How To Get Drunk Like A Dirty Foreigner
It is a truth universally acknowledged that every single country in the world has its own special method of getting wasted. From French Champagne to Japanese sake, every great people has at some point or another evolved its own version of the cause of and solution to all of life’s problems. I didn’t begin drinking alcohol in earnest until the ripe old age of 23, after many years of declaring I’d stay a virgin til marriage (nope), would never smoke pot (nope again), and was grossed out by the thought of doing sex to a lady (aaaand nope.) Now, ten years later, this World Cup-centric list of national drinks over on Digg inspired more than a few fond memories of this, my first decade of drinking.
Ah, my starter beverage. Beer never appealed to me, so when my beer aficionado boyfriend suggested we begin drinking together as a form of couples therapy, I chose to start with the hard stuff. Tequila tastes like fire and rain and wood and cacti and many other things. It is sometimes delicious and sometimes reminiscent of paint thinner. In my early twenties, I drank copious amounts of it in my apartment in the desert of the Southwest, in the shadow of the tail end of the Rockies. In my late twenties, I used to throw big brunch parties at my apartment in Manhattan’s Financial District. I’d get the blender going in my studio and send people down to the beautiful observation deck with Solo cups full of tequila and organic frozen fruit (I did not realize that there was more to a good margarita than simply mashing up tequila with some fruit). One time we even had a cereal bar, with several types of breakfast goodies on offer — plus, naturally, tequila. Because nothing goes better with milk than the fermented blood of the agave plant. Thanks, Mexico!
I was never particularly fond of saké, which had a slightly creepy, slippery consistency that always weirded me out. But a few months back, my boyfriend (a different fellow than the one mentioned above) insisted that I must at long last consume raw fish. I’d always worked around my distaste for cold animal flesh by ordering cucumber rolls at sushi joints, but he got it into his head that I would love sushi and must try it. I was quite averse to the prospect, and so he plied me with “rice wine” (not actually wine, of course) until I felt courageous enough to do it. And whadaya know — sushi was fucking awesome! I had one roll with thinly sliced lemon and pine nuts and spicy tuna, and it was what the kids call amazeballs. Then I tried a roll with spicy tuna, fried lobster, and some sort of magical savory sauce, and it was amazing, as well! I was concerned that the saké was clouding my brain, so I went back and tried sushi again a few days later. It was still great. I even expanded my repertoire with something amazing called the SUSHIRRITO, a thing you can buy in San Francisco! Thank you, saké, for lubricating my entry into the world of raw fish. Thanks, Japan!
At some point in my late late twenties, vodka replaced tequila as my liquor of choice. I think it’s because I realized I could put vodka in all sorts of other beverages and not even taste the vodka. Russians are so brilliant! Anyway, I got into vodka martinis because a dude I knew explained that you could in fact have a martini with something other than gin. Thanks, dude! I loved to drink vodka martinis at the Brandy Library in New York City, a fine and wonderful establishment where the waiters are called “librarians” and they wear suspenders and the walls are packed with wonderful library-type shelves that are themselves packed not with books but with booze! It is Classy and Expensive and Very Very Nice, and I took dates there all the time.
One time I was there with a girl date. We were both reasonably pretty (she was very pretty), with long hair and nice dresses and makeup and the such, and this pairing deeply confused a drunk man who was sitting nearby with his lady friend. He did not understand why we did not meet his vision of “ugly” ladies who date “ugly” ladies. He began to ask us questions, first casually, then rather, um, enthusiastically. He started demanding details about what we did when we were not sitting quietly and sipping vodka martinis at the Brandy Library. He started getting rude. And a little bit creepy. And then a lot bit creepy. We were both very nice and polite because we were girls and girls are trained to be nice and polite even to a man who is saying disgusting things and leering at them, and I think we would’ve sat there being nice and polite until he actually whipped his dick out. BUT! In swooped a “librarian” who scowled at the man and said, “Sir, I’m going to have to ask you to leave. You’re creating an unpleasant atmosphere for our guests and we do not tolerate this kind of behavior in our establishment.” He protested, and more “librarians” came over, and none of the librarians lost their cool, and they threw the most incredible full-face burn-your-balls-off shade at this dude. And then they handed him his ass and kicked him the fuck out.
And THEN they came and sat with us, apologized profusely, and brought us so many vodka martinis for FREE, and they were so sweet and kind and apologetic and welcoming and funny, and they just turned what could’ve been a really shitty, embarrassing evening into an awesome one, and I have never forgotten that. Which is why I still love to drink vodka martinis at the Brandy Library, all these years later. Thanks, Russia!
Anyway, this has been a brief but loving look back at booze memories that were only possible due to the ingenuity of foreigners. What are yours? Feel free to share in the comments. And don’t forget to check out the Digg article that inspired this whole thing. It is cleverly entitled “What Fills the World’s Cups?” and it is quite fascinating to behold.