I Tried 4 Cheap Alcohol Hacks To See If They Actually Work

Alcohol is an "adulting" expense — and not one that we can always afford to totally splurge on. So when budgets are tight, what do we do? Buy the cheap stuff. Maybe you happen to be one of the lucky ones who's found some of "the cheap stuff" out there that's actually enjoyable (read: palatable) to sip on. But if you aren't, then we may just have a few tricks up our sleeves to remedy this drinking dilemma! So you can save any extra cash for that summer vacation you've been dreaming about.
Here's the solution: Make low-quality alcohol taste like the big bucks-stuff. From liquor to wine, we set out to test four popular methods for enhancing the flavor and overall feel of bottom of the barrel booze. Click through to find out which methods successfully masked the cheap flavor and which turned out to be more of a mess.
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Photo: Courtesy of Elizabeth Buxton.

Infuse Cheap Vodka With Skittles



Ingredients
Cheap vodka of choice
Skittles of choice (we went with Tropical for summer!)
Empty bottles or containers
Ice

Instructions
1. Separate Skittles by color and place in individual bottles.

2. Separate vodka equally by pouring into each bottle.

3. Shake, let sit for as long as desired, strain and layer different colors over ice.
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Photo: Courtesy of Elizabeth Buxton.

Did It Work?



Sort of. While the colors were tropically rainbow, the flavors were less so. The finished product had a distinct cheap vodka taste, that was now also mixed with that of sugary-sweet Skittles. The candy did successfully infuse, but the inexpensive aftertaste wasn't completely masked. We'd recommend adding in a splash of soda water to your glass for some extra help on the dilution front! Or just spending the extra cash on some higher quality stuff — a vodka Skittles on the rocks is not high atop our summer cocktail list.
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Photo: Courtesy of Elizabeth Buxton.

Make A Spritzer Out Of Cheap Wine



Ingredients
Cheap wine of choice (we went with a $5 bottle of rosé)
Citrus (e.g. blood orange and lime)
Soda water (e.g. lemon lime)
Ice

Instructions
Fill a pitcher with a three to two ratio of chilled wine and soda water, and then add in desired splashes of sweet and sour citrus juice and garnish with additional slices. Finish by pouring over ice to serve!
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Photo: Courtesy of Elizabeth Buxton.

Did It Work?



While one of our taste testers swore she could still detect the cheap wine, the others were unanimously pleased with the finished product. The spritzer was not only refreshingly easy to sip on, but it also looked pretty damn fancy — the citrus slices were very photogenic and the blood orange juice added some serious craft cocktail vibes. We stand by the spritzer solution as a tried-and-true success.
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Photo: Courtesy of Elizabeth Buxton.

Make A Frozen Drink Out Of Cheap Tequila (Or Rum)



Ingredients
Cheap tequila of choice
Citrus (e.g. lime)
Tropical fruit (e.g. pineapple)
Ice

Instructions
Place all ingredients together in blender and pulse until smooth. Pour into cup and enjoy!
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Photo: Courtesy of Elizabeth Buxton.

Did It Work?



Yes! The slushie solution was a shoe-in. We even had a non-tequila drinker taste test the finished product and she was completely sold. Not only was the cheap tequila taste masked, but the liquor's flavor in general seemed to be enhanced by the sweet pineapple and sour lime. Plus, the frozen consistency was a sublimely summery concoction. We'd also recommend trying this hack with a cheap rum and some frozen coconut water cubes.
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Photo: Courtesy of Elizabeth Buxton.

Strain Cheap Vodka Through A Coffee Filter



Ingredients
Cheap vodka of choice
Coffee filter
Rubber band
Mason Jar

Instructions
Secure coffee filter to top of Mason Jar with rubber band and then pour vodka through and allow to filter. Repeat at least five times (or as many as desired).
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Photo: Courtesy of Elizabeth Buxton.

Did It Work?



Yes! We had our taste testers blindly compare both a filtered and unfiltered sample of the cheap vodka (straight up) and everyone identified the filtered option as smoother and more palatable. The unfiltered on the other hand, they described as harsh and pretty undrinkable. This trick could also be utilized with a water pitcher-style filter or with another liquor of your choosing.
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