The Real Reason You Should Only Drink Cheap Liquor

There are those who will only drink premium or "top shelf" liquor — those expensive name-brand bottles bartenders keep out of reach, quite literally on the higher shelves at bars, like Grey Goose, Absolut, or Bombay Sapphire. If you're more of a bottom-shelf kind of drinker — okay, let's just call you a cheap date — perhaps you've attracted a few smirks when you've refused to pay more for a fancier shot in your glass. Guess what? You get to have the last laugh. Bottle-blind comparisons have determined there's not much of a direct relationship between quality and price, according to Business Insider.

This is especially the case when it comes to vodka; Wodka Polish Vodka and Russian Standard are great choices that are about half the cost of bougie booze, according to Kenneth McCoy, chief creative officer at the Public House Collective, who added that marketing is the reason why some vodkas cost more than others (via Thrillist).

Of course, there are valid concerns that drinking bad hooch will lead to a worse hangover (via Gizmodo). So how do you know how and when to bargain shop at the bar?

Do a little research before you drink

Whether your poison is tequila, gin, rum, whiskey, bourbon, or something else to take the edge off, do a little bit of research before you throw a lampshade on your head and declare, "Welp! It's 5 o'clock somewhere!" A good place to start is to read reviews of the brand-name bottle you're most likely to buy and then see how those customer ratings compare to lower-shelf options. For example, for half the price of Captain Morgan's, you can try Lady Bligh Spiced Rum. The Drinking From the Bottom Shelf blog claims the cheaper option is both smoother and stiffer, at 72.5 proof compared to 70. 

Meanwhile, for bourbon, you can get Zachariah Harris straight bourbon for the same price as Kentucky Gentleman, which is 51 percent whiskey mixed with 49 percent neutral grain spirit (per Paste Magazine). Tequila tends to be one of the most expensive liquors, with a bottle of Clase Azul costing as much as $30,000 (per Ventured). But $30 Corralejo Tequila Silver does the trick for NYC bartender Jason Rodriguez. "It's smooth and velvety on the palate with bright fruit, honey, and a hint of peppercorn shining through," he told Thrillist.