My setting is the Capitol in the Hunger Games world. My viewpoint character is at a very upscale party, gets upset, wants something to drink, and grabs the "first safe glass" as they flee a room.
Now I'm trying to identify the drink. It's alcoholic, and stronger than the character is used to or would have chosen if they weren't panicking, but not enough to get them noticeably drunk in one serving. I would prefer a bracing taste and had initially described the drink as "bitter and stinging with a hint of vapor;" an advance reader said that sounded like a liquor or maybe brandy (and from my research, say, indiscriminately handing out setting-equivalent cognac could fit the whole conspicuous consumption theme).
What would you all suggest for a strong(ish) alcoholic beverage served at a party marked by over-the-top excess, and how would it taste to an inexperienced and ill-disposed palate?