Friday, June 15, 2012

learning the Tom Collins

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The Chinese refer to any alcoholic drink as 酒 (jiu), which is sort of a catch-all word we use for beer (啤酒), wine (葡萄酒), or spirits (白酒). And my culture doesn't believe in the wine connoisseur. No, you're either a wine drinker or not, and if you are, well, it's not something to broadcast to friends and family. There's still this odd stigma around drinking - it's considered something for the middle-aged, and certainly not something to consider making a career out of. I've never cared for that kind of opinion, but it's just a bit jarring to hear an aunt still warning me to stay away from bars; you shouldn't be drinking at your age.

I'm a wino, as ferocious of one as you'll ever find, so of course I want to learn how to do everything alcohol related. Cocktails are hardly part of the repertoire, but a well-balanced, icy cold drink in the heat of summer is pure, mind-melting pleasure. Mojitos are a go-to drink in my house, but now that I've finally gotten my hands on a Boston shaker, I want to learn the Tom Collins. Equal parts fresh lemon juice and simply syrup, a healthy shot of Tanqueray gin, all into a shaker topped with ice.

And then you shake the fuck out of it.

Into a highball glass filled with ice, topped with sparkling water. You get that sour, that sweet, that beautiful herbaceous character of the gin. And I suddenly realized how useful and absolutely breathtaking these simple, classic cocktails can be. I've stopped pretending a long time ago that I should be ashamed of my drinking. How can you profess a love for wine and not admit that yes, you like to drink? I have no shame about it, no second thoughts; I'm a wino, following in the footsteps of the best and truest winos before me.

DF

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