Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Virgin puts some hair on her chest

#8 Never Have I Ever: Ordered a "manly" drink

Most people would never guess that I had ever willingly abstained from alcohol. I'll be honest here, it took a while for booze to weasel its way into my heart (shocking, I know).

It wasn't until a wine tasting during my junior year of college that got me addicted to the stuff. Wine eventually led to my current clemency towards beer. But until that point, I was left with hard liquor to tend to my social lubricating needs. When you're in college, you can't exactly afford top shelf brands. And let me tell you, you do not -- under any circumstances -- drink Gran Legacy without a mixer. EVER.

So I guess you could say I became (and still am) a connoisseur of so-called "girly" drinks. It's a label to which I take offense since "girly" implies a weak, fruity cocktail (FYI: Newcastle's alcohol content is 4.7%; Smirnoff Ice's is 5%). I'll have you know: despite being acclimated to "girly" hootch, I can drink many phallus-festooned friends under the table. Not gonna lie though -- my favorite cocktail is a Key Lime Martini rimmed with a graham cracker crust and garnished with a maraschino cherry. Dear lord...

Anyway, maybe I've watched too many film noirs but the conventions and social implications of "manly" drinks have been a constant on my mind lately. Something along the lines of a Manhattan or a Gimlet. I always wondered if those actually tasted like anything other than aromatic ethanol.

The Down and Dirty: Hitchcock and I arrived early (or should I say on time; all you other bastards were late) at the Black Boar for some celebratory libations in honor of Spiderman's birthday. What with it being Monday and having the obligation of a job the next day, I was originally resigned to a glass of red wine for the evening -- an efficient way to get a buzz and a healthier heart! What more could I ask for?

At the bar, Hitchcock ordered an Old Fashion in tribute to Mad Men. I realized I hadn't done my DV task for the day and time was a-tickin'. After staring longingly at the amber bottles lining the bar, I knew what I had to do.

I thought about ordering a Martini (shaken, not stirred) but remembered that I sampled one in college... and immediately chased it with a Kamikaze. Perhaps a Sidecar? But that seemed like it had the potential to taste light and sweet from the lemon juice and triple sec. That's it -- screw mixers! I want pure, unadulterated alcohol.

Whiskey on the rocks I bellowed to the bar wench -- er, bartender; I got ahead of myself there. Hitchcock suggested I go for Johnny Walker black label.

I swirled the tumbler for a moment before taking a swig. The initial flavor was warm and smokey. The whiskey held a deep, fiery core with a dulcet mellow finish. Not unlike dunking a piece of burnt toast into watered-down molasses.

The Afterglow: That was tasty. However, I noticed my whiskey prevented anything more than a good buzz because of the nature of its consumption. "Girly" drinks taste so damn innocuous that I'm usually siphoning them directly to my stomach. In fact, most "girly" cocktails are much more potent than your average "manly" fare. If I'm looking to get properly shibliterated, I reach past the pint of beer for the Vodka Sunrise. But whiskey is a complex flavor that needs time to rest on the tongue. Unless, of course, you want to get crunk.

Just because a concoction tastes like it can strip paint off a submarine does not make it manly -- it makes it a shitty drink. I indignantly reject the idea that "manly" drinks will put hair on your chest or help you develop a pair of testicles brimming with testosterone-rich sperm or otherwise toughen you up. Because, son, I will wipe the floor with you -- Mojito poised in hand.

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