“Three sheets to the wind” is a phrase that is commonly used to describe drunkenness. Like most phrases and idioms of today, it has a nautical origin. Sailors have their own language. It’s as if, when they were babies, their parents carried them around, pointed at things and said words that had nothing at all to do with the things that they were pointing at.
If I told you that a boat contained several “sheets,” you would probably assume that I was referring to the sails. After all, if you looked around your house for something with which to make a sail, you’d likely use a bed sheet. That makes perfect sense…and would immediately identify you to any Old Salt as a “Landlubber.” In nautical terms, the sheets are the ropes or chains that afix the sails to the deck. Also, it’s important to know that the original version of “three sheets to the wind” was “three sheets in the wind.”
If one sheet (rope) came unfastened, the sail would flutter. If two sheets came unfastened it was worse, and “three sheets in the wind” would make the ship bob and roll like a drunken sailor, which is how the phrase came to be.
And speaking of: The other night, in a fit of alcoholic inspiration/desperation, I concocted the worst drink ever to sully the gullet of a man on this planet: Windsor Canadian Whiskey and Pink Lemonade. I call it the “Frilly Canuck.” I will say, however, that, as far as drinks go, it’s a very consistant beverage…by which I mean it tastes exactly the same going down as it does coming up.