In college, while funneling Crystal Light and Vodka, my schoolmates and I wasted precious study hours philosophizing about the various types of buzzes. The vodka buzz was different from the beer buzz, both of which were different from the wine buzz. But no determination as to the nature of buzzes caught from distinct types of alcohol was ever finalized. So I assembled a thirsty crew of smokin', drinkin' editorial and writer types to establish, once and for all, if buzzes vary. There were nine people, nine choices of alcohol and a drunken string of thoughts from each participant:
Diana, white wine: "A buzz can be elusive, like a female orgasm. It often depends on my mood. Fortunately, though there was little more available than Riesling, I was definitely in the mood for a buzz. I was also in the mood to bond with my co-workers. In the past, I'd always assumed that a white wine buzz was more elegant, higher-class than, say, tequila but I learned that when one is dealing with sweet white wine, buzzed is buzzed. I found myself energized, talkative and vaguely blissful -- just like an orgasm."
Jim, gin: "The first thing to admire about a real martini is its efficiency. The first sip -- turpentine flavored with juniper berries -- catches your attention. A novice may be nonplussed, but an experienced drinker relishes the sting. The next sips go down more smoothly, but initial astringency provides a focal point for your buzz. Cares fade away. Something purporting to be cleverness takes its place. I stop writing and start talking, which is just as well. Experience has taught me that the cleverness is negotiable. The best thing about talking is you can't check the written text in the morning."
Taylor, Grand Marnier: "Sipping a cordial is like shimmying into a warm, soft sleeping bag on a chilly, open-sky night. The sweet buzz warms you from the feet up. Halfway down the glass, my shoulders relax, my vision gets a bit blurred, and I have an intensely mellow, floaty sensation. My belly warms to the occasion."
Todd, bourbon: "I did a freelance job for CL. They invited me out for drinks. They gave me two bourbon and cokes, and all I know is that I want to have sex with everyone."
Sara, Mojito: "At 6:45 p.m., still coherent. Around 7 p.m., start noticing the color of champagne and the big pieces of mint. Starting to drop food on table, can't figure out how to eat the sandwich without a napkin and thinking my drink is a little too mild. By 7:04 p.m., starting to get a headache and I start to wander, lonely as a cloud. Getting poetic. 7:30, starting to get hairy, losing physical coordination, getting philosophical. 7:35, want to throw glasses, want to smoke. 7:55, cackling begins."
Scott, tequila: "Most tequila drinkers have that one torrid tale of indiscretion and expectoration, but I'm fortunate enough to have seven or eight. The tequila buzz is heady, extroverted and a bit aggressive -- it's an energetic high that can get ugly if one goes too far. Either enjoy in moderation, or indulge and forgo responsibility. Now, then -- who can I kiss, then punch?"
Eric, beer: "I've discovered the best beer buzzes come after working out. I went to the gym, cooled off and ordered two El Presidentes. I felt the buzz after I got three-quarters of the way through my second beer. My muscles loosened, my breathing got slower, my body got warm, and my capacity to give a shit about most anything drifted away. I realized I am a shitty writer when I'm buzzed. Hemingway is safe."
Susan, vodka straight up: "It starts with a little blurriness around the eyes -- a soft focus that makes other people look better than they really do. Warmth flushes the cheeks and the urge to tell the truth wins out before the internal editor can stop it. A general fuzzy feeling sets in with the second drink. I feel good cheer toward all assembled. People start telling secrets and I can only hope to remember them when I'm sober."
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