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Tomorrow, October 4, is National Vodka Day. For tens of adult beverage lovers across this great nation it’s a day to celebrate a popular spirit, commemorate its history, and get hella wasted on that blandest of white spirits, mother vodka. Allow us to examine this special day.

October 4 is National Vodka Day. For tens of adult beverage lovers across this great nation it’s a day to celebrate a popular spirit, commemorate its history and get hella wasted on that blandest of white spirits.

National Vodka Day’s roots can be traced back to 2009, when someone who was clearly being paid too much by a liquor industry consortium took it upon themselves to invent it. To make it official, another (probably less-well-compensated) person created a just-this-side-of-parody website. To be fair, it’s more professional-looking than the sites for National Taco Day (also this Friday), National Chicken Wing Day (July 29) and National Grab Some Nuts Day (August 3). Note: do not confuse that last one with National Scratch Your Nuts Day, which is…let me just check my calendar… today! And tomorrow. I celebrated yesterday, too. What can I say, I’m full of the Scratch Your Nuts spirit!

After several hours of research, I have come to the conclusion that nobody knows who’s responsible for establishing National Vodka Day.

Actually, that’s not true. I must confess, I couldn’t get myself to give half a piece of dried out sheepshit about who started it. And to be frank, the lion’s share of my research came out of a bottle (though I did put many hours into it). But as a long-time connoisseur of terrible, terrible things, I’ll gladly raise a toast to the trailblazing sonofabitch that started NVD, as well as the sad, sad employee of that had to build its website. And you know what? Let’s give the taco day guy some too. Nice job, taco guy! I’m going to have both of you over when National Bullshit Holiday Day rolls around (it’s traditionally celebrated the seventh Tuesday of Craptember).

Now, some of you might be wondering, “Why have a National Vodka Day in the first place?” or “What’s the significance of October 4?” or “Does the fact that I’m thinking about calling in sick to work so I can celebrate a fake holiday mean that I’m an alcoholic?”

Well stop with all your wondering! It’s only going to get in the way of the fun. Sure it’s ridiculous to have a national holiday to celebrate a distilled spirit, especially one that wasn’t even invented here. And yes, fine, according to the National Vodka Day website (which I now use as my browser’s default), the date was chosen at random. I think that’s very festive. But let me make one thing perfectly clear: skipping work on October 4 so you can drink Smirnoff for 16 hours straight doesn’t mean you’re an alcoholic, it just means you really like tacos. At least, that’s what any halfway resourceful alcoholic is telling himself and his concerned loved ones.

The point is, there is absolutely no point to National Vodka Day other than it being another excuse to drink, like Cinco de Mayo, Arbor Day and Yom Kippur. And when an excuse to drink presents itself, you run with it. In fact, I propose we add a National Drunk People Running Day to the calendar. We’ve needed one ever since they banned alcohol at Bay To Breakers.

But enough justifications. The real question you should be asking is what type of vodka should you celebrate National Taco Day with. And while it might make sense to go with the standby top-shelf brands (Absolut, Stoli, Grey Goose, Ketel One and their ilk), you know what would really class up those tacos? Flavored vodkas. Luckily the super-classy vodka industry has introduced some real doozies in recent years.

Take Alaska Distillery’s Smoked Salmon Flavored Vodka, for instance. It was designed to be used in Bloody Marys, but don’t let that stop you. Let the beguiling flavor and aroma of fish into your life by drinking it neat. Just promise me you won’t make a Moscow Mule or Greyhound with it. I’d say you could pour it over a bagel, but just try explaining that to your concerned loved ones. It’s not even Yom Kippur!

Of course if you want fish-infused vodka, you could always make your own. Especially if you’ve got one of these bad boys handy…

But fish vodka is flavored with something edible. What if you want to drink something that you should, under no circumstances, ever swallow? My friends, I have you covered. I recently received a sample bottle of Ivanabitch vodka. Ivanabitch is a tobacco-flavored vodka. The only reason I can think that someone would make such a thing is because vodka doesn’t kill you quickly enough. In the name of science (and in honor of Ivanabitch’s glorious name) I tried a shot of this marvelous concoction and nearly hurled.

Now you may have seen columnists use the term “nearly hurled” before as colorful hyperbole. This literary device indicates that something was disgusting, but the reader is aware that the writer was never actually on the verge of heaving the contents of his stomach across the room.

Not this time, friends. When I say I nearly hurled after downing a shot of Ivanabitch, that is a precise, 100% literal description. My body knew I was doing something deeply wrong to it and immediately rebelled. In the end, though, the sensible part of me was overruled by the Irish part of me and my cookies remained untossed. Still, I should make one thing extremely clear if it wasn’t already:


Now some of you may be asking yourselves, “Dan, when are you going to talk about caramel and black currant and root beer flavored vodka? We used to love drinking those at the highlighter mixers at Theta Phi Gamma.” And to you I say no. These “fun” vodkas are where I draw the line. Vodka has been bullying the entire alcohol market for decades now. It’s bad enough that you have to specify that you want gin in a martini these day. And beer sales have been declining in recent years as vodka’s fortunes continue to rise. But it must end here. Because for centuries these “fun” flavors could only be found in schnapps. Poor little schnapps with its sad bottom-shelf section and dusty bottles and terrible hangovers.

First vodka came for gin and I said nothing. Then vodka came for beer and I said nothing. Well I’ll be good and goddamned if I’m not going to stick up for schnapps in their hour of need.

Vodka is not supposed to be fun. Vodka was invented as a way of grimly making yourself as intoxicated as possible. Ask any 19th century Russian peasant. You want “fun”*? Go see schnapps.

October 16 is National Liqueur Day, people. Get on down to your local liquor purveyor and ask him for his finest bottle of DeKuyper Buttershots. It tastes like two butterscotches are fucking in your mouth. And while you’re there stock up on Banana, Watermelon, Bubblegum and Whipped Cream Schnapps.

Because with so many flavored spirits that sound as though they were made by oompa loompas and belong in juice boxes, it’s only a matter of time before some moron invents National Drink Like A Third Grader Day. Oh, look, I just did. Craptember 3rd- see you on the playground!

(*note: these ironic quotation marks are 100% intentional)

Hear actors Jeremy Luke (Don Jon), Louis Lombardi (The Sopranos, 24) and Oliver Cooper (Runner Runner) celebrate National Vodka Day on the latest Happy Hour with Zane & Dunn.

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