Sunday, January 27, 2013

Alcohol Conditioning

I am not a connoisseur of alcohol. As a young woman I did not sip mixed drinks with my cool, fashion-conscious girlfriends. (Once I did sneak some of my dad's scotch to mix with orange soda in order to cure a cold; the only thing it cured me of was drinking scotch and orange soda ever again. It was something like putting cotton candy in your martini, I imagine. I highly unrecommend it.) I thought I knew something about wine, but I proved my ignorance in a servers' meeting post-hours at a nice cafe where I worked. The owners were trying to teach us about red and white wines. When the question-and-answer session broke out, I spoke up and said, "Whites are all sweet and reds are dry." My boss made an example of me, the poster child of blatant alcohol ignorance.

I was even more clueless about other liquor. Nine months pregnant with my first child and balancing a menu on my belly, I sat in a steak house with my Man and spied a tea I wanted to try.

"I'll take a Long Island iced tea," I confidently told our waiter.

The waiter stared, pen suspended, and my husband almost startled me into labor.

"Whoooaa! She doesn't know what she's saying," he assured the wary server. "Just regular sweetened tea for her."

Then he leaned over and whispered, "Honey, that has alcohol."

"Oh," I said. "I just thought it was like Texas tea."

"That has alcohol, too...LOTS of alcohol."

"Oh. Glad I didn't order that then."

Many years later I would discover per a friend's suggestion that I liked a Zebra or Preacher's collar. So when I found myself in an Olive Garden with several friends, and there was a long wait that prompted someone to suggest we get something at the bar, I knew just what I wanted.

I sauntered up to counter, leaned in and with a smile told the young man there that I'd take a Zebra.

The clever guy knew just what I meant, but he held up a bottle of wine and said, "Ma'am, we only serve wine here. We're an Italian restaurant."

My friends broke out in merry laughter, and I'm good for that. But I really could have gone for that beer.

The one I will never live down, though - the one that will haunt me every December 31st - happened only a few years ago.

I love Champagne, love, love, love, love, love. I don't need to know much about it, because my love is unconditional. Still, I did read a column in the paper that listed several great sparkling wines to enjoy for New Year's Eve, so when my husband casually asked me what kind I wanted him to pick up for the big celebration, I spoke up excitedly, "I've heard Dom Perignon is good!"

"Dom Perignon? That's a hundred-something bucks!"

"It is?"

My husband burst out laughing.

"You could get me some, you know," I retorted. "Maybe it's worth it."

"No I couldn't. Dom Perignon!" And then he laughed some more.

Now every time there's a special occasion, and my Man has to make a sparkling wine run, he smiles and teases in a high, snobby voice, "Do you want me to pick you up some Dom Perignon?"

Yeah, alright, alright. Put a cork in it. Because one of these days, one of these Valentine's days, I'm going to swing by the grocery store...or the French Embassy...on my way home. Then when my Man walks in the door, I'll be sitting in a sweet little red dress with a nice little bottle of wine. I'll extend a glass to him and say smoothly:

"Care for some Dom Perignon, Darling?"

Like Marilyn Monroe, I might even bathe in it - or at least wash my hair in it - because life should be sweet...or dry...and expensive, even for a dork like me.

My poor sophisticated guy and his crazy, Champagne-loving lady


  1. My only rule, from decades of experience - never drink anything coloured blue. And beware of anything sweet.
    Alrighty, that's two rules. Rule 3, then - don't compose blog comments after 8.30 pm.

    1. The blue rule's a good rule...and I'm with you on the sweet thing so far as it concerns orange soda. Is Dom Perignon sweet? Obviously, I wouldn't know.

      As for the blog comments: I'll take them any way they come, Tim. Thanks for yours.

  2. I love the dom peri story, still makes me laugh but I'm right there with you :) I guess alcohols mentioned in hip-hop songs are probably expensive. I defnitely heard "Fiddy" Cent rapping about Dom Peri. We'll have to go out for that Guiness velvet again soon though...that was smooth!

    1. Oh, man! I forgot that Guiness mix; that was smooth! You introduced me to that one - thanks!

      Alcohol in hip-hop songs? I guess I'm behind on the times.

    2. "Fiddy" Cent? You had me laughing out loud, Holly! This is a great post, Hillary. I can totally see you ordering that Long Island Ice Tea. ; ) (Camille)

    3. Holly just had to show me up with that "Fiddy" Cent comment - hoho! Glad she knows her alcohol culture better than me, though, or I may never had that Guiness mixed with Champagne. And, yep, I ordered that tea. To this day, I'm sure that waiter thinks I knew what I wanted, a boozy pregnant woman.

      Camille, aren't you the one who introduced me to the Zebra?

  3. Saw you on Aiming Low! Love this post - I have my own dork story to make you feel better. Years gone by a group of us in our local pub thought all doing a blow job shot (the one with whip cream that you drink with no hands) together would be a blast. I took on the role of organizing - collecting cash from everyone so we could place our large order - everyone was of course chatting away, some not paying attention - so I stood (the usually dead pub was packed full) and I hollered, "Everyone be quiet I'm collecting money for blow jobs!!" - Think I can live that one down!!!

    1. Jamie, that one may not ever be lived down; I'll be real honest. It helps when you can find others with incredible dork moments, so you can share and laugh it off. I've said many things I didn't quite mean in the way they were taken, believe me!

      Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. I love new visitors!

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