The Prang Cocktail
Updated: May 7, 2018
Prang Cocktail n. A heady concoction consisting of severe sleep-deprivation, social paranoia and pounding regret
The prang cocktail begins with a noxious, creeping dread that seeps through your pummelled brain like a gas leak. The feeling when the spike of substances begins to fade, to soften and rot slowly between your ears – leaving the beginning of a dull thump that presses against your brow, kneading it with a slow, delicious insistence.
The prang cocktail has shadows of sweetness, like patters of soft laughter receding into the corners of a room. It is a sun eeking its way into a watery sky at the end of night stretched thin and ragged. 5 am and suddenly you find yourself blinking in the light of an empty room - a loud silence swarming in your ears.
The prang cocktail alters memories, melting everything that seemed natural, and instinctual into a horrifying, burnt up spectacle of mortification. The glorious suspension is lifted – everything that was soft and smudgy now looks dirty, everything that was profound and intelligent now seems pretentious and rambling. You wake up in a foreign bed with the prang starting to snag and flutter in your stomach. It slowly unfolds its dark wings right across your chest and presses on your lungs like a damp towel, spotting them with damp spores of heavy dread. That ‘shit’ moment that hits you when you feel like you robbed yourself of a decision – that ‘shit’ moment when suddenly a train seems to have been set in motion and the lever has come off in your hand.
The prang cocktail is layered with flavour; a thick, viscous regret gathers at the bottom of the glass, infused with a whining note of aniseed-y paranoia and a lingering taste of self-loathing that coats your tongue like soap. All this shot through with a fizzing tiredness – leaving your blighted mind gripped by a strange, choking sense of homesickness for something you’re not sure you left.
The prang cocktail is – after pina colada – my 100% least favourite cocktail. It plants a sickly creature in your mind that tugs its head, like a restless horse, to return constantly to the agonising process of picking through the detritus of the night before, pausing to nudge objects of particular embarrassment.
However, there is hope. You just need to find the palette cleanser to your prang aperitif. Increasingly, I find that it is a drink best served in company - the mystery and uniqueness of the prang cocktail can only truly take hold when I insist on taking my poison alone, giving oxygen to those panicked thoughts. When the morning is awash with the flotsam of the night before - with lost shoes, lost hearts, bad boys, sad boys, wrong beds, wrong feelings - I force myself to make comedy lemonade from my drunken lemons and share it around. Something about walking a friend through the macabre parade of horrifying incidents from the night before takes away some of the aftertaste.
Your Prang Starter Pack:
Speak to someone who loves you unconditionally (your mum)
Put on your best ‘active wear’ - it will make the people in Tesco think you’re on your way to the gym
Find the funny
Illustration: Helen Walker