New Year’s Eve is rapidly approaching and Mrs. Chatterbox, who isn’t much of a drinker, and I toast at midnight with a glass of something festive, champagne or my old standby—martinis.
My folks weren’t imaginative drinkers; they liked Ancient Age (whiskey) mixed with Seven-Up, which became my drink of choice when I headed off to college. I’ve tried over the years to drink beer like a real man but I just don’t like the taste of hops. I have no such problem with the hard stuff.
Shortly after I got married my new father-in-law, a retired Army colonel and one-time bartender, took my wife aside and told her, “I can’t stand it that Steve only drinks bourbon & seven. Since you two aren’t driving anywhere tonight I’m going to expose him to another drink.”
I didn’t hear the exchange but I’m sure she giggled and said, “Okay, Daddy.”
Later that evening my bride and I were invited to join Mr. and Mrs. P. in the study. He poured a clear concoction into a chilled, long-stemmed glass and capped it with an olive speared by a tiny plastic sword. My first martini! I had no idea I was to be the evening’s entertainment.
With all eyes on me, I took a big gulp. This new drink was…absolutely marvelous. I swallowed the rest in one gulp. My father-in-law poured me another, but cautioned, “You’d better sip it slowly. These have a habit of sneaking up on you.”
He quit drinking after three martinis and the only entertainment that evening was watching Mrs. P. help him up the stairs. After I’d consumed another three martinis, Mrs. Chatterbox led me to bed. I seem to recall being interested in something else that evening—once we were alone in our room—but the only thing I could firm up was my enthusiasm. Nevertheless, martinis have been my drink of choice since then. (If anyone’s interested I’m willing to share my recipe for the world’s best martini. It’s easier than you might think.)
On a recent trip to Mexico with our son CJ, we wandered into a bar at dusk. I was about to order my usual. CJ ordered first, something called an AMF.
“What’s an AMF?” I asked.
“I don’t think it’s for you, Dad,” CJ said.
“What’s in it?”
“Everything,” he said. “AMF stands for Adios, Mother Fucker.”
There was the hint of a challenge in his tone. “Make it two,” I told the bartender.
Three AMFs later I realized the drink was aptly named. How I walked back to our hotel is a mystery, but I did discover a new drink. The things we learn from our children.What was the last drink to knock you off your ass? Tell me about it. I have a full bar waiting and I’m ready to experiment.