The recession is deepening; the economy is recovering. Wise people wouldn’t hold their breath waiting for a clear answer. That would just eat up valuable drinking time.

In all seriousness, these 5 ideas are fun ways to keep cocktails in your budget for any occassion. Oh… and to the know-it-all who will point out that you’d save a lot more money by not drinking, thank you in advance for your valuable contribution.

1. Whiskey and Water

[Photo credit: Flickr user Jesper Egelund]

Southerners introduced me to a way of making bottles of sweet wonderful whiskey last longer. Ice, water, and some whiskey for flavor. Personally, I prefer it to whiskey neat.

2. BIGGER beer

Because most upstanding citizens without prior felonies refuse to drink pisswater beer like Bud or Coors Light, many of us find ourselves spending $9-12 on 6-packs of craft beers.

My beer-blogging friend over at Golden Gate Beer Blog pointed out that 22 oz. bottles tend to be a good deal. Ranging from $2–3 at places like BevMo, buying 6 22 oz. bottles gives you more beer for less money than buying 2 regular size 6-packs. Plus you’re not stuck with one type of beer as you are with a 6-pack. Pretty smart.

But please don’t mention a 40. Ever.

3. Calimoxo

Known as the poor man’s sangria, Spaniards take a 1/2 cup of Coke or Diet Coke to a 1/2 cup of red wine, and poof! A delicious pre-party drink is made.

4. Kool-aid and Vodka

[Photo credit: Flickr user Mike Harper]

Perhaps Kool-aid Man kept crashing through walls because dude was tanked all the time.

For less than a buck, it’s a tasty vodka mixer.

5. Smandré (Smirnoff and André)

OK, I have never actually consumed André, but to me calling cheap sparkling wine “André” is analogous to calling all tissues Kleenex.

Anyway, if you ever felt envious of the lushy fun Eddie and Patsy were having on “Absolutely Fabulous,” you can simulate their signature Bolli Stoli (Bollinger Champagne with a shot of Stolichnaya vodka) with André and Smirnoff. The New York Times says it’s OK to drink affordable vodkas like Smirnoff, so do it!

Other than moonshine, I’m sure there are plenty of other inexpensive drink ideas. Please feel free to share them here.