My mom is unique. Really. Sometimes it’s in a truely marvelous way, like she’s the best mom ever, and everyone should bow down to her. Other times… Well, she’s my mom. I’m obligated to be embarrased of or by her at times. It’s in the Daughter Handbook. *Girl Scout Honor*
In comparison to some other Moms I know, I have to admit, my mom’s pretty damned cool. How many people have mom’s that used to be a DJ, and would test songs on her kids using the “If my kids dance around like maniacs to it, the crowd will love it” method? Or insist, that even if we were born with two left feet, that we must, and I mean MUST, know how to do every version of the Electric Slide, The Bird, The Chicken Dance, a little bit of swing dance, and how to “Drop it like it’s hot”?
She also took me out for my first legal drink when I turned 21.
We were living in New Jersey, just on the other side of the Ben Franklin Bridge. My original plans? Go to Philly with a couple of friends and do the “traditional” bar crawl of the South Side, and see how many free drinks I got before my friend drove me home. Yeah, didn’t happen. My best friend’s girlfriend decided to have a drama fit, so he drove me home before the sun set. Bum. Mer.
So, Mom insisted in taking me out. First stop, the Burger King drive through. Can’t drink on an empty stomach, don’t ya know? Then we drove. And drove. And drove. We drove around for about 2 hours trying to find a bar with the right “vibe”. I don’t know what she was looking for exactly, but what we ended up doing has affected my tastes in bars ever since.
We ended up at the bar two buildings down from where I worked, and less than 5 minutes (if you hit EVERY red light) from home. It was a total blue collar dive bar, and I’ve felt more comfortable in places like that since. Brightly lit bars/clubs with trendy music and/or DJ’s, “Mixologists”, and the trappings that go with it don’t do it for me. Give me a dimly lit, smokey place with a friendly bartender that knows how to pull a draft with just the right amount of foam, knows your basic, classic coctails, and doesn’t charge an arm and a leg for them. Great, cheap food is a plus.
So, we go to the counter, and Mom orders 2 Long Islands. One for her, one for me. I go snag a table nearby while she stays put, watching the bartender mix them. Did I mention Mom used to be one? So she knows what goes into one. The 4 white wells, triple sec (or, if out, Country Time Lemonade), and coke.
“Ohhhh shit… Oh shiiiiit. God damnit.. Shit shit shit.”
Now, I look young for my age, so of course, I had to show my ID. The bartender was sweet, and told me happy birthday. Then, promptly adjusted Mom’s order so I’d start my birthday off with a kick.
Did we get Long Islands? Oh, noooo. We got Texas Tea’s. Not just that, but heavy handed Texas Tea’s. What’s a Texas Tea, you ask? Okay, first off, the Long Island is actually a family of drinks. There’s the classic, the Tokyo Tea (which has Midori added to the mix), the Long Beach (replace the coke with a splash of cranberry and orange juice), and the Texas Tea. There are probably other variations, but these are the most common. All start with the same basic ingredients, known as the 4 white wells. These are the basic clear liquors that are most common in drinks: vodka, gin, white rum, and tequila. So, a Long Island is a shot each those 4, triple sec (an orange liquor) or bar syrup (think simple syrup), and coke. Easy, right?
So, a Texas Tea is special. You take the 4 white wells, the triple sec and coke… Then add another shot of tequila. Everything’s bigger in Texas, right? Well, this bartender went heavy handed. He didn’t just put a shot of everything in, he put in about double the alcohol, almost no ice.. And could barely fit in the coke.
It was AWESOME.
So, Mom taught me how NOT to drink. See, addiction runs strongly in my father’s side of the family. Well, in my father. And she didn’t want me to become an alcoholic, so she wanted me to have a horrible hangover the next day. One of those “I’m never drinking like that again” kind of nights. So, she had me push the orange slice down to the bottom, and drink the whole thing through the straw, then eat the orange.
If you want to get drunk fast, that is the way to do it. If you’d rather savor your drink… Don’t. Doesn’t help that on top of doing that (first time drinking hard liquor. I had had beer/wine coolers before, though) my older brother, in his infinite wisdom, said that I must -MUST- have a shot of Jager since he couldn’t be there. (He was in Iraq on his first deployment).
Yeah… I was DRUNK. Only things I remember from that is the bar TV was on ESPN, comparing Alex Trebek and some other Alex that played baseball (cause they were both Canadian), with me and Mom rooting for Trebek, me insisting that I could walk a straight line (it was diagonal. Straight, but not forward.), and my step dad chewing my mom out for getting me so wasted, and then driving me home while she, herself, was drunk.
Thank god that Mom and I are both cheap dates.
As it is, her little lesson has stuck with me. While I do enjoy the taste of a coctail once in a while, I stick to her “rule” of only imbibing a handful of times a year, typically holidays, plus one freebie. I rarely get drunk off my ass because I seriously don’t like the feeling. I’ve only gotten very drunk once, and I swore to never repeat it. (We were out celebrating a friend’s birthday, it was my first time drinking sake, and I honestly don’t remember getting in my friend’s car to go home, nor singing “Twinkle Twinkle” in the backseat. Never. Again.)
Now, I do go to a bar quite often (once or twice a week after work), but I can count on one hand (with fingers left over) how many times I had a drink in the past 4 years of going there. The bar has a cool atmosphere, ginormous breakfasts for dirt cheap, coffee to die for that does NOT taste like the crap Starbucks shits out, and wi-fi. The bartender knows me by name, knows what I want when I say “I’ll have my usual”, and asks me what cool new music is out.
And, more times than not, it’s Mom that wants to go, not me. Oh well.. Just means she has to pick up the tab. 🙂