Friday, 28 June 2013

5 things Friday - the alcohol edition

By the title you can guess that Hubby did not collect his bicycle yesterday and to be honest it probably would have been a much funnier post. However, I had a very bad day at work yesterday and Hubby took me out for a meal and cocktails which prompted this post. 

I thought that today's Five Things Friday could be about a history of my alcohol tastes and how they have or have not (as the case may be) matured over the years. 

1.  I will drink alcohol God damn it! 

As a child I wasn't the most adventurous and really wasn't keen in trying anything new if I perceived I wouldn't like the taste. In fact, I convinced myself of this fact so much that I seemed to be unable to avoid the spontaneous retching at the slightest indication of anything new that my brain subconsciously thought may taste awful. It probably explains why I refused to take the pill form of any medication until I was in my teens and it may just be convenient to blame my mum for trying to introduce such awful food products as Brussels sprouts and an early age. 

I decided that alcohol in any type, shape or form would taste disgusting which is strange really as neither of my parents are alcoholics or even really big drinkers so there wasn't really any reason for it. Despite that claim, when I was 13, my mum did once decide to prove to an uncle that it is possible to taste vodka* in a non-alcoholic drink, claiming I would be able to taste it in any drink of his choosing (besides milk or plain water as I had already declared that both of those tasted vile - and yes water does have a taste!) 

*Lets just sketch over the fact that the legal drinking age in the UK is 18!

I did not notice the avid attention I was given following delivery of my next glass of pure orange juice but I do remember taking the drink to my mum and saying "This has gone off or SOMETHING because it is just URGH" (note the 13 year old dialect) and my mother turning to my uncle and saying "See?" at which point he declared me "weird" which may or may have contributed to me feeling few people like me. 

Needless to say I avoided all alcohol after that date unless I wanted to get hammered when I just put up with the taste until I had gotten my tastebuds drunk. Until I was introduced to Blue CuraƧao that is at the age of 20.... Peeps, this drink tastes like a blue raspberry Mr Freeze ice pop when mixed with lemonade!  Considering I ate ice-cream and anything sweetly flavoured over anything else at that age (who am I kidding, I still do now) that pretty blue drink went down well and became my alcoholic beverage of choice. In fact, how Beautiful B was not born bright blue I have no idea because I was pregnant (unbeknownst to me at the time before anyone gets their pitchforks out) when I celebrated my 21st birthday and to say I drank a bottle of the stuff is not an exaggeration. 

2. "Ooooh, what is THAT green drink?"

Fast forward to about 27 years of age and I had become firm friends with a woman called Helen at work. Both virgos and both control freaks of sorts we bonded over many things. At work, we have a social club that opens at lunch, now not so popular since the indoor smoking ban, where alcohol is sold - I KNOW, dangerous yet great at the same time. Anyhoo, one day we all disappeared there for a colleagues birthday and not having the greatest choice in alcoholic beverages I reluctantly plumped for requisite vodka and orange; did no one tell them I was coming so they could or the pretty blue drink in? Only to return to the table and see Helen with a green drink. And so I was introduced and sold on vodka, lime and lemonade!  And yes it is true unless it is a double shot you can hardly taste the vodka because it tastes just like limeade!  8 drinks later I fell, well tripped, back into the office right into the path of my boss. Luckily, he thought me dizzy at the best of times so I got away with it or maybe he just didn't want to tell anyone off that day. 

And so that became my new drink of choice. It got me through many a drunken night out until alcopops took off in the bars and clubs of the UK. The only downsides: 
  • the idea of drinking it at home while getting ready for an evening out so you can buy soft drinks and save money in the clubs just doesn't work; and 
  • bopping around the house while getting ready with said drink left safely on the bedside cabinet may result in your 5 year old daughter saying "Mum, that limeade is scrummy" and you having to explain to your mum that her grandchild may sleep better than normal. 
(The latter reason being a disclaimer only obviously....ahem)

3. Cream Soda with a hint of alcohol

I really found this drink by accident.  When Beautiful B's dad and I split up mum and dad were wonderful and gave me and Beautiful B a roof over our heads and we moved back into their home.  They even let me have friends round; I know - wicked parents honestly.  Anyhoo, one night mum decided it would be a great idea to have me and a friend sample every drink in her drinks cabinet though I can count on one hand and have fingers left over how many times my parents drank each year.  Beautiful B was safely in bed and tucked away for the night and I decided that I would be brave and sample some, what for me can be counted as, unusual fare except for the Remy Martin because that is just plain awful and I don't care what anyone else says.

Now, as is clear from the story so far I drink little and rarely unless I am off to paint the town red and am not keen on trying anything new that may taste awful, except for on my hen night to Beautiful B's dad when, after spending half an hour at a bar talking to a strange man for 30 minutes about peanuts but insisting I had in fact been to the bathroom when I returned to the table (yes, I was beyond drunk), I decided it would be a good idea to drink my sisters Tia Maria; which when you know me would amaze you because I hate coffee. So, back to the sample everything in mum's drink cabinet episode, I approached my latest foray into the alcoholic world with some trepediation, because yes you guessed it I was sober and decided that I would take the smallest sip of each of these unknown drinks.  

To be honest most of them were just downright disgusting and I was not overly keen on trying the yellow drink that materialised from the cupboard reminding me of the oil you fry chips in because of it's colour and consistency when mum rolled it round the inside of teh bottle so I insisted on adding a dash of lemonade....and I was almost in alcoholic heaven which could have been anything better than "Mum that is just disgusting!"  To my surprise this latest drink tasted of cream soda and so I was truly in heavenor the earthy equivalent of.  I am not sure if the USA have an equivalent of Cream Soda but in England that is one of the sweetest, sugary fizzy drinks available and so called to every inch of my body while the birds sang.

From that moment forth mum went on holiday to Spain with money from me to bring back a bottle of that stuff.  To this day I have no idea what it was called or what it had in it.  It didn't stop me introducing my friends to it though before we went out for an evening on the town.  In fact, one friend enjoyed it almost as much as me and before we even got into the taxi to town that evening we had drunk 3/4 of a bottle of that beauty and then partied until 5am.  Which turned out better than the night I partook of a bottle of pear schnapps my mum fetched me from abroad - yes, I was home very very early that night.

4.  Alcopops by all most kinds of flavours

Here is a waiver and it is probably a bit late but I am really not an alcoholic nor am I a serious party girl despite what any of this post looks like. Some would argue that I had lost my mind for a little while, I may have once argued that I enjoyed the 'I have been in serious relationships since I was 15, got married at 20, had a baby at 21 and divorced at 24 and so I didn't do the whole late teenage night on the town girl so I am now' a bit overboard but I didn't do a whole heap of drugs like some do so all in all I could still argue that while I wasn't the requisite 'girl next door' I may be (on a good day) the 'girl round the corner' but not in a derogatory way if you know what I mean.

In the early 2000's alcopops took off in a big way in the UK and may or may not be to blame for the prevalence of underage drinking but I am not here to argue the merits of that statement.  However, they did open up an ability for me to drink alcohol without wanting to throw up at the flavour because as their name says they tastes like pop and I will drink anything if it tastes like pop.  The only problem is I drink them like they are pop otherwise known as 'quickly' so ignoring the need to rob a bank once a fortnight because of how many I went through on a night in town during the 18 months I did the 'I am of legal drinking age and I can drink what I want when I want' I enjoyed going to the bar with friends and hanging over the bar (on my tippytoes because I am a shrimpet) and saying to the barman "So what new drinks do you have for me to try this week?"

I say that I tried most flavours because I know without a shadow of a doubt that I do not like aniseed flavour and never will so if there was even a hint of that baby then I was avoiding it like the plague.  After all, a person can make themselves poorly enough drinking without trying something with a taste they know will make them wish they had never bothered.

With alcopops I got to try all sorts of alcohol I wouldn't have tried before such as bacardi which I know is kind of lightweight but to know me is to love me.

5. Cocktails!

I say this with an exclamation mark because I cannot believe it took me until meeting Kirsten and having a meal at Frankie and Benny's when I was 34 to even try one of these babies.  I cannot remember them being available during my 18 month teenage but not a teenager phase but maybe that had something to do with drinking alcohol before I got out of my front door.  Having said that, being a wimp I may not have tried many, if any, when I was 27 for fear of not liking them and even now am loathe to try some of them.  Now at least the reason is that they cost a fortune and who wants to pay a fortune for a drink they may not take more than a sip from.

So I started on Strawberry daiquiris; I mean how wrong can you go when it is made with fresh strawberries, lime and ice with only a shot of rum?  Not far I can tell you.  Leaning over the bar at F&B's one evening K and I watched the bartender use a strawberry puree to make the cocktail which is cheating quite frankly but did mean that we identified we could make those suckers at home much easier and safer than being let loose with sharp knifes after partaking of alcohol.

That following Sunday while M and Hubby were cooking up a BBQ K and I were in the kitchen making daiquiris though anyone could be forgiven for thinking they had walked into a badly designed laboratory just after a bomb had gone off.  It probably wasn't a good idea to water down the later measures with bacardi when we decided they were too thick because that results in you deciding that to save time you may as well just pour the mixture into the biggest sundae glass you can find and be done with it only to have everyone remind you of the night you drank it out of a "fishbowl" for the rest of your days.

So have I progressed from one type of cocktail I hear you ask.  Well, of course I have.  That would be thanks to A and C though because they are partial to mojitos (not so keen though the latest invention of a strawberry mojito at a bar near A&C's are GORGEOUS) and cosmopolitans which at first were drinkable but growing on me rapidly.  And, lets not forget K who is more than partial to go to F&Bs with me to sit at the bar and just work our way down the list of cocktails trying each and every drink.

Why, only last night, after a particularly bad day at work I tried a new cocktail - Strawberry Shortcake; which sounds very sickly and some would argue was but to me it tasted like a strawberry milkshake (and yes, I know I don't like milk but if it is thick and more of a melted ice-cream consistency then I will drink it).  Even though I knew it had Amaretto in and after Hubby informed me that Amaretto tasted of almonds which I don't much like, I thought I would give it a go.  After all, it was made with strawberries; how awful could it be?  Well, not much I will tell you because that baby was scrumptious.  I was sensible (your first and only clue that it was my first alcoholic drink of the evening) because I only had one deciding as it was very much like a milkshake they would fill me up very quickly and as we were also eating it wouldn't be a good idea to fill myself up before the starter arrived.  Of course, I did not stick to one alcoholic beverage...I just swapped to strawberry daiquiris.

So there you have it, my trip down alcohol lane.  So what would your trip down alcohol lane look like?  Go on, comment; you know you want to!

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