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Advanced Water Purification (with Christopher Trepky):

Beyond some holdover juvenile instinct, I am at a loss to explain the bubbling sense of joy I experience when drinking liquor in full view of police officers.

Most places in the United States have laws about drinking in public, and, unfortunately, most locales fall firmly into the “don’t you do it” camp. Now I’m no attorney (a lead-in that bodes about as well as “hold my beer…”), but in my experience there is a large gap in letter vs. spirit of the law here, which is nigh universally enforced as “don’t make it obvious, and we won’t have a problem.”

There is nothing wrong with filling an opaque plastic or metal water bottle with whatever concoction you fancy and toting it about the town and countryside. But it hardly warrants an entire column, so let’s just say we’ve covered that idea and move on to:

Potent Portables Chapter 3
Clear-ly Intoxicated: Disposable Water Bottles & You

There are some occasions when a disposable drinking vessel just works out better. For these situations, I have found the clear plastic water the most innocuous vessel from which to perpetrate your bibulous civil infractions.

Otherwise you are hunched over your counter, syringe in hand, shooting up a juice box with 50 cc of vodka, which, I mean, come on — we have to draw a line somewhere. I mean… right? Guys?

Pretty much the sole consideration here is that the beverage in the bottle must reasonably resemble water to anyone watching you drink it. No one is gonna look that closely, because why would they? But start guzzling cloudy or colored liquid from your water bottle and exactly no one will be fooled. So here’s an easy list of things that are clear and delicious:

White Rum
Blanco Tequila

White sugar (or simple syrup)
Cointreau/Triple Sec
White Creme De Menthe

Lemon Juice
Lime Juice


Mix and match, but be careful with the citrus. It’s clear enough when mixed with other stuff, but you will want to fine-strain it to get the pulp out. Obviously give whatever you make the old visual inspection before you wander out, but otherwise, if it’s clear outside the bottle, it’ll be clear inside the bottle. I personally like to make a Tom Collins, which is very fast and very refreshing on a hot day (and still tastes okay when it warms up), though be careful of the tell-tale “froosh” and rising bubbles from the seltzer when you open the bottle the first couple times.

One final consideration: ice. If I know I am likely to use this method in the coming week, I’ll fill a few water bottles about a quarter way up with water and stick them in the back of the freezer. It’s not uncommon for people to have half-ice water bottles in the summer; plus, it keeps your drink cold. Food for thought.

Have a great Memorial Day weekend out there in vacationland. If you’re using this strategy at a parade, pour a little out for the Good Guys. I’m sure they’d appreciate the sentiment. 

Drink well.


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