Friday, June 20, 2008

What the Madison Common Council doesn't want you to have

Feeling like a bum? A loser? Or just plain dumb about what you drink?

This week we take a look at the lower end of the socio-economic alcohol scale for our late afternoon cocktail. That's right, we're exploring the MD 20/20, the Mad Dog. Our friend the Mad Dog actually occupied an entire aisle at a liquor store in Jackson, WI, so it's not just for less-than-sophisticated urbanites. MD 20/20 has found its way onto more college frat parties and after-prom parties than Mark Chmura.

I found a fun website called, ""

Call them bum wines, street wines, fortified wines, wino wines, or twist-cap wines.
Whatever you call these beverages for the economical drunkard, this page explores the top five.
So curl up on a heating duct and enjoy...

The site takes a look at the classics: Mad Dog 20/20, Thunderbird, Night Train, Wild Irish Rose, and Cisco. The last one I never heard of, but here's the review of the famed Mad Dog.

MD 20/20
18% or 13% alc. by vol.

As majestic as the cascading waters of a drain pipe, MD 20/20 is bottled by the 20/20 wine company in Westfield, New York. This is a good place to start for the street wine rookie, but beware; this dog has a bite to back up its bark. MD Stands for Mogen David, and is affectionately called "Mad Dog 20/20". You'll find this beverage as often in a bum's nest as in the rock quarry where the high school kids sneak off to drink. This beverage is likely the most consumed by non-bums, but that doesn't stop any bums from drinking it! Our research indicates that MD 20/20 is the best of the bum wines at making you feel warm inside. Some test subjects report a slight numbing agent in MD 20/20, similar to the banana paste that the dentist puts in your mouth before injecting it with novocain. Anyone that can afford a dentist should steer clear of this disaster. Avaliable in various nauseating tropical flavors that coat your whole system like bathtub scum, but only the full "Red Grape Wine" flavor packs the 18% whallop.

Liquor stores are starting to be infiltrated by a 13% variety of MD 20/20 Red Grape. There is also a new "Blue Raspberry" flavor with "BLING BLING". Even the lowest functioning of bums will know not to get swindled out of 5%.

Our friends at Wikipedia have a more technical take:

MD 20/20 a.k.a. Mad Dog is an American fortified "wine" produced by Mogen David wineries. MD 20/20 has an alcohol content that varies by flavor from 13% to 18% (with most of the 18% varieties discontinued, although Red Grape is widely available from the 18% category). The "MD" stands for "Mogen David," the name of the company based in Westfield, New York which makes it; the company is named after the Star of David, which in the original Hebrew is Magen David (pronounced mah-GEN dah-VEED) or Yiddish (pronounced MUH-gen DUH-vid), literally meaning "Shield of David;" the product's aficionado dubbed it "Mad Dog" to represent the initials "MD". At colleges it is often traditional for fraternities to "Mad Dog" a prospective recruit by knocking on his door at daybreak and forcing him to drink the bottle quickly. It is known for its pleasant high and painful aftereffects, but also as an initiation rite. has pictures (well, exterior shots) of the "winery" where the Mad Dog is unleashed. They also have some product reviews (warning, language):

Lemon Ice

So this is it, MD 20/20 #1. It tastes like a lemon air freshner. It looked so good to me a little while ago. It smells and tastes like a shitty white zinfandel mixed with rubbing alcohol. Little taste or smell of lemon. I think that things like this that are lemon flavored are destined to be bad. I'm not dissuaded to try others, I still want to get a nice non-lemon bastard a try.

AK brought up a very good point to me regarding this one: what is the flavor of ice, anyways?

a new lemon ice variation!!! 'Winterchill'

Now, before you go off to see if you can beat the times of the guys on YouTube chugging this stuff, the more discerning palate may want to use the Mad Dog in a mixed drink. I don't recommend this one, but the Champibble does not require you to buy any new bar ware.

4 oz Mad Dog 20/20 (any flavor)
6 oz cheap Champagne
2 oz Vodka
Mixing instructions:
Stir or shake well.
Next week we'll return to more tasteful pursuits.