Sunday, August 14, 2005

Rum - 80 proof, 100% fun

I am not, by nature, a drinker. Despite that all varieties of fermented beverages have passed beyond my lips, I would not call myself an experienced imbiber. In fact, I drink so infrequently that a simple beer or two is often enough to get me feeling a little lightheaded. This isn't a fact I share with most people, because the common belief is that manhood is directly related to how much damage you can do to your liver and with what potency of drink- there's nothing more masculine than grimacing through a shot of some evil-smelling liquid that is normally used to clean airplane engines.

As a child, I often wondered why alcohol was so coveted by adults that they needed to withhold it from youngsters. The concept of drunkenness is absolutely alien to kids, whose only experience with an altered state is waking up groggily on an icy school morning. No, I reasoned that it must taste so amazing and wonderful that it was reserved as a special treat for those who had lived to that ripe old age of 21. I imagined liquid honey dripping from bottles, sweet as ambrosia without a too-sweet aftertaste.

So imagine my surprise when in college, I was offered my first drink- a beer with a name so long that I had to think it was delicious- Icehouse Dry-filtered Light or somesuch. I have since learned that a beer's quality is often inversely proportional to the length of it's name. This is why you order a Guinness or Bass in a bar. Regardless, I was shocked and disappointed with the taste, as you can imagine. It tasted like water that had taken a right turn into a sewer and then come out again. It being college, and an attractive co-ed nearby, I'm sure I reacted with the opposite reaction I just had. That said, you could see the same reaction on everyone's face: that slight twingle of the eyes, the small pursing of the lips- It was obvious that nobody was impressed, but none could admit it.

Since that low point, I've had a number of excellent beverages- imported beers, wines and better-than-average alcohols. They are all pretty vile, overall. Let me qualify that: They're terrible for the palate that is craving refreshment. This might be due to the fact that the process of creating them requires that you take something normal (grapes for wine, barley and hops for beer and old shoes for vodka) and letting them rot in a barrel for a while. Or you could use their term and call it "fermentation."

The only exception to this is rum. Yes, it's still rotting in a barrel somewhere, but it's made from sugar. Sugar, you may know, tastes very good. Rum, while not tasting as good as sugar, is still not too bad. And it has the obvious historical connections that appeal to me. The rhyme doesn't go, "Yo ho ho and a bottle of Fresca" for a reason.

Like any alcohol, however, overindulgence can be dangerous. I dressed as Jack Sparrow a few Halloweens ago. Naturally and logically, I assumed that by wearing clothes that resembled a movie character, I would inherit the powers of the character. That is, I thought I could drink rum like water. I certainly made a good try out of it. After the second glass in which ice was an afterthought, I was dancing around the room. After the third, I was returning the rum and the other contents of my stomach back to the Earth from whence they came.

Upon waking from unconsciousness with a splitting headache and wondering why I was wearing boots and a sash, I did what every reformed-upon-waking-from-near-deadly-intake-of-alcohol person does- First, I stared blearily at the sun, and then I swore upon the Nine Hells that I would never drink like that again. So far, I've avoided inebriation to that extent, but the vehement pledge I once made always chimes less forcefully after time.

Now, I'm just waiting for someone to tell me about the Super Secret Malcohol, which is only legal to those 30 and older. It tastes like the breath of angels, and can be drunk by the gallon, and the only side effect is euphoria.


At 3:24 AM, Blogger ChickyBabe said...

Well written post :).

That's one side effect I would embrace with open arms. But how did I know rum would be your drink? ;)

At 6:54 AM, Blogger Knows It All said...

Anything other than beer or wine serves as a truth syrum for me, and leaves me sick and hungover. Rum makes me a little....well, it can have the affect of magnifying my mojo. Bad bad stuff. I refrain.

At 3:51 PM, Blogger issuational said...

As an Aussie drinking is part of our staple, though I know nothing about rum, but plenty about hangovers that seem like death...I've heard Bundy rum which is Australian is particularly vicious, but also has a love it or hate it quality...thanks for dropping by my blog, I've said it many times that I would move to the US just for Apple Jacks...

At 1:57 AM, Blogger chica bonita said...

i don't like alcohol in general. i used to down tequila in large doses when i was younger. right now, it's just good old sunny malibu with coke for me coz the last time i got drunk, i was hugging the toilet bowl to sleep rather than my soft toys. eww...

At 11:59 AM, Blogger Mahd said...

ChickyBabe, it wasn't always. But a man's got to keep up appearances. I can't be drinking vodka martini's!

Knows It All, Probably for the best, given those side-effects. I actually don't get hangovers too much if I drink moderately.

issuational, It's interesting that Americans probably consume more alcohol than any other nation, yet we're not known for it. Probably because our national beers are kind of gross.

chica bonita, I've noticed that as I've gotten older, my taste and tolerance for alcohol is decreased. Ironic that we pursue alcohol when we're young and it's illegal, but when we're old enough to enjoy it, we don't partake as often.

At 2:08 AM, Anonymous mark said...

nicely written.
only, seriously, you had to throw up after three glasses of rum? damn, i know i can drink alot before hitting my limit, but this is gotta be the lowest limit i've heard of this far, not trying to make assault you, not everyone is created equally.
nice writing though.


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