I recently wrote a series of articles for Zug.com called the Cheap Booze Taste Test, in which my friends and I sampled the best (and cheapest) beer, malt liquor, and wine so you would know which is worth your hard-earned dollar.
In the editing process, one entry was clipped. I've reposted that final piece below for those who read at Zug and were wondering what the hell Cockburn was and why it showed up in the rankings without actually being rated. The piece picks up below right at the end of our Thunderbird tasting.
Would we drink it again? Are you out of your fucking mind? Some of us might not be able to drink water again.
So we had our results. As we tabulated our final tallies, though, we had a startling development.
Cockburn’s Fine Ruby Porto
Jeff had smuggled a bottle of Cockburn into the party. Jeff is notorious for showing up with a bottle or six pack of something completely awful or not actually marketed for human consumption, swearing by its deliciousness, then leaving the remaining ¾ of it at your house when he realizes it sucks. I had a feeling “port with a screw top” would fail to buck the trend. First off, you never want to be the guy who brings the Cockburn to a party. Second, Cockburn’s not even cheap booze. After we ridiculed him mercilessly he wasn’t too forthcoming with how much he paid for it (he really did bring it as the good stuff), but it was somewhere between $8 and $11.
“What the goddamn hell is that?!” Sandy screamed as if Jeff had just produced a firearm. The bottle itself is almost a little too serious. It suggests “drink me with your grandfather in his study” or “this is what they give you in church.”
“This tastes like steak marinade,” Jackie grimaced. Each negative review received a dramatic “Noooooooo!” from Jeff as he hopelessly defended his choice, but this stuff was awful. Somewhere in the middle of syrupy-sweet and acidic, it fucked up every possible taste category with its awfulness.
“Make sure you write down that I think it’s not that bad!” Sure thing, Jeff, but I don’t know that I’m helping your case.
“This would make a fine fertilizer,” Sandy noted. So if you’re taste-testing mulch, give Cockburn a go. Otherwise, you’re going to be hard-pressed to not make a stupid face while drinking this. It’s not that it’s particularly harsh (although it does burn pretty bad going down), it’s just that it tastes so bad you can’t help but grimace at yourself for even drinking it.
“My butt has a mind of its own!” Jackie chimed in, “I should live on an island!” Since all logic and rational thinking had broken down it was a little like Lord of the Flies now, and we were feverishly discussing how we could possibly get our drunk asses to a Denny’s. Because we hadn’t punished our stomachs enough.
Eventually we settled on pizza rolls, meatballs, and ranch dressing. Which actually isn’t a bad wine pairing with Cockburn.
As the night wore down and Jeff and Sandy retreated to various places to pass out, Jackie and I made our way to the gas station for, of course, more beer. When we got there I realized neither one of us had shoes.
“It’ll be okay if you go in,” she assured me. Made sense to me. I sped inside, no clerk. I grabbed a six pack and beelined for the counter before my feet would be spotted.
“Aw, man, I can’t sell beer to you, you got no SHOES!” Damn. Busted.
“Are you sure?”
“Yeah man. Plus it’s like 3 in the morning, why don’t you have shoes?” I walked out without explaining myself. Jackie and I found are way back to her place and snuck a bottle of rum from the liquor cabinet. We spent the rest of the wee hours throwing rocks from a bridge and dancing to Rod Stewart’s greatest hits, which is how I recommend any good taste test end.
Check out the full picture at Randy’s Zug Taste Test Photobucket Album!
Props go to Jackie, Sandy, and Jeff for their help, companionship, and unwavering bravery in the face of some of the worst alcohol on earth. Let's do it again sometime soon!