On experience, the more inebriated or intoxicated a person becomes the greater their tolerance is for foods that person finds objectionable when they are sober. This phenomenon has economic impacts, such as the success of Turkish-styled kebab houses that stay open into the night for the drunk-custom. ‘Drunk-custom’ is the name given to people who generate custom to a company when drunk, when they would not offer custom if they were sober. I could even posit there are social impacts, as a person’s judgement fails them and they opt to consume highly unhealthy foods. I shall call this phenomenon—that a drunken person expresses different tastes, and is more likely to enjoy foods and drinks they would object to when sober—the ‘Alcoholic Taste Expression’ (ATE).
On Friday 21st June, 2013, I embarked on an experiment to test the limits of ATE. The experiment was carried out on Jägermeister, a drink that is ideal for this experiment as it is highly objectionable yet self-corrects for ATE. The hypothesis is that there is a finite volume of Jägermeister that can be consumed to make Jägermeister enjoyable. The null hypothesis, therefore, is that there is no finite volume of Jägermeister that can be consumed to change the empirical fact that Jägermeister is disgusting.
To limit the scope of the experiment, the idea of consuming a finite amount is to have its upper limit at the point of unconsciousness. At the point of unconsciousness any subject taking part in the experiment can be said to have consumed the upper limit of a finite volume. The paper uses this terminology because at this point a subject is no longer able to make value judgements about the drink; increasing the consumed volume to infinity could not change the judgement. There is, therefore, no practical difference between consuming an infinite volume and consuming a finite volume to the point of unconsciousness.
The usefulness of this research would be in food businesses that benefit from drunk-custom income. As it gets later in the night, particularly on Friday and Saturday nights, the level of drunkenness of the customers can be assumed to increase and the quality and the cost of production of food products can be decreased. This would increase the profit to these businesses as the market becomes less discerning.
For this experiment two subjects were used, Allallt and Steve. A supply of shot-measure drink empirically agreed to be absolutely awful in all conceivable fashions—Jägermeister—was provided. Allallt and Steve were asked after each shot whether they agreed with the statement “Jägermeister is objectionable”. Qualitative data was also taken, where Allallt and Steve had the opportunity to discuss whether their enjoyment—or lack thereof—of Jägermeister had changed considerably from the earlier shot, or from the first shot. The hypothesis would be considered corroborated if either subject changed from their initial agreement with the statement “Jägermeister is objectionable”. The hypothesis would also be supported if either subject, despite still agreeing with the statement at the point of unconsciousness, had showed a tendency is object less as the number of shots increased; this data would be taken from the qualitative discussion that took place after each discussion.
All experiments asking for the judgement of subjects who are becoming increasingly inebriated run the risk of incoherent responses. The guard against this dismissal of the research a Jägermeister-replacement drink was given to the subjects at random. The replacement drink is the same colour and consistency of Jägermeister, and has a similar aniseed-based taste. But the replacement does taste different. On rounds where the replacement drink was given the data was not considered towards the hypothesis, but was used to judge the use in continuing the experiment; if the subjects identified the replacement drink had been given they were deemed fit to continue and their judgements were deemed reliable.
Below is a table showing Allallt’s and Steve’s response to the statement “Jägermeister is objectionable” along with any qualitative data provided.
Round Allallt Steve
1 Agree Agree
2 Agree Agree
Allallt: Eurck. I’m not sure why I agreed to this, it’s a bad idea.
3 Agree Agree
Steve: No no no no no no no no no!
4 Agree Agree
5 Agree Agree
Allallt: Is it over?
6 Agree Agree
Both subjects agree, at 6 shots in, that the 6th shot of Jägermeister is as objectionable as the first.
7 Agree Agree
8 Agree Agree
9 Agree Agree
10 Agree Agree
Allallt: If anything, it’s getting worse! It’s like it’s breeding on my tongue. I hate it hate it hate it… I like to hate it, hate it. I like to hate it, hate it. You like to…
Steve: I think those lesbians are staring at me (deemed irrelevant).
Round 11 was replaced with a Jägermeister-replacement.
Steve: Actually, it is getting better…
Allallt: I can’t taste the sugar anymore. Oh God, am I dying?
Their judgement is considered reliable, and the experiment can continue.
12 Agree Agree
Allallt: Okay, I can taste sugar again. Life is restored… by this foul nectar!
13 Agree Agree
14 Agree Agree
15 Agree Agree
Round 16 is a Jägermeister-replacement. Both subjects recognise it. The experiment continues.
17 Agree Agree
Allallt: *weeping quietly*
Steve: it’s okay, man. You’ll be dead soon.
Allallt: Please *gag* make it stop!
We have no ethical review for this paper. The research continues:
18 Agree Agree
19 Agree Agree
20 withheld Agree
21 Agree Agree
22 Agree No response
Steve’s finite consumption was reached at 22 shots.
23 Agree —
Round 24 is a Jägermeister-replacement. Allallt noticed the change. The experiment continued.
24 Agree —
Allallt: Is Steve dead? He’s so lucky. I want to be dead. This stuff is getting worse!
25 No response —
Allallt’s finite consumption was reached at 25 shots.
Both subjects showed no tendency to object less to Jägermeister or to enjoy it more during their consumption of Jägermeister, up to their finite limits. Therefore the hypothesis there is a finite volume of Jägermeister that can be consumed to make Jägermeister enjoyable has been rejected and this experiment has been deemed in support of the null hypothesis there is no finite volume of Jägermeister that can be consumed to change the empirical fact that Jägermeister is disgusting.
But the research has presented a new phenomenon; on the spectrum of food tastes, from perfectly delicious to infinitely terrible, there exists a critical point where ATE shifts the expression of tastes in the other direction. If we imagine the spectrum to run from “perfectly delicious” on the left and “infinitely terrible” on the right then it appears from this data that ATE works to exaggerate a food’s position on this spectrum relative to its position against the “critical point”. All foods on the left of the critical point, even if deemed horrible by a sober subject, move to the left towards “perfectly delicious” as ATE progresses. However, a food to the right of the critical point—whose position tends towards “infinitely terrible”—will tend further towards “infinitely terrible” on the right. ATE is perhaps better considered a movement away from this critical point, and not a tendency towards the left; “perfectly delicious”
The limits in funding and volunteers in this experiment mean the research was limited to qualitative discussion and that the sample size was small. However, the data provided is robust enough to encourage further research. This research suggests that any drunk-custom business that plans to operate a diminishing food-quality model to take advantage of their drunk-custom must operate a minimum quality limit. Therefore further research into a high resolution picture of the Expression of Tastes Spectrum.
(To reference this paper it is enough to give a link, however if you prefer a more formal reference, please use: “Allallt, The Jägermeister Experiment. (2013) WordPress.com [link: allallt.wordpress.com/2013/06/23/the-jagermeister-experiment”)