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Cocktail Stories

All of us have our stories about food and drinks. Drinks or liquors we will always love or hate. The drinks we continue to drink even though they’re awful or the drinks we will never touch again, because of the bad night or the bad ex. Let me tell you two of mine.

Southern Comfort

I was a freshman in college, and like all good 18 year olds, I thought I was invincible and knew everything. Unfortunately, time has proven me wrong on both fronts.

It’s Thanksgiving break 2003. I was my only friend from high school who attended college in our hometown and had his own apartment away from the parentals. My best friend from high school, Shannon, was going to school at a private college in rural Illinois, which was on trimesters. So finals were before Thanksgiving, and the campus went home for six weeks. While they were gone, the campus searched the rooms looking for illegal substances, including booze for the under 21 set. Shannon was the only student in her suite driving home and was the only one who might get caught with it, as opposed to her classmates who were flying and would definitely get caught. She got the left over booze.

She drove in Thanksgiving Eve, and we organized a small soiree of two other Manhattanites home for the holiday. We finished a bottle of rum (I think) and Southern Comfort. Southern Comfort at 18 is a great whiskey. It’s really sweet and mixes well with Coca Cola. It’s the most inoffensive of all the whiskeys for the 18-year-old palate. We finished the bottle of rum, and we’ve gone through most of the bottle of Southern Comfort. There was about an inch or so left in the bottle of Southern Comfort, and everyone is ready to pass out or drive home. I look at the bottle and announce, loudly, “I can finish that.” Proudly, I chugged about 4 shots of Southern Comfort. I lasted about 45 seconds before I rushed to the bathroom and spent the rest of the night over the sink. Shannon’s ex-girlfriend had already claimed herself priestess of the porcelain god. That night, I learned that Southern Comfort tastes exactly the same going down as it does coming back up. Almost 10 years later, I have yet to touch it.

Monkey Wine

The next year, after my infamous Southern Comfort experience, I decided to start a gay-focused fraternity. A group of guys and I had been building the fraternity for a few months. The national organization, which we’ll call Lambda Lambda Lambda after all good gay porn fraternities, finally took us seriously. They sent a national representative, who was also from Kansas out to visit us. That visit only solidified my desire to become a brother. The national representative, Mark, really challenged our ideas of brotherhood and helped create the chapter. He led a meeting for other potential members, engaged our chapter in trust exercises, and helped create a plan for a long-standing fraternity. After several days of seriousness, he facilitated the other part of brotherhood: drunken parties. We went out and spent too much money on wine including: Monkey Wine. Time has escaped me on what the name of the wine was actually called, assuming I ever knew it. We got drunk and just had a good time. It was the first time that we had really spent a night together as a fraternity, without anyone else. That night defined the chapter we would become.

A few years later, I went back and tried the Monkey Wine again. A little older, a little more experience, and a lot more taste under my belt. That wine was awful. But it tasted the better the more I drank, in part, because I got more drunk, but, also in part, because I was able to relive a defining moment of my life when seven became one. Whenever I see a monkey on a bottle of wine, I buy it, just to remember happy times gone by.

In conclusion

I have told stories of humor and of fondness, memories of I drinks I love and love to hate. We all have cocktail stories. What are yours? Drinks you love and drinks you love to hate. Memories you wish you could remember forever, and memories you wished you didn’t have. Leave them below. Until next time, happy and safe drinking.

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