Your Guide to Gothic Drinking
As Houston Press's resident goth, back-cracker, and hydroponist, we remain the expert on all things dark and spooky. Also, as a writer we can assure you that we know a thing or three about drinking. They say that the answer isn't in the bottom of a bottle, but we have a sneaking suspicion that that little bon meh comes from people who just weren't looking hard enough.
Each sub-culture has its own particular drinking patterns. The hipsters swig PBR, the rockabilly set has their martinis, and the Mormons eat a salad consisting of carrots and raisins because their God is weird. Should you find yourself out on the town with the goths, or perhaps at a house party, here's what you can expect when it comes to alcoholic selection.
All goths like their wine, and even though we know it's cliché, red is vastly preferred over white, though a dry white is rarely turned down. Champagne is almost universally avoided since as a rule goths are not a bubbly lot.
Few goths we know are out and out wine freaks, and you're not likely to ever see two of us arguing over vintages. Most are content with grocery store stock in the $10 to $20 a bottle range, and box wine is perfectly acceptable, or even preferred by the more frugal goths. Drinking cheap is always better than looking cheap. Merlot is more popular than Cabernet when entertaining at home, with Malbec and Pinot Noir being the more likely dinner choices.
No goth drinks wine at a bar unless they have good wine glasses, as presentation is as important as drinkability. Rummage through any goth's cupboard, and you'll find a variety of decorative glasses and goblets with spider web or skull motifs.
Under no circumstances should you ever buy Halloween-themed wine like Vampire or Werewolf. That shit is undrinkable, and we fall for it every year.
On the opposite side of the spectrum in terms haughtiness, goths are in general very picky when it comes to beer. Most will look down their nose at American beers. Thick German brews that almost require chewing are the draft of choice. Guinness is also popular.
That said, beer is a somewhat seasonal drink down here in the south. When you're dressed head to toe in leather and satin, you're not going to be in the mood for a thick stout. The dedicated beer drinkers usually turn to Rolling Rock in the summer months.
Hard ciders are increasingly popular, with Ace being the best brand and only the truly desperate drinking Hornsby.
No goth's freezer would be complete without a bottle of vodka. Cap Cods are the official cocktail of all Houston goths, with occasional orders of Vodka Cherry Sours thrown in for variety's sake. The conversion power of the Cape Cod is awesome to behold, and for some reason every friend we've ever gone drinking with eventually abandoned their original beverage to join in with us.
There are two kinds of vodka, Blavod and everything else. Blavod is an English Black Vodka that adds catechu, an herb found in southern Asia and central and east Africa. Rich in tannin, catechu has no effect on vodka's flavor, but it smooths out the cocktail considerably, as well as darkening the drink for the proper morbid mood. It's not a common brand, but you can still find bottles locally with a little luck.
One caveat: Never make a Screwdriver with Blavod. It tastes fine, but it looks like a glass of diarrhea on ice.
If vodka's not your thing, most goths have a taste for rum. Only baby goths drink Bloody Marys, and then until they realize that someone wasted a really awesome name on a really awful drink.
Ah yes, absinthe. All goths have tried it, but contrary to popular belief we don't know any that prefer absinthe over more conventional liquors. In general absinthe is a special occasion kind of drink, with sharing a bottle being a big deal, as it connects us with all the sad, gloomy artists of the past. Its romantic connections are just as important as in inebriative qualities, and if you're looking for a good gift for a goth then absinthe is a pretty solid choice. Just don't show up at a gathering and expect us to all be downing it.
Do not buy Mansinthe. Ever. Gothic Council member Sarah Fanning recommends the absinthe/gin mix Corpse Reviver No. 2 for the mixologists out there.
Get the Food & Drink Newsletter
Our weekly guide to Houston dining includes food news and reviews, as well as dining events and interviews with chefs and restaurant owners.