Sloshed: How to Drink Your Way Through the Entirety of Saint Patrick’s Day

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Whatever you do, avoid the Shamrock Shakes. Photo: Everett Collection

It's unclear when, exactly, people decided the best way to honor Saint Patrick's contributions to Irish culture was to binge-drink like an Arizona State frat brother, but that's what happened. And so, it's a holiday usually avoided by the gentleman drinker. This is a shame. There is a proper time and a place for everything, and Saint Patrick's Day is as good a time as any to drink a shit ton of green beer and blended whiskey. The trick is knowing how to do it the right way.

If done properly, you'll be able to hit the bars as soon as they open and maintain a steady buzz right up until last call. (Or at least until midnight.) Think of it like marathon drinking: You'll be willing yourself to complete a task of endurance, and your body will protest the whole way through. But with the proper training, forethought, and mental toughness, you'll be able to make it through in one piece. Here now, the official Sloshed Saint Patrick's Day Drinking Schedule and Pacing Program.

First, ask yourself this question:

Will Your Body Be Able to Handle This?
Have you been actively drinking for five-plus years? Like any endurance sport, the key to surviving is knowing how your body will react to the extended hardships it will be forced to undergo. Seasoned drinkers will know their bodies best.

Is your calendar free for a couple of days after Saint Patrick's Day? You sort of get a pass this year because Saint Paddy's falls on a Saturday, but trust me when I say you'll still be feeling it a little on Monday.

Do you want it? We need your full commitment here. Things are going to get pretty bleak around hour eleven.

Are you Irish? On second thought, forget this last one. Doesn't matter.

Pre-Patrick Prep
This program is developed for people who have consumed alcohol nearly every day in the past two months, or who have at least had one drink before noon in that same time frame. If this doesn't sound like you, better luck next year.

For everyone else, you'll want to establish your pace before the big day. A couple days beforehand (today, for example), buy some Irish beer and a bottle of Irish whiskey — go for a blend; the nuances of single-malts will be lost after you drink, like, three of them — and get to work. Knock back a shot of whiskey, and chase it with a beer. Wait fifteen minutes. If you're drunk, tap out now. If you're happy and wanting to break into a jig, then your Saint Patrick's Pace per Hour (SPP/H) is one drink. If you feel nothing, have another shot and another beer and wait another fifteen minutes. Repeat until you're ready for that jig. Count how many drinks it takes, then divide that number by two. That's your SPP/H.

Make a note to measure this accurately. Saint Patrick's Day is a distance event, not a sprint. Don't worry about how much you can drink. Focus instead on finishing the whole day under your own steam, with all your limbs intact. There is pride in crossing the finish line.

Your Saint Patrick's Day Itinerary
Let's do this.

6:00 a.m.: Get up, shower, brush your teeth. The bars will be open soon and you will be there. Eat a PowerBar and drink, like, a gallon of water. This is the most responsible thing you will do all day.

6:45 a.m.: Call your drinking buddy and check in. You did arrange to have a drinking buddy, right? You need friends now because your brain is probably telling you that being up this early just so you can start drinking is a dumb-ass idea, and like all dumb-ass ideas, you need your buddies for encouragement.

7:30 a.m.: You should be on a bar stool by now. Order a whiskey, Irish. Toast your competition and slug it down. Visualize outlasting them.

7:32 a.m.: Time for a beer back. Order a stout. Guinness is fine; Murphy's is better. Consult your SPP/H while you can still see straight and drink accordingly for the next two hours.

9:30 a.m.: Breakfast! Find a diner, or a pub that serves food. Do not drink booze at breakfast. Others will mock you or say it is essential to winning this race. Ignore them. Focus on hydrating and eating protein. You are the tortoise. You are the tortoise.

11:00 a.m.: Pre-parade refueling. First: Duck into a bar and do a shot. Second: Find a liquor store and buy as big a bottle of whiskey as you need to fill your flask and your buddies' flasks. (Having your own flask is mandatory.) Then figure out where you're going to watch the parade. (Watching the parade is also mandatory.)

12:01 p.m. Congratulations! You've made it through the morning! Only twelve more hours to go! Take a celebratory nip from the flask.

1:00 p.m.: Parade whiskey-sipping for the next couple hours. Drink enough to keep yourself from giving up, but not so much that your body gives up on you. One technique is to focus on the parade itself — use the distraction to regulate your intake. Look! A marching band!

3:00 p.m.: I'm sorry, I shouldn't have yelled about the marching band earlier. It's all love, bro. Seriously. Hey, did you bring any snacks? You're probably super-hungry. Find an out-of-the-way place and order as much food as you can handle. Drink one beer while you're at it, but lay off the whiskey for a bit.

4:15 p.m.: Throw up.

4:17 p.m.: Feels so much better, right?

4:18 p.m.: Find a convenience store. Drink two Vitamin Waters and eat a banana. A breath mint wouldn't kill you, either.

5:00 p.m.: Track down your friends. They will inevitably be at a bar called Paddy O'Kellerhan's. This bar will be crowded.

5:30 p.m.: Time for another shot, followed by a black-and-tan. Drink that fast, and order a lager. Nurse that one.

6:00 p.m.: Keep an eye on your friends, especially the one over in the corner that's wearing the green Dr. Seuss hat and pretending to be a leprechaun.

6:30 p.m.: Help break up the fight between your leprechaun friend and the real-deal Irish dude who told him to knock it off. Then find another bar, but put the leprechaun in a cab home. You don't need that kind of trouble.

6:50 p.m.: At this point, there will be a strong temptation to drink something other than straight beer or whiskey, possibly something that begins with a car and ends with a bomb. DO NOT DO THIS. The addition of Baileys this late in the game will end you. Get a Guinness.

7:30 p.m.: Throw up again.

7:35 p.m.: Feels good every time, right? Re-commence drinking; try to remember what your SPP/H is. Feed off the energy of the other revelers. If you need a jolt, find a jukebox and play something good. "Welcome to the Jungle" is never a bad choice.

10:20 p.m.: Time for some more food. If the bar has it, great. If not, find a food stand or somewhere else quick. Anything longer than fifteen minutes and you'll crash.

10:40 p.m.: Back at the bar. You're in the home stretch now, so open the throttle. Get one bottle of whiskey and enough shot glasses for everyone who's still standing. If you're going down now, you're all going down together.

11:00 p.m.: Sit in a circle and keep refilling those shot glasses. Sip, don't shoot. Tell stories that start with, "This guy right here … lemme tell you about this guy right here … "

12:15 a.m.: Check out the watch. You made it. Finish whatever's in front of you, nothing more. Stand up, leave under your own strength. Walk home if you can, cab it if you can't.

12:45 a.m.: Drink as much water as you can handle before you go to bed. It won't do too much good, but it won't hurt, either. Glory and sleep will be your spoils tonight. Happy Saint Patrick's Day, champion.