Power Hour Survival Guide

Note: The Weekly takes no responsibility for the health, relationships or employment status of those foolish enough to undertake the Power Hour. Treat this game like a cobra. It bites!
Photo: James Nord / via Flickr

It’s big, it’s bad, and it’s here to kick your ass, sweetheart.

Fresh off a 50-year college tour, it’s Power Hour! No, not a ’70s acid-funk band, the Power Hour drinking game will be stopping by McFadden’s at the Rio on Thursday, November 19, hell-bent on making sure you miss work on Friday.

The premise for the uninitiated or insane: Drink one shot glass of beer per minute for 60 minutes without dying. Some folks keep the fun going for a full 100 minutes to join the Century or Centurion club. A special brand of stupid, others attempt it with shots of liquor. These are the ones usually making headlines (in the obituaries).

Sound risky? Ding ding ding! It is! While surely all the rage at frat houses and college town bars from UCLA to Cornell [cough], Power Hour is also a mighty roulette wheel with prizes ranging from hangovers, projectile vomiting and blackouts to unsafe sex, sleeping with your professor and a trip to the emergency room or beyond. But executed correctly and with the humility to bow out when you know you should stop, the 60-minute marathon can make for a rollicking good time.

In a totally unofficial passing conversation with a first year medical student I re-learned (I slept during health class) that the adult liver can metabolize one ounce of pure alcohol in one hour. “Often times you will see it in print as the equivalent of one 12 ounce beer, four to five ounces of wine, one mixed drink or one shot,” the student said, remaining anonymous, probably because she secretly is a Power Hour champion with the belt to prove it.

Do the math: The standard shot glass holds 1.5 ounces of liquid. So that means that over the course of one hour, a player drinking beer will have 60 1.5 oz shot glasses of brew, for a total of 90 ounces, or 7.5 beers (assuming the average beer is 12 ounces). At the one hour mark you would have metabolized most of that first beer, so at the finish line, you would have 6.5 bottles of beer still partying in your system. To wit, if you can regularly put down a six-pack in under an hour and still breathe, congratulations! You stand a chance! You’re also probably not 5’1” and weighing all of a buck-ten sopping wet.

Keeping it colorful and lucrative, guests are also welcomed to take shots of their favorite mixed drink, which pretty much guarantees that someone’s gonna be sick. Or get pregnant.

Want a shot (at survival)? Try this:

1. Volume: ABV vs. bladder – Choose sips of a mixed drink only if you know that you have the bladder of a toddler and the liver of Don Draper, as spirits are higher in alcohol by volume. Choose beer if you know you can withstand that much liquid.

2. Shot or sip? – No one’s looking and no one cares (as long as you’re not truly competing for the money). If you’re not going for broke, stick to dainty sips every 60 seconds and enjoy the entertainment! Acoustic Soul will be playing a different song every 60 seconds to accompany the game.

3. Stake out the nearest exit, bathroom and garbage can. You never know…

4. For once, tip the bartender to make your drinks weaker.

5. Sip (don’t drink) water between shots.

6. Eat something high in protein and fat beforehand, but not right before the event as you don’t want to be too full. The party starts at 9 p.m., but the actual Power Hour starts at 11 p.m., so by 9:30/10 p.m., plan to have had a cheeseburger.

7. Saying a prayer or two couldn’t hurt.

8. This game taxes your system heavily, liver and kidneys. Think before you drink. If you’re on medication or unwell or just plain sane, maybe sit this one out.

9. As one colleague put it, “It’s a lose-lose situation.” You’re either full or bombed. Just do the best you can and focus on the great party! Let some 8-foot linebacker with a spare liver or parasitic twin win the big prize.

10. Don’t drive home or, as Dr. House would say, “You’re an idiot!”


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