Food & Drink

Nine Toasts To The Nine Shitstorms of 2016

You don’t need me to tell you that 2016 was a steaming pile of chimpanzee excrement because we have a president-elect who reminds us every few hours on the Twitters. But I’d like to remind you of something else: Store shelves are still stocked with plenty of alcohol. And according to Charles “I still have a little whiskey left, and therefore a chance” Bukowski, that means we’ve still got a shot at everything working out. I’m not suggesting that drinking will undo any of the many misfortunes that befell society over the past 12 months. I’m simply suggesting a pop or two might blunt the impact of looking back at the myriad of miserable memories of the giant pile of suck that was 2016. Here’s what to drink about each of 2016’s exquisite shitstorms.

Shitstorm #1: Losing famous people

When Lemmy died three days before the end of 2015, I thought, “Damn, Grim Reaper, why’d you have to go and ruin the end of a halfway decent year?” Well, little did I know, ol' GR was just getting warmed up. By the third week of January 2016, David Bowie, and Alan Rickman had shuffled off. By the end of June, we’d said goodbye to Prince, Harper Lee, Phife Dawg, Garry Shandling, Merle Haggard, George Martin and Muhammad Ali. Things slowed down in July, but ‘ol GR came back with a vengeance in August, plucking ESPN’s John Saunders, Kenny “R2-D2” Baker, and Gene Wilder from our midst. Since then it’s been Leonard Cohen, Arnold Palmer, Mrs. Brady, John Glenn, Alan Thicke and the singer for Dead or Alive (settling forever the question of whether he is, in fact, dead or alive).

Indeed, 2016, you spun us right round, baby, right round. But are we gonna let the elevator bring us down? Oh no. Let’s go! Because there’s no life I know to compare with pure imagination. And that means we can be heroes just for one day. Why? Because the heat is on. It’s on the street. Inside your head on every beat. And the beat’s so loud, deep inside. The pressure’s high just to stay alive.

Ironically, it seems Glenn Frey could not handle that pressure.

What to drink about it: Misery and Gin, the way Merle would have wanted.

Shitstorm #2: Not Losing Kanye

Just so we’re clear, I’ll spell this out. I don’t wish Kanye West died this year. I’m just saying it’d be cool if we just lost him somehow. Like if someone left him in a cab by accident or he rolled under the piano. And one day we’d all be like, hey, has anyone seen Kanye? And everyone else would say I don’t know, did anyone check the shed out back? Not there. Hmm. Did he get “exhausted” again and check into a hospital? Nope. On an award show stage somewhere screwing up someone’s big moment? Uh uh. Is he hanging out at Trump Tower? The Internet isn’t broken, so no. T. Swift concert? Tour’s over. Well, where the hell’s Kanye at then? I guess Kanye’s just lost. Phew, that’s a relief.

What to drink about it: No amount of alcohol can quell the exquisite inner pain caused by Kanye West’s persistent existence. But you may find some small comfort in a Cuba Libre Jello Shot because Jello. And rum. And Cuba finally admitted that Castro is dead.

Shitstorm #3: The Galaxy Note 7

We rely on our smartphones for lots of things. We make calls with them. We use them to surf the web and snap tons of photos we’ll never look at again. Phones are our timekeepers, radios, calendars, calculators, books, porn purveyors, navigators, and Instagram holes. But at the end of the day there is one thing we count on our phones for above all others. To not explode in our faces.

You had one job, Galaxy Note 7.

What to drink about it: An APPLE-tini. Get it? Apple? TINI? Is this thing on?

Shitstorm #4: Brexit

We thought Brangelina would last forever. Then the people of England had to go and vote Brad Pitt out of his own family. They forced him to Brexit. And that’s just wrong. Like the photo says: Brexit? Ew!

What to drink about it: Punch. The action, not the drink. Because I’m pretty angry at England right now.

Shitstorm #5: Zika

The year started off with a “dengue,” when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a dire warning about a mysterious, mosquito-born virus from South America that had the potential to turn the Rio Olympics into the sequel to Wolfgang’s Petersen’s 1995 disaster flick, Outbreak. Unfortunately, Dustin Hoffman and Morgan Freeman never materialized, Zika was mostly kept in check, and the deadly-virus-free Olympics droned on and on like Petersen’s The Neverending Story. Booooring!

What to drink about it:Coquito. Because it rhymes with mosquito. And because it’s basically tropical egg-nog, making it both seasonal and monkey-friendly. Because if Outbreak taught us anything, it’s that the key to stopping the spread of a deadly virus lies with the monkeys. And I think I know just the ones...

Shitstorm #6: 73 hojillion movie sequels and remakes

2016 will go down as the year the Hollywood studio system gave its last official crap about original ideas. This year saw the release of more sequels than there are people who cared about the originals (Now You See Me, The Conjuring, John Wick). There were unintentional horror flicks (Zoolander 2, Bad Santa 2), a bunch of stale superhero retreads, another goddamn Star Trek, a DOA remake of Ben Hur produced by the reality TV tycoon who ruined the world by making Donald Trump a YUGE TV star, a blink-and-you-missed-it Magnificent Seven do-over, Ice Cube re-cutting hair and re-riding along, more Reacher, more Bourne, more Mechanic, another goddamn Bridget Jones, did I mention Zoolander 2?, a couple of clowns named Edgar Ramirez and Luke Bracey — Luke Bracey?!!! — defiling the memory of Bodhi and Johnny Utah in a Point Break remake that’s more painful than Point Break itself, and another goddamn Big Fat Greek Wedding. The only thing missing from the recycling bin was more Spiderman. Don’t worry, though, it’s coming soon!

What to drink about it:Corpse Reviver #2, the follow-on to Corpse Reviver #1 and the only decent sequel in the cocktail kingdom. However, I advise you to steer clear of of Corpse Reviver #3, the ill-fated reunion of Grand Marnier, Blue Curaçao and Scott Baio — the first time all three appeared together since the holiday horror classic, One Horse Open Slay 9: The Unjingling.

Shitstorm #7: Facebook Live

Even before it launched its live video streaming feature in April, Facebook already acted like the neediest person you’ve ever dated as it relentlessly tried to assimilate itself into every aspect of your life. First it was all about poking. Then there was photo sharing, feeling sharing and relationship status sharing. Then it started trying to coordinate your calendar and invite you to join groups with a bunch of people you barely know.

When it started pushing slanted takes on the news from questionable sources you fantasized about other options, but Facebook felt so familiar you just kept going back. Besides, breaking up is a lot of hassle and who else did you have to watch Westworld with? So what if you can’t remember the last time you poked? So when the time came for it to want to know what you’re doing at every single freaking moment of every single day in a Truman Show-like surveillance nightmare, you were tired and it was easier than fighting.

What to drink about it: What a coincidence! Right after I typed “Appletini” for Shitstorm #3 above, an ad for apple liqueur serendipitously appeared on my Facebook page. Turns out BevMo is having a sale. If that's not divine intervention I don't know what is.  

Shitstorm #8: Harambe

We all remember that old joke: How many 3 year-old boys does it take to kill a 440-pound gorilla? Turns out the answer isn’t all that funny. Back in May, a little boy climbed into a gorilla enclosure at the Cincinnati Zoo and was grabbed by a male silverback named Harambe. Fearing for the boy’s life, officials made the decision to shoot and kill the gorilla. The shooting was condemned by animal rights activists as well as people who enjoy watching tiny humans get torn to pieces by enormous creatures. The Cincinnati Zoo has since raised the height requirement for entering the gorilla enclosure to 5’8”, which happens to be precisely how tall Kanye West is... just sayin’.

What to drink about it: A Hunk of Burning Love. It’s got bananas, It’s got peanut butter. It’s got bacon. It’s basically liquid Chunky Monkey. You can’t tell me this isn’t what Harambe is drinking with Elvis, Nixon and Danny Trejo right now in Serbia.

Shitstorm #9: Donald Trump

We’re a nation divided. There’s no doubt about it. And nothing divides us more than our nation’s incoming President. We can argue about it until we’re orange in the face, but I don’t see the point. Agree to disagree. It’s like the old saying goes: one man’s dangerous demagogue is another man’s ticket to total world domination (That other man? Vladimir Putin.)

What to drink about it: In a blender combine one bottle of Trump Vodka (with bottle), 6 ounces of Trump Natural Spring Water (with bottle), a bottle of Trump Cabernet Sauvignon (with bottle), a Trump Steak (thawed) and a photocopy of a diploma from Trump University (hang on to that original!). Blend on high for two minutes, heat and serve in a hollowed-out coconut with “The American Dream” carved into the outside. Set in the middle of your party and cry softly toward it. Then kick a few people out. If your party is not instantly “great” again, keep kicking people out until it is. When executed successfully, this plan will lead to it being a party of one.

Great.

Dan Dunn sucks. His thumb. And wonders. Check out Dan’s latest book, American Wino: A Tale of Reds, Whites and One Man’s Blues. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram