The 'Dirty Shot'. Absinthe, tequila and chili powder.
"Strawberry Surprise": grain alcohol and pepper spray. The surprise is that it tastes nothing like strawberries and everything like PAIN.
Strawberry Surprise was infamously present at Pennsic War. Now when you check in for the event, you're given the suggested drinking rules for the event. To wit, don't drink it if it A.) Smokes. B.) Glows. C.) Glitters. D.) They won't tell you what's in it. and E.) The name contains the word "Surprise".
In the Scandinavian countries people drink "Turkish Pepper" shots, which is vodka mixed with crushed "Turkish Pepper"-candies (pepper and salmiak). The Finnish retail version was removed after (false) rumors of fatalities, and the version currently sold has less alcohol content. You really should mix it yourself though, and in this case it can apparently be too strong for Vince Neil.
Salmiakki-Koskenkorva. The Finnish version of Pan-Galactic Gargle Blaster. Mix of salmiakki (ammonium chloride spiced with licorice) and Koskenkorva Vodka. Especially diabolical as the sour taste of ammonium chloride will neutralize the bitter taste of the ethanol, and the overall taste will be just salty. The imbiber does not realize it is almost all vodka before he or she is really soused.
Same in caipirinha, where the extremely sour taste of lime will neutralize the bitterness of ethanol of cachaça. Copious amounts of sugar and ice will render it fully potable.
The "Four Horsemen" normally consists of one shot each of Jim Beam, Johnny Walker, Jack Daniels, and Jose Cuervo. Some people choose to replace one of the three whiskies with Captain Morgan, which doesn't agree with the tequila in most people's stomachs. To quote an experienced drinker, who was holding a buddy's head up over the toilet at the time:
"You idiot! Captain Morgan is a racist! HE HATES MEXICANS!"
Mixing in Everclear makes it "The Four Horseman and Hell Follows". It's a pretty accurate description.
Toss in some Wild Turkey bourbon and it becomes "The Four Horsemen Go Hunting".
A different drink with the same name is composed of Jaegermeister, Goldschlaeger, Rumple Minze and Bacardi 151. This is the "I have too much blood in my alcohol stream" version.
The "Bear Fight," which is a Jager Bomb followed immediately by an Irish Car Bomb. So called because after drinking one, it feels like there are bears fighting in your stomach
The "Aunt Roberta", which has caused at least 34 deaths, definitely goes here. It contains:
Three shots of vodka;
Two shots of absinthe;
One shot of brandy;
One and a half shots of gin;
One shot of blackberry liqueur.
For those keeping score, that's 8½ shots' worth of alcohol (and then some—absinthe is stronger than usual). Drinking 8½+ shots worth of alcohol at once (conventional wisdom is to space out your drinks and give your liver time to deal with each one) is simply asking for trouble.
The theme camp, Spock Mountain Research Laboratories at the Burning Man festival has served a drink called "Hyper-Whiskey" for years. Though the recipe varies, it has usually contained some kind of chili sauce or horseradish.
Teekkarivanukas (literally "Techie Pudding") originates in the Helsinki University of Technology. HUT students invented a food consisting of gelatin and alcohol, usually either vodka, dark rum or cream liqueur. Gelatin leaves are dissolved in water, and let cool. Once it begins to jellify, the alcohol is added. The result is gelatineous pudding-like substance which is eatable (not drinkable) and the gelatin will neutralize the bitterness of alcohol.
"Chuck Norris" aka Jalapeño vodka, made from steeping the sliced hot peppers in vodka until it kicks like its namesake.
The drink called an "Adios Motherfucker" — White Rum, gin, Tequila, Blue Curacao, Vodka and a splash of bar lime. Like Jäger, guaranteed to ail what cures you.
The infamous "Pájaro Verde" ("Green Bird") drink, which is illegally brewed and consumed in Chilean jails. It's strong enough to kill several inmates every year; that might have to do with the fact that Pájaro Verde is made by fermenting garbage.
It's more about what it is rather than what it's made from. Instead of regular old happy ethanol, pájaro verde has methanol, which is straight up toxic. It's generally not much different from garden-variety prison liquor or "pruno" other than the fact that it can blind, paralyze, or kill you.
There's a lot of challenge drinks out there, but one of the nastiest is a Prairie Fire — tequila and Tabasco. A game based on this drink is "Russian Roulette" — your group orders one each, one of which has triple the Tabasco in it.
Sprinkle Parmesan or Asiago on a Prairie Fire: Boom! Grannie's Panties.
Or a Buffalo Sweat; Replace the tequila with overproof rum (151, for example, but several other overproofs are even higher in alcohol content)
Tequila and tabasco are not an uncommon mix, an ounce of each in a shotglass is known in some places as 'The Devil's Piss'. There are variations with a third ingredient, such as Falun Snakebite (Tequila, tabasco and really cheap bourbon), or Flatliner (Layer sambuca and tequila in that order, add tabasco).
Heck, when you're done with tabasco, try an habanero! Supposedly some tequilas are spiced with it in Mexico.
Most instances of homemade hard liquor — "Moonshine" — fall under this trope, being as it is generally not only stronger than an irritable rhinoceros but tastes like a combination of industrial cleaners and whatever vessel it was cooked up in.
Chinese peasant liquor certainly falls under this trope. It can best be described as smelling of death, and the experience of a half-shot was not unlike an aluminum baseball bat across the eyes. Due to poor brewing and distilling techniques, it often contains high concentrations of toxic methanol.
A franchise bar called "The Hub" in Japan has a drink on its menu that's similar to this. It was a shot that is 3/4 rectified spirit and 1/4 absinthe.
Absinthe is distilled multiple times during its creation, which results in a concoction that ranges from 50% to 70% alcohol by volume, depending on the variety. As such, it's usually drunk after being diluted with ice water three to five times over with sugar. The hallucinations are a myth, as well as the other rumored evil side-effects (blindness, insanity)...unless you drink about 200 glasses in one sitting. It is not, in fact, meant to be set on fire, though lighting the sugar, dropping it into the glass and dousing it with water is the "bohemian" method. It does have the interesting effect of sneaking up on the drinker— to the point where someone can drink several glasses of absinthe and legitimately not realize how drunk they are, until they try to walk away and suddenly find out that their legs don't feel like going anywhere. This is most likely an effect of the ingredients, which have amounts of natural stimulants and sedatives.
Mitch Hedberg: I tried absinthe when I was over in Europe, because I heard it was supposed to make you trip hallucinogenically — but actually, it's just a liquor, so I was just getting fucked up... I wound up lying on the floor, trying to force the trip: "Why is the floor the lowest I can go?" Didn't work.
Ordering 100 ml of real Absinthe, straight up, in jurisdictions where real absinthe is legal (thankfully, increasing), tends to get you stares. Also, the Absinthe-based version of the Flaming Lamborghini, with or without the sambuca. Bonus shock points for chasing straight up absinthe with a Flaming Lamborghini and managing to walk away on your own feet.
A chemistry trick is to drink 96% alcohol very slowly with an open mouth. Due to the high alcohol content, which is on the absolute border of what is possible under normal atmospheric conditions, the alcohol will evaporate in one's mouth. The trick is to breathe out while drinking, or it will have the reverse effect: alcohol vapor that enters the bloodstream directly through the lungs, skipping the stomach. This is not very healthy, to say the least. But, done properly, one could down an entire bottle of 96% while still reasonably sober.
Public Service Announcement: If you're going to drink azeotropic alcohol, quickly chase it thoroughly. Attempting the above will cause the alcohol to severely irritate your mouth and throat.
Graduate school chemists used to have a cheap way of making insta-gargle blasters. Take the pure ethyl alcohol jug from the lab, run it through a simple distillation to take out other alcohols, dilute with water and add some orange concentrate. The stuff was horrifically nasty and as strong as you felt like making it.
Public Service Announcement: Drinking chemical-grade ethanol is extremely hazardous to your health, even in diluted form, as the last stage of purification to get rid of traces of water involves mixing it with benzene, the traces of which in the final product are extremely carcinogenic. Not to mention the highly-toxic methyl alcohol and other stuff commonly added to denature the stuff. This is why chem grad students use specialized lab equipment to muck about with it...or just use the 96% azeotrope (maximum strength by distillation), and distill out the denaturants. Again, you more or less have to be a chemist to do this.
Many years ago, fermentation would be taught in basic organic chemistry or biology. If you know how, you can make very strong (and very awful) distilled liquor in the lab and disguise the whole thing as a school project.
It still is, and bread yeast fermented grape juice is equivalent in taste to cheap wine.
If you read the label of a bottle of Methylated Spirits, you'll notice that it says that the contents is 95% Ethanol. The other 5% is Methanol (and possibly a dye), which is added to make it toxic so people won't drink it. Of course some people do anyway...
That's why it's known as a denatured alcohol—one rendered not safe to drink.
In Europe denatured alcohol doesn't contain any toxic additives (like methanol), but only the ones that make it taste horrible (like denatonium).
And in Russia, denatured alcohol frequently contains neither denatonium nor toxic additives, but rather the bitter and slightly toxic castor oil. However, this can be relatively easily removed, leaving only a trace amount of castor oil—enough to add a slight bitter flavor and require that you hydrate a bit more than usual (castor oil is a laxative).
There are multiple supposedly safe methods of "purifying" denatured alcohol. For example, adding a common bathroom cleaner, decanting, and filtering through a loaf of bread cut in half. Don't Try This at Home, seriously. Similarly, some novel included such a line as: "Did you drink denatured with chicken shit?"
During American Prohibition, industrial alcohol was exempted from Volstead restrictions if it was denatured to make it undrinkable. These additives ranged from foul-tasting to toxic. But, it was still the easiest stuff for a bootlegging gang to get their hands on. If you were lucky, your bootleggers redistilled their industrial alcohol before diluting it, flavoring it, and selling it as name-brand liquor. If you weren't, they figured diluting the stuff would get the toxins below a lethal level. If you really weren't, they were wrong. Newspapers of the time routinely covered deaths from toxic bootleg liquor.
During this pub-crawl a group go out seeking the worst drinks possible for entertainment value, including such horrors as "the bloody tampon" ... at one point the author appears to be summoning Cthulhu to come put him out of his misery. For bonus points, the Bloody Tampon was made up on the spot.
This Experiment in which the goal was to get as much alcohol in a Jello shot as possible. Its follow-up experiment managed to get even more in, creating a highly flammable chunk of gelatin that melts into a flaming puddle when ignited.
A Mobile, Alabama bar serves a Long Island Iced Tea variant called "The Paralyzer", where the Coca-Cola is replaced with Everclear. Some refer to it as the Highlander, because in the end, you will need only one.
A standard LIIT is already stronger than most cocktails with equal parts vodka, tequila, white rum, gin, and Triple Sec. Though the liquor is diluted with lemon juice, gomme syrup, and coke, averaging out at a total of about 22% alcohol, this simply masks the flavor so you don't realize exactly how much booze you're getting, meaning that it's easy to drink a lot of them and get totally plastered.
Both Everclear & Golden Grain, at 190 proof (read 95% alcohol, about as strong as one can distill it), should be considered small-scale stand-alone Gargle Blasters due to their abilities to knock out anyone in 1-2 shots. More than a few jurisdictions have banned the sale of both products or limited it to the (relatively) weaker 151 proof versions (which is still at least double the alcohol content of anything else a reputable liquor seller will carry). Mind, these super-strong grain alcohols have some legitimate uses other than absurdly-fast intoxication; in particular, they can be used to make homemade liqueurs, whose added syrup and water content brings the alcoholic levels down to earth. It can still be a little strange to walk into the house of a little old lady (who are the most likely to make these things) to find a big old bottle of pure grain alcohol, though.
Spirytus is also 190 proof, 95% alc by vol. Go from zero to under the table in 1 shot.
Habu Sake, another Japanese variant. It's awamori (not sake) served with a Habu Viper in it. Yes, a dead snake in the liquor. Supposedly the alcohol neutralizes the venom, but there are sailors who swear the venom is just potent enough to keep your liver from purifying the alcohol from your system for a little longer than normal. Four shots of this, and you're down for the count.
There's also the Vietnamese variant of snake wine, made with snake venom, usually from live snakes. Apparently it's like drinking blood wine with electrical current running through it.
Sounds a lot like some old-time Wild West whiskeys. Many times, the whiskey was "cut" with various other ingredients to try to extend the barrel life while keeping it potent. Kinds known as "snakeheads" threw rattler heads into the barrel, but other things that could go in ranged from the mostly innocuous (water, pepper, tobacco) to the insane (caustic soda, strychnine).
Anthony Burgess' homemade cocktail, Hangman's Blood. "Into a pint glass, doubles (i.e. 50ml measures) of the following are poured: gin, whisky, rum, port and brandy. A small bottle of stout is added and the whole topped up with Champagne... It tastes very smooth, induces a somewhat metaphysical elation, and rarely leaves a hangover."
In York, there's a bar that used to sell a drink called the Hellshot, consisting of a shot of 89% absinthe and 88% vodka (or something). You had to sign a disclaimer before you had one. Needless to say, the authorities banned it. Five years later, the bar still advertises it as "BANNED" though, presumably for street cred. Another bar has a shelf marked "Dangerous" with all the stronger spirits.
The components of the Hellshot are still legal individually, however. Cue Loophole Abuse.
In Dawson City, in Yukon Territory, Canada, there's a bar in the Downtown Hotel which serves a drink called the Sourtoe Cocktail, which is basically any alcoholic drink... with an amputated toe floating in it, usually donated by a victim of severe frostbite. The toe must touch the lips of the drinker for them to qualify as a member of the Sourtoe Cocktail Club.
The barman also has the unenviable task of going out to get another toe, as there have been cases of drinkers accidentally swallowing the toe.
"Kehlenschneider" ("throat-cutter") is a German 80% chili schnapps with a 400,000 Scoville rating.
This Cracked article details a few alcoholic nightmares that can be quite dangerous to one's health. The worst being changaa, a Kenyan concoction that can contain battery acid or jet fuel.
Cachaça, Brazilian cane liquor. Practically a religion in its home country, it is made directly from cane juice rather than the molasses used for rum. Brazilian tradition is to distill it as much as possible while retaining the flavor of the juice—and because cane juice has so goddamn much sucrose, it isn't hard to get it to the usual 50%+ abv while still retaining a good flavor.
"Scorn": fruit liqueurs aren't usually too dangerous, unless the fruit in question is Habanero.
The Discworld's Scumble is based on Scrumpy, a super-potent British cider. According to Terry Pratchett, homebrewed scrumpy has "a kick that lasts for the rest of your life." Scrumpy isn't that strong by the standards of this page, however; it usually lands around 8-9% ABV, i.e. the strength of what in the US is known as malt liquor. The kick comes from the fact that the metal details on old cider presses tend to be lead, which reacts with the acids in the apple juice in interesting ways, and the fact that scrumpy is normally sold in pints (an Imperial pint is 568 ml).
Similarly, applejack is cider distilled by repeatedly freezing the drink while removing any ice that forms. Given that this removes nothing but water, applejack has an incredible kick, note insert your own My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic joke here! especially considering that it has a fairly low alcohol content by brandy standards; the freeze distilling process, while concentrating the alcohol content, also concentrates the methanol and fusel oil content that are believe to cause hangovers.
A number of beers are also distilled in this fashion, the most notable being several German Eisbocks.
There exists an annual poly/kinky gathering in Georgia, Duckstock, whose name (and original raison d'etre) comes from a mixture known as 'Drunk Duck'. The exact recipe is a closely guarded secret.
As implied in the lyrics of the Dos Gringos song by the same name (see Music, above), Jeremiah Weed's popularity with American fighter pilots is probably because of how awful it tastes ("something in between Lysol and alcohol, with a touch of gasoline," according to the song...)
For US Military in KoreaSoju is like this for new drinkers. It looks like wine cooler but the alcohol content can vary (from 16.7%, to about 45% alcohol by volume!). Standard content is 30-35%, which given the manufacturing process is just weak enough that you don't realize how strong it is and drink more than you would otherwise. Many a soldier or airmen has tried to slam shots, only to spend the evening being carried back to the barracks. However, it's cheap and comes in many flavors, so it's popular with troops and is now available in the US.
When I stood up from my chair at the bar, the Soju snuck up on me and kicked me square in the balls. I had never experienced something like that before, going from zero to obliterated in two seconds. It was like that scene from Old School, where Will Ferrell got shot in the neck with a tranquilizer dart; everything slowed down and got really trippy.
Tactical Nuclear Penguin is one of the world's strongest beers, at 32% alcohol by volume. It's brewed in Scotland and sells for £35. The Brewery also produces Sink the Bismarck, at 41%, in an attempt to reclaim the world title from Germany. It is also £40 for 330ml. Or for the really suicidal, the brewery does a multipack with Tactical Nuclear Penguin. Seriously.
Beers beyond 25% ABV tend to be technically either "ice beers" (freeze-distilled after brewing) or fortified (stronger spirits added). When it comes to the strongest all-fermented beer, the current champ is Samual Adams Utopias (about 25% ABV)—which in addition to being insanely strong tastes like chocolate syrup mixed with cognac.
"Four Loko" - nicknamed "Blackout In A Can" for the speed with which its mix of alcohol (12%) and caffeine renders drinkers (especially binge drinking college kids) non-functional. Banned in late 2010, then reintroduced, only without nearly so much caffeine.
In real life, mixing a Gargle Blaster with a Klatchian Coffee has been shown to be dangerous because the two buzzes conflict with each other, preventing your body from knowing when it's time to stop.
Baijiu ("white liquor"), the primary native distilled beverage of China. The weakest baijiu is allowed to be is 40% ABV, or 80 proof (standard proof for most Western liquor); maotai (one of the more renowned forms) often clocks in at 53% (106 proof). Many other forms are 60% (120 proof), and a few forms, such as fenjiu and gaolangjiunote If you've seen Zhang Yimou's first film, Red Sorghum, this is what they're making at that distillery can get up to 63% or 65% (126-130 proof), at which point they are literally flammable. Westerners have compared the flavor to that of jet fuel (although if said Westerners had previously visited Kenya and sampled the local changaa, they might have a point). Suffice it to say that when it comes to drinking, the Chinese do not play games.
Bear in mind that Communist Party officials are known to down several glasses—sometimes taken as shots—of baijiu at banquets and meetings. All of a sudden the Great Leap Forward makes a lot more sense.
This liquor is also sometimes known in the west as "Chinese lighter fluid".
Liquor from Shaoxing, usually used for cooking, tends to taste like a cross between burning hair, soy sauce, and sorrow.
Samogon is Russian moonshine, homemade brandy, rum or grain spirit (not vodka: modern vodka is produced by rectification, which uses a process of multiple distillations to produce nearly pure alcohol, and is then watered down to the legally mandated 40%).note This system dates back to at least the late 19th century, when the Tsar appointed Dmiti Mendeleev—a chemist and the father of the periodic table—director of the Bureau of Weights and Measures; Mendeleev was also an expert on the purity of solutions in alcohol in water, having written his doctoral thesis on the subject, and as Weights and Measures director set stringent guidelines for both the purity of what can be sold as vodka and its strength. It is far stronger than vodka - typically 110-120 proof (up to 140 if made on a better still or distilled twice), and often badly distilled, still containing fusel oil; however, the "samogon" you can buy in shops outside of Russia is just a highly potent brandy. Real samogon is made in Russian countryside for the purpose of not paying the vodka tax, which is included in the price of vodka for the end consumer and can make it very costly. Quality varies: some distillers produce fine artisanal samogon, and some make...
Chemerges. It is a variety of samogon, very poorly made by unscrupulous bootleggers without separating foreshots and feints, often cut with methylated alcohol or other assorted nastiness, like burnt rubber or battery acid. Comparable in lethality to the Kenyan changaa. Those who do not have the apparatuses or skills to make normal samogon (or are too hopelessly alcoholic to retain any technical skills) buy chemerges, with eventual sad consequences.
Pervach is another extra potent and dangerous variety of samogon. In most countries moonshiners are at least smart enough to discard the foreshots (the initial 50-100 grams of moonshine, which contains most of the chemical-smelling shit). Not Russians, though. In Russia, the foreshots are concentrated into a separate product called "pervach" (the first one). It clocks around 140-150 proof (up to 180 with a doubler still), is very flammable, reeks of nail polish remover and is often contaminated with methanol (pervach made from sugar is mostly safe for consumption, but still smells and tastes horrible). Esters, ethers and acetone, the less dangerous contaminants in pervach, increase its kick even further, making it more intoxicating than pure grain alcohol. Today many moonshiners grow increasingly aware of the risks of pervach and start to use it as cleaning fluid or camping stove fuel, not beverage.
More powerful than them all is medical alcohol, which is 95% C2H5OH, sold in drugstores, more or less the Russian equivalent of everclear.
Dubovka, a peculiar kind of Russian booze made by fermenting grain with oakwood splinters that was produced illegally during Gorbachev's anti-alcohol laws. It's in fact a mash, not a distilled spirit, and is deceptively low in alcohol content but has certain other chems in it (similar to scrumpy). It's green, tastes mild but makes you fall after the third shot.
Rocket Fuel: In a large bucket, combine half a liter of Everclear, about an equal portion of food grade dry ice, and a can of frozen juice concentrate of some kind; stir the mixture until the dry ice evaporates out, then serve it with a ladle. The dry ice makes it so cold, the alcohol freezes into a slush, so you don't even taste it until it thaws out, which you won't if you just shoot it. Perfect example of "you don't even realize you're getting drunk".
Science-Fiction conventions and Ren Faires often make and bring homemade Gargle Blasters, creating real-world equivalents to their fictional counterparts that will knock the unsuspecting just as flat as the fictional ones.
For example, Ryncol, created in honor of the eponymous Gargle Blaster from Mass Effect 2. With those two simple ingredients it lives up to its namesake and begs the question... WHY?!
Alaskan Martinis. Used to defeat visiting Texans waving around excessive ego about their booze capacity. Recipe: Everclear, left outside at 20-30 below zero. Seriously dangerous, from internal frostbite as well as the obvious.
On the non-alcoholic side of things, raw cranberry juice is unbelievably sour. The 'cranberry juice' commonly sold in stores is, if you read the label carefully, actually a 'cocktail': usually apple juice with just enough cranberry juice added to turn it red, the real thing is exceptionally difficult to drink straight and will cause stomachaches.
Spirytus rektyfikowany, often abbreviated to just spirytus, is a Polish rectified spirit that is commonly 96% ABV. Sipping it literally burns your mouth and throat, and can make it hard to breathe for several minutes. It's sometimes an informal Rite of Passage for young men to down a shot without wincing.
A group of chemistry post-grads at (I believe) the University of North Carolina used to exploit their knowledge of practical chemistry to create a terrifying drink known as Mech Fuel — artificially produced ethyl alcohol mixed with propylene glycol (i.e. non-toxic antifreeze) as a sweetener.
The Cement Mixer, an actual cocktail from the 1980s. 1 shot of cream whiskey with 1 shot of lemon juice. Taken at the same time, the lemon juice will curdle the cream in your mouth, making it stick to your teeth like sugary cement. And people used to pay bartenders to serve them this... Well, it's really less of a drink than a prank, the sort of thing a skeeved-out bartender would serve a guy who's hitting on her and has the nerve to say "bartender's choice".
More commonly, this is a prank drink ordered by an inexperienced or otherwise unsuspecting bar patron's "friends", so people used to pay bartenders to serve them to someone else.
A mixture of 3 parts Samogon (see above), 2 parts cask strength Scotch whisky, 1 measure of the strongest available schnapps, shaken with a cut-open chili pepper, poured, then served with pepper sprinkled in it (the pepper binds the oil in the samogon and carries it to the bottom of the glass). This drink is known as a Strike... as in 3 and you're out. Attempting this with authentic samogon from a Russian village is not recommended; even the industrially distilled imitation is more than enough to knock you out.
The Zombie, also called the Bahama Mama, has this reputation among tiki drinks. Equal portions of dark, light, and spiced rum, some variety of fruit brandy for extra flavor, and some juice to cut down on the bite of the alcohol. Unlike some of the above examples, the effect is less "potable lighter fluid" than "tropical fruity goodness concealing a massive hit of rum." For extra fun, it can be lit on fire.
The Scottish comedian Billy Connolly, himself no stranger to gargle blasters, claimed that it caused his legs to become drunk but not the rest of him.
Bill Engvall told a similar story involving him drinking one after taking half a Vicodin(he forgot he took it), it ended in him drunken para-sailing
Steely Dan mention it in "Haitian Divorce:" The wife drinks at least one after getting to Haiti, and under its influence seeks out a dance place and ends up dancing with and then banging some random Haitian guy. Whether or not this was the point of the trip (other than, you know, getting the divorce) is unclear.
A restaurant in Quebec City called (the French translation of) "The Goblin's Tankard" serves a drink made of equal parts whiskey and sourpuss, adding Tabasco and then heating. For those that think this is too girly, there's the "Holy Grail", which ups the ante on the alcohol content, adds strips of habanero pepper, and is served in a glass whose rim is bordered in paprika. Few people have resisted it.
In the 2011 Halloween episode of Nerd to the Third Power, UK Native Skyblaze told of the time her mother brought a bottle of poitín (pronounced po-teen), an Irish moonshine made out from (imagine!) potatoes, to a Halloween party. The story ended with one woman waking up naked in her home a day later with no memory of the ENTIRE LAST DAY. Podcast host Dr. Gonzo responded to the story with "So your mother basically instigated a village-wide version of The Hangover?"
Legal versions of Poitín exist (although it is still Illegal in Northern Ireland), and the strength seems to vary on where you buy it. The stuff on the English side of the Irish sea tends to be the low 60% ABV stuff, Irish supermarkets sell a 70% variation and one that seems only available on the ferry between Wales and Ireland rates into the 85% ABV.
A few submit their taste buds willfully to the terror of hrenovuha, Eastern European drink made by adding horseradish into 60-70 % ABV moonshine.
Most military functions have their own version of "The Grog." Simply put, each unit brings a different type of alcohol (or other addition) and the various ingrediants are poured into a large pot. Ingredients have included such things as sand from Iraq (along with the boot it was brought home in) and shredded paper.
A Historical Example: Chatham County Artillery Punch The local legend is that it originated at an Artillery Ball where all the officers independently decided to spike the punch.
The Cheap Date: fill a large glass half-way with juice, then add a double shot of everything that's behind the bar.
Jeppson's Malört is 35% ABV, but what really puts it on this list is that it not only tastes terrible (apparently like a really foul mix of industrial chemicals,) but actually advertises this as a selling point. The label basically taunts you to man up and keep drinking it until you get used to the taste. Literal Testosterone Poisoning?
Interestingly, wormwood is one of the classic Swedish vodka flavorings, The bitter flavor complements the traditional Swedish cuisine, which is usually quite heavy in fat and salt, very well. The Yanks drink it to prove how tough they are, the Swedes drink it because it goes well with food. Also, in Scandinavian folk medicine, wormwood vodka is considered a panacea for ailments of the stomach.
One of the most popular brands of schnapps for both midsummer and christmas is "Bäska Droppar" (old spelling of Bitter Drops), which is 40% ABV (like most swedish schnapps) and also has wormwood as its main flavouring component. Some people don't like it here in Sweden either, but it's not regarded as terrible. The students at Chalmers University of Technology have the old tradition that anyone who turns 23 years old while studying there should celebrate by drinking 23 cl of Bäska Droppar. The numerological reason for the "23" is that this was the number for Bäska Droppar in the Systembolagets price list.
Telephone Numbers. Number the bottles behind the bar from zero to nine. Pour shots out according to your telephone number. Brave souls may add the area or city code. The suicidal may include the international access code.
The "Scumbag", a Scottish cocktail that consists of two shots of Jagermeister, two shots of Scotch whisky, two shots of vodka, a dash of Buckfast and either chillies or garlic. Go on.
"Topshelf", in the UK. A shot of everything on the top shelf (i.e. all the spirits that are set up with Optics) into a pint glass. While the lethality of this mixture will vary from venue to venue depending on what they have set up this way, it is not recommended under any circumstances if you plan to maintain a cordial relationship with your liver. Some pubs and bars actively refuse to serve this to anyone dumb enough to order it.
The "Red Death Party" - Where everyone in attendance brings a 13 oz bottle of their favorite booze, fill the largest receptacle you can find with everyone's contributions and top it off with red wine. No one leaves until everything's gone.
This news story about a British woman in Greece on holiday who had to be rushed to hospital after partaking a drink made of a mixture of Baileys, chilli, tequila, absinthe, ouzo, vodka, cider, and gin.
Pruno is made in American prisons, and basically consists of whatever a convict can get his hands on that will ferment, including ketchup, fruits, crumbled bread, anything, mixed together and allowed to ferment in a plastic bag, inside his cell's toilet (basically the only place he might get away with hiding it for an extended period.)
"Google Translator", for the remarkably stupid or bored with a stocked bar: one shot each of tequila, vodka, rum, whiskey, Jäger, and sake. Can be adjusted to one's taste depending on which angle you prefer your liver to be violently brutalized from. Also named because of how the inebriated tends to speak (or not) after drinking the damn thing.
The effort of the social media meme "Neknomination" eventually shifted from drinking an alcoholic beverage quickly to trying to one up your friends by making one of these. The publicity it got as a result of people dying note although the deaths were reportedly from downing bottles of vodka and Captain Morgan's, not from mixing per se was less than ideal, not that it stopped people from making them.
Similar to Neknominations, University students (in the UK at least) are fond of the "dirty pint", especially if it's someone's birthday. Essentially, a pint glass full of a splash of everyone at the party's drinks, along with anything else you can find in the kitchen. Usually ends up an unholy mixture of beer, cider, wine, various spirits, condiments and milk.
The Last Bar Before the End of The World (in Paris) made its own version of the Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster, with gin, vodka, Galliano, absinth and tabasco. The effects of the mixture vary from one customer to another, but it usually ends with someone asking urgently for some ice.
The German city of Marburg prides itself with its signature drink of Rostiger Nagel ("rusty nail", not to be confused with a similarly named whisky drink), which consists of Ratzeputz, a 50-85 % volume ginger liquor, mixed with tabasco. The definitive proof that desperate university students will drink anything.
The Black Samurai. Seriously, sake and soy sauce? Who drinks this sort of thing?
Strohvodka: Stroh rum mixed, to water it down, in equal parts with Vodka. Sizes vary from anything between a shot to a 0.3 l glass. Further consumption of anything alcoholic, or anything at all, after consuming any sizeable amount of this cocktail is ill advised, as the chanes of falling unconcious 15 minutes afterwards are pretty high.
The Way Station, a sci-fi/steampunk bar in Brooklyn, NY, features the Gargle Blaster from The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy on its menu. The drink's description includes the list of obviously fictional ingredients from the book (though people who don't know the books can get confused.) In actuality, the drink is just an excuse to mix several different kinds of alcohol, leaving patrons Unsuspectingly Soused.