Last Thursday I was skidding down Del Playa Drive with some very BUI-deserving friends, when one hellraiser of a babe came streaking past us waving a 40 of King Cobra in the air and acting generally batshit crazy. Obviously wanting to get caught up in that particular brand of slurricane, I corralled the young woman and asked her to share the malt by giving me a fledgling gulp. Despite the distraction of having the bottle chip my tooth from her powerful pour, I quickly realized that my taste buds were certainly not cruising down the same old malt liquor street. Fuck Cobra, she explained. In fact the concoction she was repping was half Joose. Heinous as it may sound, my first foray into Sidewalk Slammers was unbelievably tasty.

That whole exchange really got me questioning the entire art of the cocktail. Sure, poring over specific gravity lists of obscure liqueurs can pay off with stunning seven-layered shooters, but who is really going to go on a $150 BevMo shopping spree just to rack up some overly pretentious drinks? The same logic applies to a basic cosmopolitan or Flaming Blue Jesus: mixing drinks gets complicated, and complication gets expensive in the spirits world. Yet most people are more impressed by — and thus more inclined to sleep with you when you have — more creative refreshments than cans of Bud Heavy. So here’s a quick and admittedly filthy guide to back-alley bartending.

Malt liquor is always a great jumping-off point for a classy concoction. The simple formula is always to drink a 40 down to the bottom of the neck and fill it up with something tasty. Sure, everyone knows about a Brass Monkey, but if orange juice is a bit too expensive, making thug juice with Tampico (about $1 for a gallon) is a great replacement. If that sounds too simple, try whipping up a Bayou Backwater. A hillbilly favorite, this combination of malt, lemonade and vodka is quite refreshing, and its sickly brown color is reminiscent of a lovely day of squirrel hunting off a fan boat in Louisiana.

Of course, lemonade and vodka are a bit low class, and you certainly don’t want to be seen sipping on something beneath your reputation. For truly epic levels of snobbery, nothing screams aristocrat like wine, and for that type of discerning gentleman, I suggest Blood Juice. Put on a top hat, drink a Country Club down to the label, and fill it with your local vintner’s finest bottle of Night Train and a packet of cherry Kool-Aid. You’ll be hiring servants in no time.

If we’re going to talk about wine, surely we must discuss the only drink to ever put me in the hospital: MD 20/20. A couple years ago, one of my roommates and I drank 60 in a month-long stretch, and we had a list of Mad Dog-inspired mixers just as long. The most basic, a Mad Dogarita, is simply a bottle of the hobo-sauce blended over ice and fully beats out regular ‘ritas in both price and performance. My personal favorite, the Brass Dog (or Dead Monkey), is a bottle of Orange Jubilee blended with ice and a tall can of Old English. Take the same idea but switch to Strawberry Kiwi and a tall boy of Red Dog and you get a Mad Clifford. If you manage to come across some Heritage tequila and your roommate’s cranberry juice, float it over some more orange MD for a Doguila Sunrise. In the fruity world of MD 20/20 that Ernest and Julio Gallo so graciously have given us, the possibilities are endless.

While I’ve barely scratched the surface of welfare-inspired cocktail recipes, my only goal is to break the mixed drink free from polite society. Sure, beer-bonging Glenlivet and root beer is one hell of an experience, but I can’t stand having Bimmer-driving phalluses sticking their noses up at me with their ritzy Black Velvet and Cokes. So the next time you wake up and feel like pouring V8 into fallen soldiers for breakfast Bloody Beers, or if you have the urge to fill a handle of vodka with packets of Gatorade mix to increase its slammability, go for it. As long as libations are being mixed and served, we can all be genteel and upstanding young citizens.