Like many sites, we thought it’d be cool to do a spin on March Madness. And we had an awesome idea. Unfortunately, ranking The Wire characters was taken. So we decided we’d pick 64 drinks and put them up against one another to find which is the best alcoholic drink of 2012. And you’re going to vote to decide it. This, gentlemen, is MARCH SMASHEDNESS.
You can see the full bracket here. If you want to cast all the votes and descriptions on one page, you can click here. But the slideshow is damned pretty, FYI. Voting for the first round closes at 11:59 PM Eastern on March 8th. Get after it.
MACRO BEERS #1 Seed Bud Light vs #16 Seed Heineken
Bud Light – Here we go! BL is the #1 selling beer in America with a 19% market share. It’s available in nearly every market and bar in America and is well known for its made up “drinkability.”
Heineken – This Dutch pale lager is the 9th best seller in America with 2.4% market share. It’s the only European beer in the top 10 in US sales, and offers an appearance of class to the average beer drinker.
MACRO BEERS #4 Seed Coors Light vs #5 Seed Natural Light
Coors Light – The Rocky Mountain refreshment is the #4 seller in America with 7.8% market share. It’s well known for being severed very cold and you could most likely drink an entire case in a night.
Natural Light – Natty is the 5th most popular beer in the US, holding a respectable 4.2% market share. It’s well known as the beer of choice from broke college kids everywhere, based primarily on price.
MACRO BEERS #2 Miller Lite vs #7 Corona
Miller Lite – Claiming more flavor and only 96 calories and 3.2 carbs, Miller Lite is the 3rd best seller in America with 8.6% market share. It touts itself as the more manly choice in light beer.
Corona – This Mexican favorite will always help you find your beach. Corona’s signature taste differentiates it from most in the top 10 and locks in as the #6 seller in the US with 4% market share. Just be careful not to get lime in your eye.
MACRO BEERS #3 Budweiser vs #6 Busch
Budweiser – It doesn’t get more American (in sentiment) than a Budweiser. It’s the #2 selling beer in the US with 12% market share and is the only non-light beer in the top 5. Even without top billing, it still remains King of Beers.
Busch – This is Budweiser for broke guys and manages to hold a respectable 2.8% market share, 7th best. It’s one of the few well-selling non-light American lagers, and its price point is the major reason why.
MANLY SHOTS #1 Tequila vs #8 Alabama Slammer
Tequila Shot – This is the most bipolar shot in the drinker’s repertoire. Typically taken with salt and lime, tequila can start or finish a night that with be either amazing or awful. Almost everyone has a tequila story.
Alabama Slammer – The go-to shot for people who want a fun name and a shot they haven’t taken 50 times already this year. It’s 1/3 Southern Comfort, 1/3 Sloe Gin, 1/3 Orange Juice.
MANLY SHOTS #4 Washington Apple vs #5 Flaming Dr. Pepper
Washington Apple – Sounds like a fun shot but is actually quite strong and frequently catches girls off guard. It’s typically comprised of Crown Royal, Sour Apple Pucker, and a splash of cranberry.
Flaming Dr. Pepper – A staple of frat houses and dive bars alike, this flaming shot is a sight to behold. 3 parts Amaretto is topped with one part Bacardi 151, lit on fire, dropped in half a beer, and chugged.
MANLY SHOTS #2 Jägermeister vs #7 Three Wise Men
Jägermeister – While best know for pairing with Red Bull, a shot of Jäger by itself is a frequent order at bars. Because it tastes fine without anything else mixed, it is a fan favorite of the cost conscious.
Three Wise Men – A staple of birthday shots, this combination of Jim, Johnnie, and Jack (Beam, Walker, and Daniels) really packs a punch. It’s typically used as a punishment shot, but great for playing catch-up too.
MANLY SHOTS #3 Liquid Cocaine vs #6 Whiskey Shot
Liquid Cocaine – The perfect shot if you are trying to get destroyed at night. While there are some variations, the most consistent is Bacardi 151, Jägermeister, and Rumple Minze. It’s not for the weak willed or weak stomached.
Whiskey Shot – This is simple and straight to the point. It’s the ideal choice for guys who don’t know what to order and don’t want to waste shot glass space with any pansy liqueurs.
BASIC COCKTAILS #1 Whiskey on the Rocks vs #8 Gin and Tonic
Whiskey Rocks –Whether it’s bourbon, Irish, rye, or any other kind of whisk(e)y, this simple drink is a perfect choice at the bar due to its simplicity and its bang for the buck.
Gin and Tonic – A frequent choice for college kids who don’t know what to order. Depending on who’s mixing, the drink can either taste like heaven or a Christmas tree.
BASIC COCKTAILS #4 Rum and Coke vs #5 Vodka and Soda
Rum and Coke – This is a staple of high school parties across the country. It’s smooth and easy to drink even for someone who isn’t a big fan of hard alcohol.
Vodka and Soda – This is the drink of choice for most mid-20s women due to its low calorie content. The rise of flavored vodka has only furthered its stranglehold.
BASIC COCKTAILS #2 Whiskey and Coke vs #7 Vodka and Red Bull
Whiskey and Coke – This is the go-to cocktail for guys who want to drink whiskey but aren’t prepared to take it straight. It’s manly while still being incredibly easy to drink.
Vodka and Redbull – College campuses and late night clubs go through more Vodka Red Bulls than women do toilet paper. It’s perfect for extending a night into bad decision time.
BASIC COCKTAILS #3 Seven and Seven vs #6 Vodka on the Rocks
Seven and Seven – A country club favorite, the Seven & 7 is a great way to turn a whiskey drink into something light and refreshing. The use of 7-Up somehow allows you to drink 10 of them at once.
Vodka Rocks –For people who can’t be bothered with mixers, a glass of cold vodka is always a good choice. Throw in a lemon or lime and get down to business.
LIGHT OTHERS #1 Red Wine vs #8 Hard Cider
Red Wine – This is a favorite among women and men trying to impress their date. It’s high in alcohol compared to beer and the standard option when attending a classy party.
Hard Cider – While not a newcomer to the alcohol game, hard cider has surged in popularity the past year. It’s perfect for a non-beer drinker looking to have a marathon session.
LIGHT OTHERS #4 Bud Select vs #5 Mimosa
Bud Select – When the low carb/cal craze began, Budweiser brought Bud Select to market. It’s 4.3% ABV but only 99 calories, a whopping 11 fewer than its Bud Light counterpart.
Mimosa – The champagne and OJ combo is ideal for someone who wants to drink at breakfast without looking like a degenerate alcoholic. It’s a favorite among women, especially middle aged ones.
LIGHT OTHERS #2 Michelob Ultra vs #7 Piña Colada
Michelob Ultra – Branded as the beer for athletes, Michelob Ultra was the first big player in the low cal/carb game. It’s still manages to have 4.1% ABV even with only 95 calories and 2.6g carbs.
Piña Colada – When you think umbrella drinks, the piña colada is one of the first that comes to mind. This combo of rum, coconut cream, and pineapple juice is perfect for the beach.
LIGHT OTHERS #3 White Wine vs #6 Daiquiri
White Wine – Whether dining on seafood or just looking for something crisp, cold, and refreshing, white wine will always get the job done and even bring a touch of class to your glass.
Daiquiri – The original version features rum, lime juice, and sugar, but most people are more familiar with the strawberry daiquiri. It is a solid choice for beaches, boats, and bars alike.
CLASSIC COCKTAILS #1 Manhattan vs #8 Tom Collins
Manhattan – One of the most classic cocktails, the Manhattan is comprised of rye whiskey, sweet vermouth, and bitters. Typically served in a cocktail glass, but recently relegated to rocks glasses thanks to Sex and the City.
Tom Collins – This fancy drink is a mixture of gin, lemon juice, sugar, and soda, and was so popular that it even has its own style of glass. What bigger honor is there?
CLASSIC COCKTAILS #4 Martini vs #5 Bloody Mary
Martini – This mix of gin and vermouth with olives or a lemon twist was born in America and popularized by a fictional British spy. It’s easily one of the most famous drinks in the world.
Bloody Mary – This cocktail made from vodka, tomato juice, and the spice cabinet is a staple of brunches everywhere. It’s thought to cure hangovers or at least get your drunk again so you don’t care.
CLASSIC COCKTAILS #2 Old Fashioned vs #7 Long Island Iced Tea
Old Fashioned – As one of the oldest cocktails, the Old Fashioned has stood the test of time. Start by dissolving sugar with bitters, add whiskey and a lemon peel, then stir. It’s the pinnacle of cool.
Long Island Iced Tea – There’s no drink better suited than this for getting you drunk. There are endless varieties, but the main components are vodka, gin, tequila, and rum. What more could you need?
CLASSIC COCKTAILS #3 Margarita vs #6 Scotch Neat
Margarita – Tequila, orange-flavored liqueur, and lime juice combine to make one of the most popular drinks in the world. It’s perfect for Mexican night, a beach, or just getting trashed.
Scotch Neat – Nothing say sophistication like a few fingers of a good Scotch. It’s a tell-tale sign that you’re dealing with a modern gentleman who appreciates the finer things.
GIRLY SHOTS #1 Lemon Drop vs #8 Buttery Nipple
Lemon Drop – There are few shots more popular with ladies than the Lemon Drop. Some mix vodka, sugar and lemon juice while others just take a shot of vodka and chase by biting into a sugar coated lemon wedge. Both are effective.
Buttery Nipple – Ordered more for name than flavor, this mix of butterscotch schnapps and Bailey’s is a fan favorite of bachelorette parties and with people ordering shots for the first time.
GIRLY SHOTS #4 Red-Headed Slut vs #5 Dirty Girl Scout
Red Headed Slut – This shot of Jägermeister, peach schnapps, and cranberry juice is ordered primarily due to its awesome name. It’s certainly potent enough to get the job done though.
Dirty Girl Scout – When people are looking for an easy shot for a group to take, this combo of Bailey’s, Creme de Menthe, Kahlua, and Vodka is a solid choice, especially if you love Thin Mints.
GIRLY SHOTS #2 Kamikaze vs #7 B-52
Kamikaze – There’s no shot that harkens back to spring break more than the Kamikaze. Vodka, lime, and triple-sec, whether frozen or straight, is a perfect party shot.
B-52 – Not to be confused with the force behind “Rock Lobster,” a B-52 shot is a layered shot of Kahlúa, Baileys, and triple sec. It won’t get you drunk, but the bartender looks cool making it.
GIRLY SHOTS #3 Mind Eraser vs #6 SoCo and Lime
Mind Eraser – This layered shot of vodka, Kahlúa, and either tonic or soda doesn’t quite live up to its name, but it’s still manages to be a very popular party shot.
SoCo and Lime – This is one the most prevalent shots on college campuses, and there’s a reason for that. It’s simple, typically on special, and incredibly easy to take while still getting you drunk.
CRAFT BEERS #1 Seasonal vs #8 Malt Liquor
Seasonal – When unfairly lumped together, these make up the majority of craft beer sales. Whether it’s an Oktoberfest or a Christmas ale, they are some of the best beers on the market.
Malt Liquor – This is a staple of broke people, including college kids. Its high alcohol and terrible taste lead to extreme drunkenness, especially when Edward 40-Hands is involved.
CRAFT BEERS #4 Amber Lager vs #5 Wheat Beer
Amber Lager – These are typically malty with little bitterness with 4%-6% ABV. Popular options are Yuengling Traditional Lager, Brooklyn Lager, and Killian’s Irish Red.
Wheat Beer – These tend to be medium bodied and highly carbonated beers in the 4%-7% ABV range. Some favorites are Bell’s Oberon, Goose Island’s 312, and Three Floyd’s Gumballhead.
CRAFT BEERS #2 Pale Ale vs #7 Amber Ale
Pale Ale – These clean and hoppy beers are the 3rd most popular in the US behind seasonals and IPAs. Popular options are Sierra Nevada Pale Ale are Stone Brewing Pale Ale.
Amber Ale – These 4th most popular beers are well balanced and sometime fruity. Prime examples are Fat Tire, Stone Levitation, and Bell’s Amber Ale.
CRAFT BEERS #3 IPA vs #6 Belgian Strong Pale Ale
IPA – This is the most popular single style in recent years in the US. They have huge flavor, are highly hopped, and are fairly bitter. Some of the most popular are Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA, Bell’s Two Hearted Ale.
Belgian Strong Pale Ale – These complex and flavorful beers have 7%-12% ABV’s making them very popular with hardcore beer drinkers. Good examples are Duvel, Delirium Tremens, and Goose Island’s Matilda.
TRASHED OTHERS #1 Mojito vs #8 Black and Tan
Mojito – With white rum, sugar, lime juice, soda, and muddled mint, the Mojito is one of the most popular cocktails. It was the favorite drink of Ernest Hemingway, and there’s no better endorsement than that.
Black & Tan – This combination of Bass and Guinness is a staple of many beer bars. It became so popular that some breweries even started producing their own. Consumer power!
TRASHED OTHERS #4 Jello Shot vs #8 Brandy Neat
Jello Shot – Whether you’re in high school or celebrating St. Pat’s as an adult, jello shots always kick things up a notch. They’re fun and if made well, can still be quite strong. They’re perfect for parties.
Brandy Neat – This potent spirit made from distilling wine is normally an after dinner drink. While the Ladies Man didn’t invent it, he certainly popularized it for 20-somethings.
TRASHED OTHERS #2 Irish Coffee vs #7 Hot Toddy
Irish Coffee – Many think it’s just Irish whiskey and coffee, but an Irish Coffee also contains brown sugar and is topped with thick cream. With its caffeine and alcohol combo, you could say it’s the predecessor to the Vodka and Redbull.
Hot Toddy – While the recipes vary, the main components of this winter classic are whiskey, honey, lemon juice, tea, and hot water. It’s perfect for cold weather, and has even been used to cure colds.
TRASHED OTHERS #3 Irish Car Bomb vs #6 Absinthe
Irish Car Bomb – While clearly offensive to the Irish, this beer cocktail is a great way to get hammered. Drop a shot of Jameson and Bailey’s into a glass of Guinness and chug away.
Absinthe – The Green Fairy is easily the holy grail of hammered. The good stuff uses wormwood and offers hallucinogenic affects, but to be legal in the U.S. that awesome aspect had to be removed.
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