Pirates of the Lister-ean

Two years ago, the Gentleman Caller and I went on a seven-day Carnival cruise with two friends. We spent months beforehand planning it–what to pack, what to see and do, what to eat, and most importantly, how to sneak some alcohol onboard. Bags are x-rayed for booze upon entry, and drinks on the boat cost around $7 or $8 each. Those blended, fruity, cocktails go down a little too easy for us Poors; it’s a delicious, delicious scam. What to do?

Someone (Cruise Companion Aaron maybe?) had a stroke of genius when we got to Miami– buy a few bottles of mouthwash, fill them with vodka or rum, and dye them with food coloring. And, mazel tov, handshakes all around! Secret, festively colored mixers! The boozewash appeared in our rooms the next morning with the rest of our luggage without incident, but it was when we made our first round of drinks that the whole thing fell apart.

Approximately 98% of that distinctive Listerine musk had soaked into the plastic bottle and then back out into its new contents overnight. We had effectively made our own very expensive mouthwash. Trying to mask the flavor was useless– lemonade, Coke, even tomato juice (which can eliminate the smell of skunk) all came up short against The Mint. It was foul, and we were stone cold sober.

You win the battle, Carnival. But you will lose the war.

This past May, we booked another cruise and bought three more bottles of Listerine. There were six of us this time, and we were ready. We had seven months to slowly break the spirits of those bottles, soaking them for weeks at a time with soap, baking soda, you name it. And when the big day came, rather than the vile stench of The Mint, we smelled naught but sweet, sweet victory. And, you know, vodka.

Naturally, we were usually too busy stuffing our faces at the buffet and lounging in the sun to bother with the fruits of our labor. But we were comforted in the knowledge that it was there. Just in case of Cocktail Emergency.

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