News & Politics

We Played Our Own Presidential Debate Drinking Game, and It Didn’t Go Well

No, really. Please don't talk to us this morning.

Illustration by Hannah Good.

You may have seen our Washingtonian debate drinking game floating around on the web. As we asked you to imbibe without abandon, it only seemed journalistically ethical that we try it out ourselves. Below, dispatches from the Washingtonian staff’s debate night drinking experiences:

“Hello. I wrote the Washingtonian Debate Drinking Game. I never intended to commit crimes against humanity last night, but that’s exactly what happened. To anyone who followed our drinking game to the tee last night, I am so, so sorry. You warned me, and I did not listen. Your overtures of “this game is designed to kill” and “no liver can physically handle this” fell on deaf ears. It was not until half an hour in, when I had already killed a White Claw and half a bottle of wine, that I fully processed the monstrosity I created. I want you to know that this captain went down with her ship last night and continued to play until the final minutes. I know I cannot possibly erase the suffering I have caused for so many, but I hope knowing I fell victim to my own creation can help somewhat ease the pain. I pledge to amend future drinking games accordingly, and will accept any punishment you believe to be just.” —Jane Recker, assistant editor

“Originally, I was going to play the drinking game, but then realized the only canned alcoholic beverage we had in our home was canned rosé, and my body would almost certainly implode if I were to shotgun that. (Fun fact: I can, however, pop a hole with my tooth in a can to shotgun it. Thanks, college!) Also, I already struggle with hangovers in general, as I am no longer 19 years old, but hangovers in the pandemic era have taken on a graver effect. You no longer just feel like shit, you feel like shit with a side of existential whiplash. All that to say, I chose this as my night to make the seasonal shift from white to red wine. I originally felt cozy, bundled up on my sofa with my blanket and wine, and had planned on following the game along, taking sips when I heard “JINA!” or an insult. But I was quickly knocked brain dead as I watched two grown men give each other verbal wedgies as Chris Wallace stood on like a limp piece of celery. There’s no way I would have followed along, so I just drank like a normal person and woke up with a baby hangover—both physically and politically.” —Mimi Montgomery, associate editor 

“I started the game by cheating. I knew it would come to this the moment I read “chug” because I had no keg or party friends with me and it felt rather pathetic to sit in the living room with my parents and chug by myself. Instead, I went the classy route and took two shots of mezcal. Then, I poured my Portuguese rosé (Confidencial, if you want the rec) and prepared myself. 23 minutes later, I was drowning from the insults alone. At some point, I started sipping regularly throughout the whole thing because I couldn’t keep up with the rules and listening was hard, even before I got halfway through the bottle. It became a cycle: Text the group chat, drink, message the slack channel, drink, drink, laugh awkwardly at the TV, drink, look at Twitter, drink. Getting wine drunk is fun but…it was soul sucking entertainment. Towards the end my bladder was screaming at me almost as much as Trump was. My legs wobbled the moment I got up. Once they finally shut up, I took my drunk ass to bed with some chocolate chip cookie dough from Talenti and put on cartoons till I passed out. That’s called self-care!” —Rosa Cartagena, writer/web producer

“As a contributor to this game, I decided early on to eschew the rules. Instead, I stress-cooked a pot of soup with a gin cocktail and the debate cacophony as a soundtrack. Next debate drinking game rules: drink liberally and constantly, until you forget that you’re living through the fall of the American empire. Might I also suggest just going to bed?” —Hannah Good, social media producer

“I almost never drink on weeknights. I had a couple cookies and two flavored seltzers. I feel completely fine.” -Andrew Beaujon, senior editor