Are you starting to think that I'm being driven to drink as my post yesterday and now, today, is about alcohol? A few comments yesterday expressed concern; I believe there were even subtle suggestions that alcohol isn't the answer.
I want to allay your fears. I'd make the point that I've never been a drinker and can't imagine becoming an alcoholic at the age of 48. I guess you never know, but like I explained yesterday, drinking doesn't make me do anything other than feel sleepy, and I don't really enjoy the sleepy feeling. I'd also add that I'm a very social person, and when I drink I become increasingly not-so-social (again, the sleepiness) and would rather disappear -- to bed, preferably. Alone.
So. If you're new to the blog (and I have gotten some new readers who are very welcome!), you might also think that The Husband has a Mistress. I have gotten comments expressing wonder, astonishment and even admiration that my tolerance is such that I can joke about The Mistress. I'll allay your fears here as well. The Mistress is my husband's Job. He is a chef and literally works 12-20 hours a day six days and sometimes seven days a week. The Mistress is demanding and The Husband has little to any sway over those demands.
So, we've cleared those things up.
What about the title of this post? It's the title of a book that my son Henry gave me for Christmas. It's very cool, and he was very proud that he got it for me from my favorite bookstore, helped by my favorite bookstore maven, Liz. Here's a little excerpt from the book:
Cocktails were morning drinks. Drinking in the morning often means getting over what you were drinking last night, and that kind of behavior is what they used to call dissipated. If that wasn't sufficiently nefarious, cocktails contained bitters. Bitters may sound benign to modern ears, but at the dawn of the nineteenth century, they were medicine. Adding them to cocktails was the equivalent of dousing one's beer with Nyquil. No one knows for sure how the cocktail got its name, but I am certain it was because these were your wake-up call -- like a rooster heralding the early morning light. And the plumage? Those spicy bitters... If you drank a cocktail, you were a little dangerous, and therein lay the seeds of its fame.I have to admit that I love both of these words, both as descriptors and for themselves:
dissipated and bitters.
Since I've talked about alcoholism and mistresses, dissipation, bitters and my own tolerance for all of them, including a bit of Tolstoy love yesterday, I think I'll also include a recipe from the book for a drink that might really rock your world. Here it is:
Shake the following otherwise bourgeois ingredients in a cocktail shaker, and strain into a cocktail glass:
1 ounce gin
1 ounce orange juice
1/2 ounce cherry brandy (Cherry Heering is recommended)
1/2 ounce fresh lemon juice
What about the photo at the top of the post? Well, that's my paternal grandfather, an Italian immigrant who owned a bar and grill in Harlem. That photo is one of my favorites and causes the most ruckus when I ask the viewer to pick out my grandfather in the bunch. While you might be tempted to think otherwise, there is no alcoholism that I know of in my family.