An Unesteemed Opinion: The Best Drinking Games

An Unesteemed Opinion: The Best Drinking Games

It may come as a surprise to you, but I don’t consider myself a definitive authority on drinking games.  Drinking games have traditionally been a way to coax the unaggressive (or “meek”) to imbibe more heartily – a problem I’ve never really had.  I have entered the arena a few times, largely to get one lameassed friend or another to drink by directing every “give a drink” their way.  I do play a variety of solitary drinking games – drink whenever you see a lion, leopard or cheetah on Big Cat Diary or drink whenever you hear a screeching idiot on any flavor of Real Housewives.  I play such games keep motivated in the absence of drinking competitors/companions.

A word about the image above: I stole it from the internet and know none of the participants.  But I admire and respect many of the things captured in it: steely concentration and focus from someone who is apparently playing solo quarters; a person sporting a killer goatee and playing with a water gun; another person who appears to be about to vomit (or is doing that dance where you really emphasize your heartbeat).  These people are doing it right – kudos.

One problem with drinking games is that they are pretty beercentric; I generally never drink beer.  The most popular drinking games also emphasize skill while diminishing the role of chance – I tend to enjoy card games where the skill is convincing the people that you are getting drunk that they are not drunk and shouldn’t make you do that shot of Cuervo.  That minor squabble is alleviated by the fact that alcohol will eventually reduce the skill factor and level the playing field (somewhat).  To fully flesh out this topic, I had to huddle with esteemed collegiate drinking buddy Bat Rastard – to avoid any charge of plagiarism, consider the entry here an amalgam of our thoughts on the topic.

The Top Five Legitimate Drinking Games

5.  Russian Roulette – I’m gonna put this over Dizzy Izzie (drink from the tap as you spin around the keg, bonus points for not falling down) because it is more game-like and doesn’t require a keg.  The game is pretty simple: start with a six pack, shake up one beer, mix up beers so you don’t know which one was shaken.  Each player sequentially selects a beer – if your chosen beer explodes you have to shotgun the rest of the beers, if it doesn’t, you just shotgun that one.  This is a very short game.   Bonus points for playing with beer and White Russians.

4.  Baseball –  This is all Bat Rastard, but I’m certain I’d be excellent at it.  My likely greatness would undoubtedly leave a suspected-PED-use cloud over the game, so probably for the best.

Baseball works like this:

  • Two teams of at least 3 players
  • Line up four pint glasses, with the glass nearest the “batter” being ¼ full of beer, the next at ½ full, etc
  • Batter bounces a quarter, trying to get it in one of the glasses, each of which represents a single, double, triple, or homerun.  A missed shot is an out and the next player on the batter’s team is up
  • If batter gets a single, double, or triple, opposing team must drink (slam) the cup containing the quarter, and the batter’s team has a man on base (either first, second, or third)
  • If batter gets it in the homerun cup, opposing team drinks all four glasses
  • All runs must be forced in (i.e., get a triple you have a  man on third, must get 3 singles before that run scores)
  • BEST PART:  each team has a designated “steal man” each inning.  If batter’s team has a man on base, batter’s team designates its steal man, who has an entire cup of beer in front of him; other team has a similarly situated steal man.  At any time with a runner on base, the batter’s team steal man can grab his cup and start slamming the beer – the defensive steal man must react and try to slam his beer faster to “throw out” the steal man.  If the batter’s team guy wins, the runner advances
  • Keep track of how many runs each team has and play for 9 innings (rookies), or 3 innings (professionals who can handle all the drinking and constantly attempt to steal)
  • PROS:  gets you drunk quickly, exciting game, much trash talking, super fun to play
  • CONS:  requires tons of beer on hand – MUST have a keg or be at a bar with large pitchers.  Impossible to play with just cans or bottles

3. Swingers Drinking Game – This could be practically any tv show or movie – The Simpsons, Ally McBeal, Glitter – the varieties are endless.  The games usually revolve around drinking whenever something familiar happens, like a dancing baby appearing, or dialog, plot or characters being completely nonsensical (Cool As Ice, Showgirls, Gigli, etc).  Swingers is a perfect game for this – it’s an awesome movie with many iconic scenes, drinking when you hear “baby” or “money” fits perfectly, and you will not make it through the casino scene alive.

2.  Kings –  A drinking card game that I only played a few times, but that I would like to play a few hundred more times.

BR explains:  “Kings is pretty fun – spread a deck of cards out on the table face-down.  Place an empty pitcher in the middle of the table, each player has a full cup of beer. Take turns drawing 1 card, each card means something else (e.g., for the non-face cards, spades mean person to your left drinks the number of drinks on the card, clubs is person on right.  Hearts means everyone drinks, diamonds mean you pick the person who drinks; each person who draws a king pours their entire beer (or as much as they want of their beer, in the wuss version of the game) into the pitcher, last king drawn ends the game with that person downing the entire pitcher; jacks mean make a rule, queens mean something else – I forget).  There are an infinite number of variations on this game.  I’m not a huge fan of the rule-making, though, as it devolves into rules like “no talking” and “no pointing” and a bunch of unenforceable crap that makes it too hard to play after a while.

I disagree on the rules component, I think rules rule.  “No proper nouns,” “must touch your nose before you drink” etc. add a dimension of concentration and enforcement.  I am happy to make sure that the rules are observed, it’s a more socially-accepted version of being a tattle-tail and adds to the consumption.

1.  Quarters – The big daddy of them all.  There’s a strong skill element involved (we all know the guys who could roll the sh-t off their nose and such) but it usually worked out for the best.  I like the “make three shots and make a rule” version, but I’m not sure it’s universal.  I have f-cked up like 7 tables attempting to play quarters on them – not every table can sustain a game – and I respect wood.  A no-brainer for #1, though, they even played it on the much-ballyhooed Freaks and Geeks.  Seth Rogen made $87 playing it with non-alcoholic beer.

Beer shuffleboard has potential
Beer shuffleboard also has potential

Drinking Games We Invented

5.  Three Wise Men –  Being young and foolish, when I was 20 we would just stack three bottles of tequila, rum and vodka and do a shot of the first bottle, and then chase it with shots of the next two bottles.  Repeat until someone projectile vomits.  That person lost.

4.  The “Try Some of This Warm 100 Proof Vodka Mixed With Warm Crazy Horse, You F*cking P*##y” Game –  It’s played just like it sounds.  First person to gag loses.  In its purest form, the game is played in a Home Depot parking lot.

3.  Shots Till You Die –  Not so much a game as performance art.  Gather with a bunch of wuss friends.  Have a solid drinking buddy fly into town; everyone congregate at a bar.  Order ten shots of Goldschlager.  Watch as wusses bitch and moan about having to do one shot of Goldschlager.  You and non-wuss friend each drink five shots of Goldie in rapid succession to the astonishment of others.  Immediately go have a friendly chat with a bouncer, you’ll need that air of familiarity later.

2.  Reverse Quarters –  A true gentleman’s game.  Playing quarters with BR one time on an RV headed to Florida (shout out to a fine RV – the Georgie Boy Cruise Air III), we were having a civil game of traditional quarters, but were disgusted by the negativity of hoping the other would miss – where was the camaraderie?

Even more of a chick magnet than a Murray Moped

So, we changed the dynamic of the game.  Away went the plain-Jane Boone’s Farm (Strawberry Hill) we were playing with, replaced by Turbo Boone’s (Strawberry Hill plus Popov vodka).  We started to drink only when we made a shot (we were hitting about 93% of our shots).  I woke up at 6:00 AM driving down the main drag in Daytona, with an extremely drunk Korean surfing on top of the Cruise Air.  My toenails were painted black.

1.  Proof Palate – (Name courtesy BR)  This is a pretty fun two-man game that only works in a lazy bar environment.  Tell the bartender to bring you two shots of any alcohol he wants, but not to tell you what the spirit actually is.  You each take a sip of a shot, then guess the proof of what you just tasted.  Whoever is furthest from the number has to drink both drinks.  You will learn a lot about the liqueurs that are hidden on the middle shelves playing this game.

A Very Popular Drinking Game I’ve (Sadly) Never Played

Where's the damn net?

Beer Pong – I love booze (not necessarily beer), I love ping pong and I enjoy the competitive drinking scene.  Unfortunately, I’ve only been in the proper environment a handful of times.  Probably my best chance was last year in Cozumel, when I was drinking and playing pong with Bat Rastard himself.  However, it was windy as sh-t (explaining why I got my ass kicked, it was certainly not skill level) and there was no chance of glasses not blowing off the table.

Last month, there were like 30 kids playing beer pong at SO’s brother’s graduation party.  I was all set to give it a shot when two of her brother’s friends came in and said “you must be happy to have another kid out of the house.”  That was slightly deflating, so I took off my argyle sweater and went to sleep at 9:15 PM instead.

Bat’s take:  I like beer pong, but only REAL beer pong, where players use actual ping pong paddles and a ball.  One cup of beer placed at each end of the table and players play ping pong, trying to get the ball to land in the cup at the opposite end.  The game people call beer pong (or “Beirut”) now just involves throwing a ping pong ball at a group of 6 or so cups of beer and trying to land it in them.  It’s retarded.

A Drinking Game That Sucks Because It’s Way Too Complicated – The Goal Is To Drink Not To Remember 10,000 Rules

Asshole – I still don’t know how to play it, there are cards and Presidents and Vice Presidents and sh-t.  Let’s just play Kings and not memorize a f-cking org chart.  (Not to be confused with Cornhole, a pretty fun beanbag tossing game that is quite ripe for a specific drinking variant.)

For The Elite: The Method

They look like potential Methodists

Method –  Method is not so much a drinking game as a way of life.  Do you hate that early part of the evening when you’re at a bar, everybody’s kind of sober, and you have to make boring small talk?  “How’s work?”  “Work’s good, man, thanks for asking.”  If you dislike that sh-t, then maybe you are a Method man.  (Like Batman, Method goes by either “Method” or “The Method.”  Generally scares the sh-t out of people like Batman, too.  Or, the Batman.)

The exact beginnings of method are shrouded in mystery, but legend has it that it started with a man named Milo Minderbender in a seedy bar in Key West.  Milo, supposedly disgusted with the amount of alcohol in the all-you-can-drink-for-$30 gin and tonics, ordered three of them, removed the ice, and drank the remainder as a voluminous shot.

I further refined and marketed Method, and am frequently credited with its creation.  Such attribution is clearly an honor, but is a bit misleading.  Did I switch the actual alcohol consumed from a bevy of weak G&Ts to the Long Island Iced Tea (the real deal, not from a mix)?  Yes, I did.  But the theatrical throwing of ice on the floor was there when I started nurturing the concept.  Is “Method” an awesome name for a drinking style, as well as a great way to kick off a night?  Yes, it is, and I named it.  But it’s not all about glory, it’s about potentially life-threating binge drinking.

Even more advanced methods evolved, fittingly called “Advanced Method”.  There were two different approaches to Advanced Method – one favored doing two consecutive Methods; the other, a shot of tequila or goldschlager followed by Method followed by another shot.  (The latter is also known as “Shot-Method-Shot” and is not recommended.)


(Seriously, nobody wants to win a f-cking $800 iPad?  I might declare have to cancel this contest and just rejoice in the Appley goodness of the first Jobsian product I’ve ever purchased.  Got the 32 gig 3G.)

2200 words?  No wonder this took forever.  Thanks, Bat (The Bat?), for all the help,



24 thoughts on “An Unesteemed Opinion: The Best Drinking Games

  1. Solid post. I was afraid you had left out Asshole and Beer Pong. You did leave out the “Drinking Circle” game where you pass around the bottles of Manischewitz until someone falls down. I seem to remember playing that a time or two at your old place.

  2. Given that that game led to a projectile event and an orange stain that was resistant to all known means of cleaning, i chose to leave it out. fun game though, particularly the mad dog option – but manischewitz was its purest form.

  3. Not so much a drinking game, but something along the lines of the method…if at a bar with p*ssies who won’t drink, order them a “bear fight”. Jaeger bomb followed immediately by an irish car bomb. Upon finishing the latter, it will feel like a grizzlÝ bear and polar bear are fighting in your stomach. Also note the mexican cousin of the bear fight, the “bull fight”. Add a shot of tequilla following the original bear fight.

  4. Two suggestions:

    1. We played a game in undergrad where you get 10 or so people in a circle. Everyone takes a turn chugging from a pitcher and whomever finishes it, the person BEFORE has to pay for the next one. It is extremely strategic because if you go for the gusto and can’t finish, the next guy will make you pay. Also, seeing that in undergrad one only had $20 – $25 for a strong night out, it could hit the pocketbook if you suck.

    2. Also, I witnessed a great game in 2007 at Off the Wagon on MacDougal st.. Friends of mine came into town for the weekend and decided to play beer pong with the local NYU kids. My buddy, “The Surricane”, was frustrated at the speed in which one could get a buzz given the pace of consumption and the fact that the beer of choice for beer pong is usually 0.000001% alcohol f%cking light beer. The Surricane (a first nations and labor lawyer by trade but actually looks like a 230 lb biker) grabbed two pitchers and yelled at the NYU kid, “this game sucks, let’s just chug pitches and see who gets drunk first”. After about 3 minutes the NYU kid looked like he was on the verge of crying and left.

    Put that on your list Chilly… stick that in your f%cking pipe and smoke it

  5. What about xmashangover’s drinking game where you get drunk and hook up with willie nelson’s granddaughter… then hit a “nooo york foottbahhhlgggg giaannhhtts” tail gater by 11a the next morning?

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  7. Having tried a bear fight this past weekend for the first time, I gotta recommend them. Not exactly a drinking game, but my friends in LA had definite rules.
    1) no talking.
    2) walk in, one spokesman orders bearfights for all involved.
    3) do the shots back to back, throw down $100 bill (or whatever the tab is) and walk out in silence.
    4) find another bar nearby. quickly. order anything but another round of bear fights.

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