Goon Sack: The Cheeky Australian Wine-Based Beverage
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Australia is famed for its breathtaking natural beauty and exotic wildlife. The country also offers an inventive range of food and drinks, including the sinfully chocolatey Tim Tams and the highly acidic and divisive Vegemite. Beyond these global sensations, Australia is known for its bustling drinking culture; oftentimes, parties and social gatherings here are considered incomplete without a luscious cocktail or alcoholic beverage or two.

In this way, drinks form the bedrock of Australian culture, as they are deeply intertwined with Aussie celebrations; pub and bar culture is extremely popular here as well. Some of the most sought-after drinks in Australia include the enticing appletini and the flavourful ginger beer. A particularly intriguing Aussie alcoholic invention is the playfully named “goon sack.” Curious to know more about this tongue-in-check wine beverage? Continue reading.

What Is Goon Sack?

Goon sack is such a quintessentially Aussie creation that many people outside the country are probably not even aware of this unique wine variety. The speciality derives its name from the alcohol it contains, with “goon” meaning Australian slang for cheap cask wine or boxed wine and “sack” standing for the expendable silver bag the wine is served in.

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In terms of quantity, goon sacks typically start at a litre; larger quantities are also available depending on the buyers’ needs and preferences. The one-litre starting point is believed to reflect the flagon of the 15th century, which would usually be available in half-gallons. It is also speculated that the word goon may be an offshoot of flagon; in fact, it was the flagon that motivated Aussie winemaker Thomas Angove to patent the world’s first boxed wine back in 1965.

Goon Sack History

It is believed that the ancient ritual of preserving wine in goat skins was what inspired Thomas Angove to devise a one-gallon polythene bag enclosed in a cardboard box, laying the foundation for boxed wine. Originally, people were required to tear off the edge of the plastic bag and reseal it using a special peg.

However, the 1970s saw the introduction of a specialised tap, which significantly catapulted the drink’s popularity. The wine was coveted for its economical prices, generous quantities, and ease of carrying; it eventually became a worldwide fixture owing to its convenience and affordability.

Goon Sack Traditions

A bunch of colourful traditions, including fun games, are associated with the goon sack. In one of these games, Goon of Fortune, players attach a full bag of the drink to a rotating clothesline and give it a spin. Subsequently, the players position themselves under the revolving wine and wait for the line to cease spinning. Whichever player is found to be under the sack when the rotating movement stops is required to drink the wine.

Another enthralling goon sack game that is a big hit with Aussie college students is called Goon Layback. In this game, players are required to lay down on the floor with their feet against a wall while someone pours wine into their mouths. After the first player has tapped out, the wine is given to the second player, and so on. The first player subsequently joins the end of the line, and the game usually continues till the wine has been exhausted.

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While it is a far cry from the rich, imported wines of Spain and Italy, the goon sack boasts an enjoyable charm and novelty. Not only is it a fun way to consume wine but it also comes with several benefits. For starters, it is portable and quite easy to carry around, making it ideal for occasions such as picnics. It also comes in considerably larger quantities than typical wine bottles, ensuring that it satiates the entire party. Most importantly, it is believed to be more sustainable as it loads more product into the packaging than conventional wine bottles.