlots for under $20 we forgot our Liquor Snob heritage. What does that mean? That we totally forgot about a completely underappreciated segment - fortified wines.

Fortified wines are wines that have had some kind of other alcohol (brandy, for example) added to up the buzz factor. Some fortified wines can be classy - that would be your ports, your sherries, etc. But those aren't the ones we're talking about here today.

We're talking about the fetid liquids you think of when you think of winos - Cisco, Mad Dog 20/20, Night Train, Thunderbird, and Wild Irish Rose. We've had every single one of these wines, though not since college (or high school), but each has its own special kind of magic. Read on for pics of the bottles and full descriptions thanks to, along with notes about our own experiences with them, and feel free to chime in with your own.

They Say: "Known as 'liquid crack,' for its reputation for wreaking more mental havoc than the cheapest tequila. Something in this syrupy hooch seems to have a synapse-blasting effect not unlike low-grade cocaine. The label insists that the ingredients are merely 'citrus wine & grape wine with artificial flavor & artificial color,' but anyone who has tried it knows better."

We Say: Our fearless leader once drank a whole bottle and forgot his girlfriend's phone number...and they'd been dating for two years. So what did he do next? Drank another bottle of Cisco and started dialing numbers randomly. That's the spirit.

md2020.jpgMD 20/20
They Say: "This is a good place to start for the street wine rookie, but beware; this dog has a bite to back up its bark. MD Stands for Mogen David, and is affectionately called 'Mad Dog 20/20'. You'll find this beverage as often in a bum's nest as in the rock quarry where the high school kids sneak off to drink."

We Say: We didn't try this one until college, but we vaguely remember telling someone we couldn't feel our legs after half the bottle. We couldn't feel any body parts after the second half. After the last sip we were clinically dead for three minutes - after the hangover we wished that death thing had stuck.

nighttrain.jpgNight Train
They Say: "...the Night Train is all business when it pulls into the station. All aboard to nowhere - woo wooo! The night train runs only one route: sober to stupid with no roundtrip tickets available, and a strong likelihood of a train wreck along the way. This trainyard favorite is vinted and bottled by E&J Gallo Winery, in in Modesto, CA. Don't bother looking on their web page, because they dare not mention it there."

We Say: Put it this way - we remember getting the bottles. We remember opening the bottles. Everything after that is hazy. God we don't miss those days.

They Say: "...if you like to smell your hand after pumping gas, look no further than Thunderbird. As you drink on, the bird soars higher while you sink lower. The undisputed leader of the five in foulness of flavor, we highly discourage driking this ghastly mixture of unknown chemicals unless you really are a bum."

We Say: Couldn't agree more on this one. We once poached a bottle of this from our parents' liquor cabinet and no one missed it...until we went missing for three days. Tasted like apples and urine.

wildirishrose.jpgWild Irish Rose
They Say: "Like its brother Cisco, 'Wild I' definitely has some secret additives that go straight to the cranium. Another web page claims that this foul beverage is a conspiracy by the republicans to kill the homeless."

We Say: There is a possibility that we tried this stuff as early as grade school, which might account for our partially-formed flippers and vestigal tail. Do not attempt to drink Wild Irish Rose unless you have A) a death wish or B) a seething hatred for yourself and your internal organs.

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Posted by Head Wino at September 6, 2006 7:04 AM
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