As any good college student that has searched the couch cushions for a handful of change knows, boozing on an extreme budget can be a risky proposition. To help you decide how to spend that meager pile of pennies, we've scraped the bottom of the barrel to review some of the cheapest, most face-planting, getcha drunk wines on the market. First up, the best-known and most mild-mannered of our wine flight: Boone's Farm.
The Vintage: Boone's Farm Blue Hawaiian, ABV 4%
Ah, Boone's Farm, the fruity wine spritzer responsible for more underage indiscretions and sugar-coated, blistering first hangovers than any other alcohol on the market. It's labeled as a "malt beverage" but is a product of E & J Gallo Winery, the same folks that have produced other fine ghetto wines like Night Train Express and Thunderbird. Boone's is practically a rite of passage for high school and college kids across the nation. It's cheap, available just about anywhere, and is the syrupy sweet alternative to flat keg party beer or that dusty bottle of Campari at the back of your mom's liquor cabinet.
Now, there's no way to look dignified pounding a bottle of Boone's, but the Blue Hawaiian flavor could make even the manliest of meat heads look downright prissy. It's an impressive double whammy of a drink, bringing the shame of Boone's to an electric blue tropical cocktail and watering it down to glorified coconut kool-aid that will get your ninety pound date drunk.
(See, swirl, sniff, sip, and savor this bounty after the jump)
Appearance: The opaque, electric blue intensity of this vintage can only be achieved through a heavy hand with the Blue No. 1 dye and a toddler's paint-by-number appreciation of the tropics. Colors this vibrant in nature are generally reserved to warn passing predators that a critter is a sack of poisonous walking death. Self-preservation had me temporarily second guessing the sanity of consuming something that looked like straight Windex, but for the sake of pseudo-science, I pressed on.
Bouquet: After cracking open the bottle, the aroma of coconut sunscreen and sickly sweet decay instantly transported me to Nana's retirement community down in Boca. Or considering the unintended age of some consumers, summertime memories of sunscreen coated slip 'n' slides may be more apt. The curdled cream of coconut scent was complimented by what smelled like toasted marshmallow, although the fumes might have been impairing my judgment by this point.
Body: Mango, pineapple, papaya and orange were displayed prominently on the bottle, but the flavor of cheap tanning oil dominated the profile to the point where I was surprised that an oil slick of SPF 4 hadn't coated my mouth. After getting past the cheap coconut flavor, hints of pineapple and citrus notes were present. And the fizzy bubbles made my mouth sparkle! ZOMG! *Lulz!*
Finish: It may have been chemicals tricking my brain at this point, but for a drink with as much sugar in it, the finish was surprisingly bitter and a tinge metallic. Think canned fruit cocktail sprinkled with shredded coconut and accented by a splash of cheap blue curacao. Sweet ambrosia it was not.
Pairs with: Any grease-steeped, deep-fried Mexican combo obtained from one of the many fine 24-hour 'Bertos open at three in the morning. Burritos, quesadillas, tacos, doesn't really matter. Tortilla the size of your cabeza plus enough meat and melted cheese to make your arteries shutter on first bite is the perfect drunk fodder for soaking up Boone's. Deep fried Jack in the Box tacos will do in a pinch.
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Lasting impressions: Boone's Blue Hawaiian is the personification of the Coppertone baby all grown up and slumming it down in Rocky Point at wet t-shirt contests. Spring break! WHOO! Not too far off an assessment considering its popularity on college campuses across the nation. If you routinely belly up to an actual bar and order a cocktail of more than 4% ABV, you probably won't appreciate the craftsmanship that went into producing this fine vintage. If this is your first alcoholic rodeo though, it's likely that Boone's will get you lifted.
The morning after drinking this foul concoction, I woke up bright and early, hangover free and with full memory of a riveting evening spent watching television. It therefore ranks very low on the scale of drunkenness to dollars, and seeing how it tastes like sugary coconut funk, it should most definitely be avoided.