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SABOTEUR's avatar

What is the appeal of consuming alcoholic beverages?

Asked by SABOTEUR (14377points) 2 months ago

I’m listening to an audiobook in which the main character describes the comfort of drinking 2 glasses of whiskey on a cold day.

I recently went on a cruise in which a free $300.00 bar tab was used as incentive to book. There are endless cruise discussions regarding the pro’s and cons of unlimited (alcoholic) drink packages.

To me, drinking anything stronger than beer is like drinking fire and battery acid.

What am I missing?

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33 Answers

seawulf575's avatar

Something like whiskey on a cold day I kinda understand. It sends a warmth to your belly when it goes down. I’m not a brown liquor man myself, but have had it before.

The cruises offer that drink package as an option. If you don’t have it you will pay by the drink. That usually runs anywhere from $6 – $10 per drink. If you intend to drink all day every day it’s a good deal. But in my calculations you have to drink something like 6 or 7 drinks per day to make it pay off.

As for drinking something stronger than beer, it’s a matter of what you are drinking. Most people aren’t doing shots. They are drinking mixed drinks, wine, etc. As the drinks are made, the alcohol being used gets heavily diluted, usually resulting in a drink that is about 5% alcohol. There are some obvious exceptions. A Long Island Iced Tea for example has vodka, rum, gin, tequila, and triple sec in it. LOT of alcohol. But none of those are really overpowering flavors. Add some sweet and sour and some coke and it tastes like iced tea. Drinking straight liquor often is very impactful…fire and battery acid. Mixed drinks hide that effect.

gondwanalon's avatar

Good question. Alcohol is a powerful drug. I never understood why people like to drink beer and wine or other high alcohol drinks. It all is disgusting to me. It all ruins so many lives.

Blackwater_Park's avatar

Aside from the effects of alcohol, whiskey and scotch is an acquired taste. The taste of whiskey is very enjoyable to me. I have never understood the desire to do “shots” like throwing it back all at once. I don’t find any enjoyment from other spirits like vodka. It may take me half an hour to drink one shot of Whiskey served neat because I am taking tiny sips and savoring it. It’s not something I do often anymore because alcohol is, well, alcohol. Any amount is not good for you. Now I’m pushing 50, bad things like pizza, ice cream and whiskey have to go.

LuckyGuy's avatar

@SABOTEUR I am with you! I host a 3–4 day prostate cancer support group every year. One of the highlights is a scotch tasting with about 15 different scotchs. The bottles range in age from 4 years to over 50 years and run to more than $1000 per bottle. It’s all free and available – donated by collectors and liquor stores that have a connection. The guys love it! Some drink like it is going to be their last time. Sadly, often it is.

From the lowest grade to the highest, single malt vs. double, oaked vs steel, 8 yr vs 12 year vs 50, etc., it all tastes like fire to me. I participated a few times over the years to be sociable but now I skip it and work on the next activity.
A glass of sweet Moscato does taste good to me – especially with cheese.and crackers.

Entropy's avatar

I’m really not an alcohol guy, but the cold weather thing is actually a side effect of alcohol. It tends to let blood flow more closer to the skin which makes you feel warmer…but also means that if you’re ACTUALLY freezing, you’re losing body heat even faster and it’s the worst thing you could do. But it can feel good.

I personally don’t like any alcohols, and the only way I enjoy them is if they’re mixed with enough other stuff that I’m really not consuming liquor at all. It’s like shrimp or tortilla chips. Shrimp is a delivery device for getting cocktail sauce into your mouth. Tortilla chips (the plain ones) are a salsa delivery device. With mixed drinks, I’m really there for the ‘other stuff’, not the alcohol.

janbb's avatar

Not a drinker much at all. I’ll have a glass of wine if out to a nice dinner and a beer and a burger on occasion. I do like sweet, fruity cocktails but I hardly ever have one and as for hard liquor neat – feh!

MrGrimm888's avatar

Alcohol is a powerful, destructive drug.

The appeal is the “high.”

Open bar = free drugs…

JLeslie's avatar

I think for some people the altered state they achieve with alcohol feels really good to them. Other people don’t enjoy it or are neutral.

Addicted people feel relief and back to normal if they are in a state of withdrawal, or even just getting low in their blood alcohol content.

Scotch served at room temperature on a cold day would likely warm the body temporarily. As a psychological habit (not physical) or even just as a tradition, it might be reminiscent of a specific time with friends or family and so the connection is meaningful. It’s no different than hot chocolate, or coffee with Baileys.

Beer in the US is usually served cold and people drink it like Coca-cola. Scotch is often room temp, but can be served on the rocks. You can’t really compare beer and scotch in terms of the tactile experience, but regarding getting inebriated it’s the same if the same amount of alcohol is consumed. Not the same volume of liquid, but the same amount of alcohol.

There is an episode of West Wing where Leo describes how much he loved the sound of the ice, the feel of the glass. Here’s a link with him talking about it in the first few seconds. It wasn’t just feeding his physical addiction to alcohol, it was the entire ritual.

SABOTEUR's avatar

@JLeslie re: It wasn’t just feeding his physical addiction to alcohol, it was the entire ritual.

That makes sense to me. Those of us who have successfully used vapes to ween ourselves from nicotine dependency attribute the familiar hand-to-mouth ritual of imbibing nicotine via tobacco cigarettes being effectively mimicked via electronic cigarettes (now called “vapes”).

You provided clarity to my understanding regarding the appeal of alcohol. Last year I had the misfortune of needing to be away from home after taking a cbd gummy. I did not like the feeling of not being in complete control of my actions. Apparently alcohol allows some people to relax and be uninhibited provided they develop a taste for alcoholic beverages, much like people develop a taste for burning tobacco. I guess my dislike for not being in complete control of my actions denies me the opportunity to appreciate the appeal of alcohol.

Blackwater_Park's avatar

@SABOTEUR You have to get drunk for that to happen. You don’t have to get drunk at all to appreciate a good drink. I will strongly say, if you have an addictive personality it is best to stay away.

SABOTEUR's avatar

@Blackwater_Park Well what constitutes a “good drink”?

JLeslie's avatar

Alcohol inhibits the inhibitors in the brain.

So, for some people who tend to be very self conscious or worried about consequences and judgment from others feel freer.

Some people use it to relax. Some to avoid emotions. Others to feel buzzed. It varies from person to person.

Some people drink because they think that’s what all adults do, because that’s shat they were surrounded by their entire life and they developed a taste for it. They think they are unaffected, but I beg to differ.

Like most physical addictions, eventually you might need it to be “normal.” I have known surgeons who need to drink to make sure they are stead! Scary shit. Sometimes patients are prescribed alcohol to make sure they don’t crash into withdrawal too quickly while being treated for an illness.

The dad of a close friend of mine died in the hospital and his last few days he had uncontrollable seizures. I wonder if that was from withdrawal. I don’t remember why he originally entered the hospital.

Blackwater_Park's avatar

@SABOTEUR for my taste, a good shot up to “two-fingers” of bourbon slowly sipped over the course of 30min-60min. You don’t feel it, but you sit back, relax and enjoy it.

LifeQuestioner's avatar

I don’t drink it all now because of my heart. And even before that all developed, I was never a big drinker. But I really liked to get a good margarita when I was having Mexican food at a restaurant. I liked the taste and it really seemed to go along with the food. Other than that, it does give you a warm feeling inside, and it kind of helps you chill I guess, but I never really was that into drinking even back when I could.

YARNLADY's avatar

For many years I loved the taste of whiskey, rum, and scotch, plus the light headed, high I felt. Then, about 5 years ago, I lost that taste and feeling and stopped drinking “hard” liquor. I have always liked wine, and I still do.

jca2's avatar

For many, alcohol is helpful in social situations because it loosens people up who may otherwise be nervous when having to chat at a party or dinner.

I’m not a big drinker at all but if I am at a social occasion, I will say yes to a glass of wine and then only drink a few sips of it. I hate beer. Hard liquor only in a mixed drink, only a few times a year.

I heard that on a cruise where you have “free” drinks, they still charge a service charge of a few dollars per drink, for any drink other than in the dining room or restaurant on board. I read an article that said that passengers are often surprised to be hit with a bill of several hundred dollars at the end of the cruise, not realizing that every time they ordered a drink poolside, on a deck, or at a club or anywhere else on the boat other than the restaurants, they had to pay a service fee for it.

JLeslie's avatar

@jca2 I didn’t know that about the cruises. I wonder if that includes charging a service fee for soft drinks too.

jca2's avatar

@JLeslie yes because they’re included in the “free drinks.”

KNOWITALL's avatar

I only drink socially because I tend to be shy or introverted sometimes, and it helps me be more outgoing. Other than that I see no appeal.

JLeslie's avatar

@jca2 If you get $500 free drinks with your cruise booking are you charged the fee on the $500 or only what you use? So, lets say you only order $300 worth of drinks.

jca2's avatar

That I don’t know, but I just read that they put 20% auto service charge on each drink, too, so even with free drinks, you’re paying the tip (the 20%) plus the fee.

I’m sure each cruise line has the “small print” details which nobody probably reads but they sign.

I was trying to find the article I read about it, which I believe was in the NY Times, but there’s so much about cruises and drinks and tips, which, it wasn’t considered a tip, it was a fee, but too much to sort through to find it and link it.

zenvelo's avatar

I am a recovering alcoholic. My experience is a bit different.

To quote from the book Alcoholics Anonymous: “For most normal folks, drinking means conviviality, companionship and colorful imagination. It means release from care, boredom and worry. It is joyous intimacy with friends and a feeling that life is good”

That is how I felt with my first drink at age 12, and many many times after that. But it was also what I chased until I got sober at age 30. And often, especially if I was going to a party or around a group of people, I would try to dial in my experience somewhere between a half a drink and one and a half drinks. But then I would want to keep that buzz going and end up completely drunk.

Blackberry's avatar

If you take small sips of certain alcohol after smelling it to get the aromatics involved, it can be very tasty.

Also….some people just have a hard time dealing with the fact that were literally monkeys in cages here to serve other rich monkeys.

JLeslie's avatar

@jca2 I had googled also, but too much info and I didn’t read anything that answered the specific Q I asked you. Varies by cruise line too.

jca2's avatar

@JLeslie I’m guessing you can call Customer Service for a specific cruise line and ask them.

Blackberry's avatar

A good example would be making a Gin and Tonic with local Tonic water from your local distillery with local Gin and lime infused ice cubes…..

Versus using bottom shelf cheap gin and tonic water from the grocery store.

Making a cocktail is just like cooking.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@zenvelo That’s how many of my friends are, good intentions but goes to far. Its really sad seeong middle-aged friends still fighting that demon, although they don’t seem to fight it much tbh. I’m really proud of you.

SABOTEUR's avatar

@jca2 When I cruised recently with Virgin Voyages gratuities were included in the price of the cruise, so there was no upcharge or tax on alcoholic beverages:

All-Inclusive Pricing

Virgin Voyages’ cruise fares offer one of the most inclusive options in the premium category.

The base fares have even dropped considerably in pricing since bookings opened. Thus, a cruise on Scarlet Lady is now even a better value.

All cruise fares on Virgin Voyages include basic beverages, gratuities, WiFi, specialty dining, and more.

Complimentary basic beverages include still and sparkling water, non-pressed juices, soda, tea, and drip coffee.

You might want to bring a refillable thermos, as there is no bottled water available on the ship. Instead, there are water refill stations throughout the ship.

Cruise fares also include all gratuities, even on services such as spa treatments. This means that there will be NO additional service charges or crew tips added to your onboard account.

There will also be no 18% gratuity added to alcoholic beverages purchased.

Other inclusions that are normally an up-charge on a cruise are basic WiFi for all passengers, as well as group fitness classes. Dining in all venues is also part of the cruise fare.

However, there is a charge to up-grade to streaming WiFi or for certain premium menu items at the onboard restaurants.

jca2's avatar

@SABOTEUR I always say I would prefer to fly or cruise on Virgin. I’ve no interest in cruising but when flying, I would look to book on Virgin first.

JLeslie's avatar

@SABOTEUR Friends of mine just booked a Virgin cruise. Sounds so fun. I wish my husband could go. We are too concerned the wifi/internet won’t work well enough for him to get some work done, it’s a transatlantic cruise. Did you use the internet?

jca2's avatar

@JLeslie He can’t take a week off? Or two weeks off?

JLeslie's avatar

@jca2 It would be more than two weeks. If I did a transatlantic I would want a week in Europe. I think the cruise is 10 days, it’s not just crossing.

He has unlimited vacation, but being gone a very long time isn’t probably a good idea.

SABOTEUR's avatar

@JLeslie My wife and I used the free wi-fi to look at Facebook. Previous passengers have used the paid wi-fi option which is supposedly faster to work while onboard but I can’t vouch for it.

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