As a public service announcement we remind you that the first Friday in May is time to mix the Finnish Long Drink. This is one available in a can, but here we’ll show you how to make a Finnish Long Drink yourself. The Finnish Long Drink you make will be better and encompass a wider variety than anything you can buy.
So why a Finnish drink, when they’re not exactly known for inventing cocktails? Simple. It’s National No Pants Day, and the Finns are way ahead of the rest of the world on this matter. They have a national tradition that translates into English as “pantsdrunk”. It caught on around the world during various phases of the COVID stay at home times and endures as a popular pastime. It gives a name to a lifestyle many of us may already follow, so we’ll explain.
National No Pants Day and Pantsdrunk
The origination of National No Pants Day in the U.S. is a bit unclear, but most accounts attribute it to a college prank in Austin, Texas sometime during the 1980s. A club at the University of Texas known as the Knighthood of Buh apparently wanted to experience a new sort of freedom after taking final exams. They elected to remove their pants to do so and proceeded through the day in their underwear.
This caught on after a bit of promotional work. The event has been observed in other states as well as Canada, France, Sweden, Australia, Britain and, of course, Finland. The No Pants Subway Ride day emerged in New York in 2002 and by 2013 sixty cities had coordinators. Various locales seem to depart from the first Friday in May concept. Most also hold official afterparties, with the wearing of pants prohibited.
Many of you readers are now accustomed to working from home and holding meetings through Zoom or another online service. So let’s face it, you’ve probably held more than one meeting without pants on and your counterparties were none the wiser. After all, it’s a normal enough household behavior.
Most folks required a college prank or a pandemic to jumpstart going without pants, but the Finns are light years ahead. And in a stroke of genius they combine it with drinking. Yes, we’re talking about “kalsarikännit”, the tradition of getting drunk at home in their underwear. The translation in English is “pantsdrunk”. Miska Rantanen, in fact, wrote a book called Päntsdrunk that has been translated into 13 languages.
Sure, residents of Finland live in a dark and freezing environment for a good part of the year, but they know how to have a good time when they’re not sweating in a sauna.
Where does the Finnish Long Drink come from?
The World Happiness Report, a publication of the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network, has rated Finland as the world’s happiest country for the last five years. It seems they’re on to something. Perhaps it’s related to being the highest consumers of coffee per capita, but here at The Drunkard’s Almanac we draw the obvious conclusion: pantsdrunk is a tradition that leads to happiness. Drinking at home, in your underwear, is clearly the path toward enlightenment.
Drinks in Finland do include Finlandia Vodka as well as several concoctions involving plants foraged off the tundra. But the Long Drink is extremely popular. The Long Drink recipe itself goes back to the 1952 Summer Olympics, which were held in Finland. The country was recovering from WWII, with a population of only 4 million, and they became concerned about how to serve drinks quickly to all the visitors. The government made it a national project and commissioned the creation of a new liquor drink. Their version of the Long Drink was born.
What’s in a Finnish Long Drink?
When you get down to it, the Finnish Long Drink is really just a soda spiked with Gin or Vodka. One of the most loved is made with grapefruit soda, Gin and cranberry juice. That’s really the Scandinavian version of the Paloma we like to drink on Mexican Independence Day. Whichever form you choose, just have it at home in your underwear and your happiness is bound to improve.
Finnish Long Drink
- Collins or Highball Glass
- 2 oz Gin or Vodka, or pretty much whatever spirit you like, though white spirits are generally preferred.
- Soda Grapefruit is most popular, but again, pretty much whatever you like is suitable.
- Grenadine Optional, but a nice addition for some combined sweetness and tartness when using white spirits.
- Add ice and spirit of choice to a tall glass, as well as Grenadine if using.
- Top with soda and stir.
- Sit down in your underwear with TV remote and favorite snack within reach.