Saturday, March 19, 2011

Adventures in Beverage Land

I grew up in a culture where alcohol was one of the deadly sins - right up there with jewelry, dancing, and going to movies. The taboo was strong enough that it lasted long after I left home and ventured out on my own. In fact, except for a few daring sips of wine, I really didn't start drinking alcohol until I was about forty. (Damn. I have just betrayed my age.)

There are two ramifications from this:

1) I'm a ridiculous lightweight. I'm getting better, but for the first few years of my experimentation with drinking, one glass of wine would render me fuzzy and well, sound asleep.

2) Every drink is an adventure. So many different types of wine, so many frou frou drinks with fascinating names and pretty glasses. I'm like a kid in a candy store.

A kid without a lot of money. At least, not money I'm willing to spend. On the rare occasions when I've been to a bar and perused the drinks menu, I've been shocked and appalled. You want me to spend what? For a drink?

I don't think so.

Thus it is, sadly, that I have not experienced many of the frivolous and fascinating cocktails. The Viking does not imbibe, and I don't get out much, so I must confess that mostly I drink alone. The most creative I get with creating my own beverages is pouring a little Grand Marnier in my hot chocolate, or making Hot Buttered Rum from scratch.

Last summer I did have a love affair with Gin & Tonic, a drink I discovered at the house of a friend. This is a beverage for a hot summer day, though, and I'm looking out my window and watching the slow melt of the snow, dreaming of long summer afternoons and an ice cold drink sweating on the picnic table.

My usual drink, suited to drinking at home alone, is wine. At the moment I'm working my way through the reds - loved Pinot Noir, and then Sangiovese, and currently am somewhat obsessed by Malbec.

This makes it sound like I'm much more of a drinker than I really am, so I suppose I ought to make it clear that I seldom drink more than a glass a day, and when I'm On Call I don't drink at all. Not that much really - just one of life's little pleasures. And oh, so pretty in the glass.


  1. Your upbringing sounds very strict.
    My owner's parents were the ones to first try to get her to try what kind of alcoholic beverage she liked.
    But we're taking our drinking easy: almost never on a worknight, but saving it for the weekend and then it's one or two glasses of whatever we fancy at the moment.

  2. Mmmm...Gin & Tonic. Nothing says summer like a good G & T. Must buy limes...

  3. I grew where we didn't drink, smoke, play cards or have sex (it might lead to dancing). So my parents are appropriately appalled when I order a glass of wine at dinner, but a good, dry red is one of the simple pleasures of life.

    Malbecs are wonderful. For cold days try a nice Zin (red. Never pink). It's bold and goes perfect with beef or more substantial meals.

  4. My parents were quite laid-back about alcohol. Yeah, I remember that my dad gave me my first beer...and that took ALL the coolness out of drinking.

  5. There's a photo of me as a toddler, sipping beer from the can my grandmother is holding for me. Such amazingly different family cultures!

  6. Our college days are long behind us, so there's no shame in being a lightweight. Unfortunately, during my college days, I embraced far too much of the gin so that I can't stand it any more.


    If you're looking for something refreshing on a hot summer day, may I recommend a twist to your wine tasting? Enjoy lovely glass of Sangria.

  7. Sullivan - like Keena said, the controls were pretty strict - we also had the joke about sex maybe leading to dancing. And any card games we played we used Rook cards. Real playing cards were evil. We did have fun though.

    Linda, I know it. Summer is looking very far away for me though. Far too early to buy the limes. Sigh. It snowed today.

    Alayna and Jeffe - I find it difficult to imagine my parents actually giving my alcohol. At any age. I still hide the wine when my mom shows up, although she does know I drink it.

    KAK - I bought a bottle of Sangria once and was disappointed. Maybe the wrong kind? Maybe I need to make my own?

  8. Oh, don't buy pre-made Sangria. There are so many points of "preservatives" failure there. Make your own.

  9. Even though Mom grew up in the Southern Baptist church where EVERYTHING was sure to lead to an eternity of hellfire, my upbringing was pretty laid back, too. Mom doesn't really drink - mainly because like me, she doesn't like the stuff (we'd both just as soon have an iced tea, thanks) but Dad does. He let us taste whatever he was drinking, thus ensuring that just as Alayna said, all the *cool* and rebellion was drained out of the activity thereby. Wise people, my parents. :) But Kerry, I agree 100% with KAK - homemade Sangria is tasty and gorgeous in a clear pitcher that's beaded with condensation. Mmmmm.

  10. I have a great Sangria recipe, too. MMMM