A cocktail of choice for some ...
... American winos during the 1960's: white port and lemon juice. Consecrated in music by Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention (or was it Reuben and the Jets?), WPLJ was adopted as call letters by a New York City radio station in the early 1970's.
In the U.S.A. (or at least California) of the 1960's, the alcohol per dollar ratio was pretty good on (cheap, domestic) white port; but it is/was disgustingly sweet, and the lemon juice helped disguise that fault. Gallon bottles of wine were competitive, but a gallon is more than a single serving for most. A gallon is also hard to sip discretely from a brown paper bag in countries where it is illegal to conspicuously consume alcoholic beverages in public (see also Blue Laws, Prohibition, see no evil).
Alternatives for students who were not yet desperately daily consumers but merely cheapskate bingers included some cheap beers (but careful, many with a low price per quart had a very low alcohol content so you didn't get much of a buzz for your buck) and, beginning in about 1970, "pop wines"--apple wine, strawberry-flavored apple wine, and other variants. These latter were later displaced by affordable, imported, sweet, sparkling wines (no, not Champagne! Lambrusco! I said affordable).
For more up-scale winos, the ones who would try to buy alcoholic beverages with food stamps late in the evening at 24-hour supermarkets, the choice tended toward Cold Duck and California Pink Champagne.
- Author's note:
- One might imagine that simply distilling the white port over a cheap gas flame would enable one to recover the cheap-per-ounce alcohol without the disgusting flavor. My experience is that the flavor clings; but distilling is a craft, not just something a high school chemistry student can do well with pure technical skills.
- For those who won't be bothered to go find out, an antiquated measure of fluid volume used in England and some of its former colonies: a bit less than four litres.