A lot can be discovered about a college’s culture from the ingredients of their college drink. The ‘work hard, play hard’ attitude that is ubiquitous among Oxford students, who alternate their use of early morning hours between essay crises and club outings, is reflected by the drinking culture that shocks many non-British Oxonians. Even Merton, fondly known as “where fun goes to die”, has a cocktail comprised of enough Vodka, monster energy, and VK to shock that fun right back to life again, whilst the various concoctions offering four or more shots for under a fiver suggest that whatever intellect the uni tries to instil in us is heavily counteracted by our affinity for self-inflicted brain damage.
However, the wide variety of hangover-inducing drinks on offer across Oxford’s colleges is generally a secret to us. Unless you’re part of a society that tours for pres or you happen to have friends scattered across the collegiate system, you’re unlikely to have encountered most of these alcoholic recipes (for disaster?). Yet with the cost-of-living crisis pushing the price of pub drinks to stratospheric heights, and with the comparative cost-effectiveness of six-shot college drinks seeming too good to pass up, it seems like now is the perfect time for an investigation into what different college bars have to offer.
Cherwell has polled its staff and readers to uncover the secrets of Oxford’s college drinks. We hope that, with our handy map to guide you, you can hack those 8th week Bridge outings after experiencing the various mind-blowing and sometimes underwhelming drinks on offer. Putting all college rivalry aside, discover for yourself whether the Crummock is worth a trek to Catz (spoiler: it is), or whether Corpus’ Ed Millibubbles is indeed “a fantastic mild red, just like Ed himself”.
Disclaimer: Cherwell does not necessarily agree with the descriptions of drinks in this article, nor does it endorse trying them all in a single night of care-free hedonism. However, the reader is free to make their own choices.
Name of drink: Balliol Blue
Ingredients: Vodka, blue curaçao, peach schnapps, lemonade
Description: Tastes almost like it’s non-alcoholic. Sweet (until you hit the last few sips) and very blue.
Name of drink: V cubed
Ingredients: Double shot of vodka mixed with a vk of choice
Description: Tantalising, mouth watering, fruity, great to get absolutely sloshed
Name of drink: Ed Millibubbles
Description: A Fantastic mild red just like Ed Himself, a former corpuscle
Name of drink: Pango (it used to be called a pan galactic gargle blaster)
Ingredients: Allegedly between 4-6 shots. Ingredients are a secret, but could contain vodka black current squash and lemonade. Original version was five white spirits, plus blue bols and topped up with lemonade.
Description: Black current, pink, delicious. Tastes a bit like vimto. Sweet but a bit of a tang
Name of drink: bleed green/ sheep bite
Ingredients: probably vodka/gin, midori, maybe grenadine
Description: it literally bleeds green and the sheep bite glows green in the UV room.
Name of drink: Shark bite
Ingredients: Blue Curacao, half a shot Peach Schnapps, half a shot Vodka, Cranberry
Description: Red and blue, Sweet, Yummy, Not very alcoholic.
Lady Margaret Hall
Name of drink: Purple Lady
Ingredients: Vodka, white wine, blackcurrant juice and lemonade
Description: It’s purple and does not taste of alcohol but it’s completely lethal and gets you drunk very quickly
Name of drink: Moselle
Ingredients: 5 shots of Gin + VK of choice
Description: Flavour – Alcoholic. Colour – Blue/Orange. Enjoyment- no good night is complete without one
Name of drink: Cryptonite (the bar is called the Crypt)
Ingredients: Some sort of vodka, lemonade and cherry sourz mixture
Description: Cherry red, tastes like haribo cherry tangfastics, absolutely cannot taste the alcohol but its cheap
Name of drink: Power pint
Ingredients: Vodka, monster energy, VK
Description: Many different colours, very sweet, good for before a night out
Name of drink: Glennies
Ingredients: Vodka, gin, peach schnapps, lemonade, lime cordial
Description: Sweet, zingy and drinkable – but lethal after a few glasses of wine.
Name of drink: Dizzie
Ingredients: Vodka, Malibu, blue curacao, raspberry sours, gin, and lemonade
Description: Very blue, very yummy and a big hit with customers.
Name of drink: Somerville sunset
Ingredients: Grenadine, mango, orange, (vodka)
Description: Sunset colours, very sweet, tastes like juice!
Name of drink: Crummock
Ingredients: Four shots including peach schnapps and vodka plus lime syrup
Description: So sweet it’ll make you wince but guarantee you won’t taste the alcohol; perfect for a big night out, but making it to the club after a couple of these isn’t a guarantee
Name of drink: Cross Keys
Ingredients: 6 shots of who knows what
Description: variety of flavours, perfect amount of alcohol, it’s pres in one drink.
Name of drink: The Unholy Trinity
Ingredients: No idea. Best guess is lemonade, vodka, gin and blue sugar syrup?
Description: Very blue and very tasty. Only a half pint though where other colleges have full pint.
Name of drink: The nick
Ingredients: Gin, vodka, apple VK, lemonade
Description: Green! Yummy! Apple! Very sweet! Expensive though 🙁 (£4.60?!)
Map: Meg Lintern
College crests (both in article and on map): ChevronTango – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0