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It’s tall and thick. Imposing, yet surprisingly inviting. It terrifies you just as it draws you in for a closer encounter. You twist off the cap—the twist-off itself a clear sign to stop before this goes any further—and take a whiff. It’s sickly sweet, but not wholly repulsive. There’s a faint aroma of grain buried in there somewhere—just enough to remind you it’s there. It’s so carbonated that the bubbles are almost leaping into your nostrils. This isn’t helping your allergies. You make a perfunctory move to grab a glass, but stop. If you’re going to drink a Hurricane, you realize, there’s no possible way to make it classy. Take a deep breath and take a sip straight from the bottle.
You’re immediately transported back to college, lying facedown on a beer-soaked carpet at Delta Chi fraternity house. Your arms feel unusually heavy, and it takes you a second to remember why. “Duct tape these 40-oz bottles of malt devil spit to your hands,” they said. “It’ll be fun,” they said. Edward 40 Hands…It sounded like such a good idea at the time. All the best worst nights do. Five bucks for a case of 40s? How can you pass that up when you’re making below minimum wage swiping ID cards in the lobby of one of the freshman residence halls from 7-11 every night? You sit up and realize, not without a bit of pride, that you managed to finish one of the two. You’re batting .500. You tenderly peel the thick silver tape off of the hand clutching the unopened bottle, trying to pretend your hand doesn’t feel like it’s being flayed alive, and then hold the empty bottle up to your face so that you might get reacquainted with the motor oil currently flowing through your internal organs. Did you really drink this? Will you suffer long-term side effects in years to come? The label boasts a relatively tame 5.9% ABV–tame compared to chugging Blue Wave out of the bottle–but if that’s true, why does everything hurt so bad? Why does it literally hurt to SEE? And why are you only wearing one shoe?!
You shudder at the memory and take another sip. It’s as bad as what you can remember from that night, and from what you tasted for the second time around that unspeakable morning. You’re expecting to gag just thinking about consuming this again, but with another sip, you’re starting to feel strangely comforted instead. It’s got a strong urine profile, to be sure, but there are subtle notes of nostalgia mingled in there, too. It tastes like house parties, strobe-lit basements, Pitbull songs, red Solo cups, and Octobongs, but it also tastes like playing card games and eating pizza on lazy Friday nights with the people you were closest to for those four years of your life. It reminds you of a time when you were less concerned about what you were drinking and more concerned about who you were drinking it with. It reminds you of that one time you couldn’t afford pizza and didn’t want to wait for frozen pretzel sticks to bake, so you ate them straight out of the freezer. Maybe that was just me.
So what’s the ultimate verdict, here? Hurricane is disgusting. It’s the worst of the worst, and you know bad—from Natty, to Busch, to Steel Reserve, to Milwaukee’s Best, you tried them all in your ongoing quest for the cheapest means of inebriation. You knew this going in, and yet here you are, taking one last sip, screwing the cap back on, and, rather than dumping it down the drain where it belongs, sticking it in the fridge for later. What is it about revisiting your college beverage choices of yore that can be so satisfying? Call it what you will: nostalgia, wistful longings for life pre-student loan payments, yearning for the days when your biggest challenge on a Monday morning was remembering to wear pants to class, or simply the need to remind yourself where you came from. As the kids say, started from the bottom, now you’re here. Or something. Whatever your motivation may be, do yourself a favor and crack open an ice-cold Beer-You-Drank-as-an-Undergrad, and let yourself drift off down Memory Lane. We’re allowed to have us our guilty pleasures every once in a great while.
Just don’t forget to chug a bottle of water and take an Aspirin before bed.
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- Hurricane Malt Liquor: Revisited – Bad Brew Series - 10/15/2015