We all have, 'That One Drink'...
Updated: Feb 16
There was a time during my teenage years where I would drink just about anything. It’s the same for everyone in Britain.
And if you say you’re one of those ‘sensible types’ that never took glugs of everything in your parents’ liquor cabinet, then you’re probably lying.
For future reference, the trick to not getting caught is to replace every shot you take with a shot of water. But you probably knew that already.
A bottle of vodka from the petrol station was a delicacy, and there was nothing more exciting than having it hid under your bed, waiting for Friday night when you and your mates would take turns swigging it in the park. Or behind the supermarket bins. Or, if you were like me and my chums, a field full of highly flatulent cows.
What happens is you get cocky. You think this drinking malarkey is easy, and anyone who spews their guts up must be a total wuss. So, at a house party, you chug a bottle of tequila and, shock horror, proceed to spew your guts up. Then stumble round and smash things. Then pass out. Then spew up more. Then pass out again.
I’ve still not lived it down. And if I get even the slightest whiff of that Mexican fire water, I’m dragged into nightmarish Vietnam flashbacks about that awful, fuzzy night. Once you’re eighteen, everyone has that drink that you can never, ever touch again.
What’s slightly rarer is to have a drink that you know will make you feel awful, but you still drink it anyway.
This brings me to the topic of this article. The black can of death. The metallic tasting poison. The beer of suicidal maniacs.
I’m speaking, of course, about the obscurely infamous ‘Oranjeboom Black’.
Until a few years ago, I’d never even heard of the stuff. When me and my buddies saw it in the off-licence, sat on the shelf like a black and crimson obelisk, we couldn’t believe what the sign under it read.
"8.5% Alc. – 8 cans £10"
Yes, you read that correctly. Eight cans for ten inky squid.
If you’re thinking we were sensible and picked something weaker, you’re wrong. You’re so wrong it’s not even funny. Between six of us we bought forty cans.
I had a thick head in the morning, but nothing too horrendous. Nothing that made me vow I’d never drink again. In all honesty, I’d had a great night for next to nothing.
Oranjeboom Black was the new standard. It was time to introduce it to new people, so that others could share in the joy of the filthy liquid.
So, when I was invited to a night in of getting pissed with one of my oldest friends, I couldn’t help but give him news of the stuff.
We skipped to the off-licence, gleefully unaware of the disgraceful mess that awaited us later that night. We bought twenty-four cans like the stupid dickheads we are.
Before we continue, I’m assuming some of you will know about the infamous ‘Lord of the Rings Drinking Game’…
If you don’t, google it, and look at the ‘hardcore rules’ version.
All caught up? Great. You can probably see where this is going.
Throw in some absinthe and sambuca shots, and there is genuinely no way of surviving one film, let alone all three.
I remember a fuzzy blur and faces hitting the floor, a cataclysm of projectile sick out the fourth-floor window of his flat, and a toilet clogged up with socks.
My friend’s flat-mate (I think?) came in and carried my friend to his bed whilst I slumped on the carpet; face down, arse up.
I woke up in my own flat, god knows how, and didn’t get out of bed for one and a half days. Even then, I was shaky, and couldn’t even think about booze without dying inside.
It was the type of hangover where lying naked in the snow wouldn’t stop you sweating.
I found out later that Oranjeboom manufactures beer that's even stronger than the wicked stuff we drank that night.
If you want to end your own existence, there's one that measures in at a hideous 16%.
Thinking about it - it’s been a few years since then, so chances are there’s one even stronger now. Would I recommend that liquid death to anyone? Absolutely not.
Would I drink it again if he invited me round? Yes, I probably would.
I’ve actually glugged it a few times since.
Because it’s one of those drinks that you know will make you feel awful. But you – the stupid dickhead that you are – still want to drink it anyway.