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The Wrong Way to Invent a Cocktail

First, go to your favorite restaurant to celebrate your anniversary. You will be celebrating late. Very late. You have recently roared, screaming and delighted, up-and-down-and-whirly-through a rollercoaster of manic-powered mental illness , in the throws of which you have packed up your whole family, even both dogs, and moved them thirty miles into town.

Even the cat you DO NOT LIKE was moved, gently, via cat carrier, in the front seat of your car, and he was cussing you out it Meowish the WHOLE way, so that you turned to him and said, “You yellow hell-filled crap-sack, if you do not stop cussing at me I am going back to the house to pack you in with the dishes and let the MOVERS tote you over!” But you moved him. Even he will seem happier in the new place. Less horrifying anyway. Don Draper will make him a poster, saying, “Boggart-cat, now with 26% less Satan…if you like that sort of thing.”

You moved in a frenzy so frenzious that the gap between saying, “I want to move,” and sleeping for the first time in the new house was two months, to the day. And somewhere in that two month gap, fell and plummeted and sunk and was lost your 18 or 19th or 17th anniversary. One of those bland numbered ones, somewhere between the excitement of the My Marriage Can Drive anniversary and the delicious, chilled glasses of My Marriage Can Order A Cocktail anniversary. You missed it.

SO, you will be celebrating your anniversary late. Maybe, you will say to each other, Maybewe are not even celebrating our anniversary. Maybe, at this point, we are just having a REALLY nice dinner.

But you drink as if it is a celebration. You drink as if the new house is SO close to your favorite restaurant you can WALK to it (you can) so WHY NOT. You begin with a weird fancy dark almost FIG colored cocktail in a 1950’s champagne glass. Itis not oversweet, but foamy and crisp and delightful.


It is so delicious, you have two of them. It tastes strong. But you have two, anyway, because it is the soonest time you have gone to a nice place since your anniversary passed in a frenzy of hurling everything you own either toward Good Will or into boxes.

And then your waiter, who KNOWS you—it is that kind of place—brings you champagne with dessert because he knows it is your quasi-anniversary.

SO! After dessert, POST Champagne, in a dimly lighted place, you go tripping all tipsy-like to the bar and ask the lady HOW DID YOU MAKE THAT DARK BROWN FOAMLICIOUS CONCOCTION? Heh.

You will, of course, have no paper. You will have no pen. SO you will pull out your checkbook and one of your daughter’s paint pens and scribble down the words you THINK she is saying across the bar, while the pen fumes make you slightly high and the guy beside you yells all delighted toward his friend’s face and your ear about a thing that happened in a sport one time earlier that made him very excited.

Some of the things you write down will make sense. Shot of Egg whites. Of course. This explains the foam. You were thinking maybe pineapple but the drink was not SWEET. And lemon juice, obviously, and the simple syrup is simple enough. But…

Other things you write down will later look like, “Lion Sprite R. Dark Mortlet.”

You do not know what a Lion Sprite is, but it sounds mythological, like a fairy with a mane, or worse, or like a Coca-Cola product that did not make it past market research. “A refreshing blend of Lemon, Lime, and Veldt Predator!” No, thank you.

You feel equally concerned about putting something called a Mortlet into a comestible. Mortlet sounds inherently fatal. Mortlet would be a good name for a tiny poison, or for Mordred’s equally sociopathic, Arthur-hating first cousin.

You will also be flummoxed by “Shot of Portal Muskrattle Dark.” MUSKRATTLE? As if Sally stepped out on Sam with a diamondback snake and produced a simply terrifying baby. No. NO, THANK YOU.

But you go to Greene’s liquor store on Ponce ANYWAY, because they have EVERYTHING. And the gods smile, so you run into this awesome bartender fromLeon’s Full Service. He is right THERE knowing everything humanly possible to know about whiskey, and he recognizes you, because he is that kind of fellow. He kindly agrees to peek into your checkbook, and he is a certified LIQUOR GENIUS. He demystifies the Lion Sprite R. Dark Mortlet INSTANTLY, correctly interpreting it As LION’S PRIDE DARK MILLET.

It is a rye. Made with millet, natch. This seems less horrifying than a lion sprite, except it is FIFTY FOUR FLIPPIN’ AMERICAN GREEN FOLDY DOLLARS A BOTTLE, which, THAT is more horrifying, actually, than the Lemon-Lime-EssenceofCarnivore thing you were picturing in your head.

You do not believe in putting anything that spendy into a MIXED drink. For fifty-four dollars a bottle, a single sip, straight up, should be a FRICKEN REVELATION. It should produce TEARS, a DEEP APPRECIATION OF LIFE, and CURE LEPROSY as a side-effect. It should not require egg whites and a cherry to sprounce it up.

Plus, Greene’s only has the Lion’s Pride LIGHT Millet anyway. They are out of Dark.

Your favorite barkeep will point you to Redemption Rye as a less spendy sub. Though it is PALE and he says the Lion’s Pride would be a very dark brown. This will be significant later.

He can’t help with Portal Muskrattle Dark, but he wonders … Maybe that Portal word is PORT, run amuckishly into some other word?

Well, you have a port-like wine from California at home. So. Off you go to play mixologist. The combo of the lighter rye with the port and the opaqueness of the egg whites will make YOUR version look like Barney threw it up, but it will taste quite nice, thank you. Yes, thank you.

Thank you very much.

7 comments to The Wrong Way to Invent a Cocktail

  • “A refreshing blend of Lemon, Lime, and Veldt Predator!” <— BAHAHAHAHA

  • Jennifer Kepesh

    First: No, thank YOU for nearly making me pour a cup of hot tea down my front this morning. I held it together for Lion Sprite, but lost it with the rodent-squamata tryst, especially with the instant mental soundtrack it evoked.
    Second: I am thrilled that you used the word “spendy” not once but twice in this post. My first encounter with “spendy” was on a ferry to Alaska, where the crew member announcing our short stop at a tiny city cautioned us to be back on the boat before we left, because, while Alaska Airlines does fly out of there, the tickets were kind of spendy. I have been hoping to get this word into wider circulation ever since. It is really under-utilized.
    Third: There is a time and a place for internet search (painter whose work looks like ge…), but it is definitely not at the table during your anniversary dinner. See how much better life turned out because Joshilyn didn’t just look the drink up on an i-device while she were drinking it? She had a lovely evening and we got a lovely story and a scary purple drink out of it.

  • Laura

    Could that be “a shot of port or dark muscatel”?
    (It seems oddly non-specific compared to a particular brand of rye, but “muskrattle” does seem likely to me to be muscatel…)

  • I laughed so hard, my teenager came to investigate & stayed to laugh with me after I read him the funniest parts!
    I am experimenting with ways to incorporate these catchphrases into everyday life…as a Shakespearean type of insult?! “You, sir, are a revolting mix of lemon, lime, and veldt predator!”

  • Aimee

    Someone needs to IMMEDIATELY write the story of Mortlet, Mordred’s equally sociopathic Arthur-hating first cousin. Write it super-extra quickly and then bring it to Comic-Con next year. Mortlet should be played by Alan Cumming.

  • brigitte

    Ah, Excalibur. My favorite movie, visual-wise!

  • well, of course I am dyslexic .. so when you wrote, “Mortlet” … I some how interpreted it as “Voldermort” … and I am sure anything he would drink is a disturbing color of Barney Purple.

    So – well named, thanks for finding the less spendy selection – and congrats on the “wedded day celebrated ‘somewhere in time’ …”