Saturday, December 8, 2007

Getting Into The Holiday Spirits

One of the reasons I have never been much of a drinker is that I never liked the taste of alcohol. Not that I didn't experiment occasionally when I got to college, usually with Southern Comfort and Coke.

When I turned 21 I decided to make a real effort to be a drinker. For a whole year I tried hard. More accurately, at 21 I drank hard for a year. I drank beer, hated it, drank wine, hated it, drank hard liquor, hated it. I kept waiting to get used to the flavor. Never happened. Mostly I remember suffering from hangovers and hating those even more. Finally the experiment ended when I turned 22 and realized no one was holding a gun to my head.

I also realized something else. I never had to drink to get into a party mood. Historically, or hysterically, depending on your point of view, my sober personality was so over the top through college and my twenties, thirties, forties, and fifties that I often got credit for being shit-faced when the only six pack I had consumed was ginger ale.

I always thought I just had an outgoing personality. I never understood this perception of drunkenness until I actually saw it once on film. I was working as a young copywriter at my first agency job. Someone in the creative department wanted to shoot a spec commercial for a beer client. This required depicting young men and woman enjoying their beer in a bar. [Some things never change.] So we all signed up for an afternoon at a local watering hole to help the guys out. I thought I looked especially nice the day of the shoot, so I figured I would be front and center when the commercial was all cut together.

Unfortunately, when I saw the spot, I appeared for a second or two at most -- way in the background.  According to the producers who had to edit everything together, I was laughing and having such a good time in the closeups that I looked drunk. Everybody knows that while beer companies want you to consume a lot of their product, they don't want it to appear to have any effect. The guys showed me the rest of my footage and I had to agree with them. I looked like I was one shot short of a trip to AA. The good news is that I have been able to spend most of my life being the life of the party without having to wake up wondering who is sleeping next to me.

Which brings me to this holiday season. Now that I'm in my sixties, my personality has finally toned down a bit. When I'm sober, I actually seem sober. Unless the police send someone over for a wellness check, at which point I become INSANE.

For the most part, except for the occasional clown face and one or two fart sounds, you wouldn't think I was anything but a mature woman, perhaps even with grandchildren.

Maybe this modulation of my flamboyant personality is the reason that alcohol has become more flavorful to my palate in recent years. As one side of me diminishes, the other flourishes. My new appreciation for the taste of liquor -- specifically a little wine and the occasional Kahlua and cream, also has a built in mechanism to keep me from overindulging. I start to fall asleep after more than one glass of anything. The faster I drink it, the faster I start nodding off. But lately this seems to be cramping my style. No one wants to find themselves face down in a plate during the holidays.

Yesterday I heard a solution to this problem on the radio. Use a capful of extract instead of alcohol in my drinks. Why didn't I think of this before? For instance, I happen to like eggnog this time of year, but I can barely handle more than a cup of the spiked stuff.  Now I can substitute the booze with a capful of extract. Rum extract and brandy extract are two obvious choices. But based on a trip through Google, you can get an extract for almost anything. From alcohol flavors to melons, sauces,  even vegetables.

With extracts to replace everything, it occurred to me that I could save some calories by using a cap of chocolate extract in my milk instead of the usual half cup of Hershey's syrup I pour. Then heat it up and add some peppermint extract for hot chocolate. Maybe there's a milk extract too, so I could fit the whole cup of peppermint flavored hot chocolate into a teaspoon. Think of the time you could save.

This gets me to wondering whether I could get a shot glass and just fill it with extract of breakfast, lunch or dinner. Satisfy your need for the taste of food, and maybe you don't actually need the food itself. I'm on a roll here. Jenny Craig move over, there's a new diet in town.

Wait a sec. I am getting way off the subject here. Whatever it was. Maybe I should -- z-z-z-z-z-z-z-z-z-z-z-z-z-z-z.


suzypwr said...

I don't like the taste of alcohol either. I figure we are not ever going to need to join AA. I do drink, but not often enough to worry about. Never did. Like you, I went decades without touching the stuff because I just didn't want to.

Hm, if we could only get our cars to run on extract of gasoline!


screaminremo303 said...

Not me. Remo loves the congeners. Keep the beer, unless it's Gordon Birsch, Fat Tire or Guiness accompanied by an anchovy & onion pizza. Wine is fine but liquor is quicker.

Like most Central Nervous System stimulants, alcohol only serves to straighten my shit out. A warm glass of milk before bed? Nah. I throw down a warm cup of java and sleep like a baby.

jevanslink said...

It figures that I have never heard of the word CONGENER before. It also figures that someone with a taste for the high life can reference an esoteric, THIRD definition derivation of the word:

3. Also, CONGENERIC. a secondary product formed in alcohol during fermentation that determines largely the character of the final liquor.

Mrs. L

gaboatman said...

Mrs. L
I had no problem discerning the word congener in Remo's comment.  Alas, I have revealed too much.  Toss the extracts aside, save for cooking, and just do the real thing in moderation.  If you fall asleep after one, it is doing it's job.  If you decide to have more than one, IM me immediately!

st0rmwhispers said...

ROFLMAO....I get accused of being drunk too....

I am one of those who can drink rum all night and never even stumble but give me a beer and I am out like a light.

If you get that diet plan finished, I'm all in....I need to lose another 25 lbs but I don't want to stop eating anything good either.  

Have you figured out how I can have my cake and eat it too yet?

psychfun said...

Now really what is happening is as we get older our taste buds do not regenerate as much, just like other cells of our body so it is not tasted in all its vibrance. This is why kids do not like casseroles with lots of flavors. I tell my students they should be the ones who smell the milk...they are the best to do it. This is why many people will like certain vegetables later in life & why even later food is so bland people do not want to eat & all thoe old folks homes spice it up so incredibly. My grandpa once refused to eat the spaghetti in his last year of life, I tasted it...I said no problem I'll get you some McDonalds! HA! He'd also salt everything so much and thankfully it did not stick to the food! I would be pouring the salt from his plate in the trash before I put it in the sink!

I only had 1 handgover in my life & I have to admit it was at Payton's 34s bar! His birthday, I danced with him...they made my drink horribly! And I only took 2 sips! I could switch types of alcohol all night & it wouldn't bother me. I'd be up at 8am after come in at 4am in college & say "what's for mind you I always scheduled my classes for afternoon & evening because I'm not a morning person! HA! I still schedule my classes that way. Heck look what time it is now! HA! BTW the roads are not too bad yet...just got home about an hr ago! HA!

swibirun said...

Are you drunk right now? ;)

Have a great weekend!

mombzbe said...

I like to have a drink every now and then, but I am capable of having fun without it.  Having spent so many years pregnant or nursing babies, I got used to not tying one on all the time.  Although, it appears in the last year or so that I'm making up for it. LOL