My earliest memory of hootch dates back to when I was about 6 years old. I know what you’re thinking, drinking at 6 years old, “what a bad-ass chick”! LOL! Alright, I was 6 and at the beginning phase of what would be a life long quest to calm an inquiring mind.
My dad was sitting down enjoying an ice old beer on one the many hot, humid Panamanian summers. I roamed over to see what he was doing, peering into a tall glass of what I thought looked like pee. I wanted to try what he was drinking. He looked so happy and smelled a little funny. Pee or not, I was curious. He smiled at me and asked me if I wanted to try it. I nodded. Unbeknownst to me, the bitterness and subtle yeasty character of beer was not so bad. I didn’t hate it. I can still taste the acidity lingering on the tiny buds coating my tongue. My dad chuckled and patted me on the head. I scrambled away satisfied with the experience toward my baby brother and smothered him with unwelcomed kisses. It was good times!
The next collection of memories over the coming years were those of good ol’ high school. There were many drunken moments with boisterous friends and ex-boyfriends, causing raucous after school. I can’t say I miss the days I spent puking my guts out with my long hair pulled back. One incident in particular that still stuck with me, happened after a night of heavy spaghetti and meatball gorging. The festivities could not continue without a few rounds of Grey Goose, Patron and good ol’ JD. I wish it had. It was embarrassing being the only one regurgitating up half digested strings of white pasta, red sauce and chunks of animal. Not pretty. I was forgiven, after all, I wasn’t label “pukey guts” for no reason. I was a cheap drunk, what can I say, still am…
However repulsive, my greatest moments with alcohol are of those sitting on the porch with my then high-school sweetheart sipping Inniskillin’ ice wine and smoking enormous Cohibas. It was one of our favorite past times after a nice meal during the summer months. We’d sit and chat, occasionally with his dad next to us. I’d listen in on political conversations bantered back and forth as my head pounded from too much nicotine too fast. I eventually settled for few puffs I’d bum off my porch partner until I discovered cigarillos. One day, appalled that I didn’t know how to play chess, he taught me to play. Some nights were competitive evenings over booze and smokes. He didn’t care too much for the sweet aromatic wine. He drank the manly stuff. Needless to say, my sweet palate developed from then on. I always have a bottle of ice wine, for those just in case moments. I’ve tried a few brands to expand my repertoire, but always with faves guarded faithfully.
Today, I appreciate all types of wines. In this passage, I share with all of you the brilliant and sometimes not so brilliant reds and crystal to golden whites and explore and learn with you through “Palate Stories” of what is undoubtedly one of food’s best companions…fermented grape juice!
“If you can’t eat ’em…eat ’em anyway!” – Cheekynibbles