With the holiday season and in-laws nipping at our heels, rainy days, and time off from work, many of us find ourselves indulging in spirits. And no, I don’t mean elevating our mood through natural forces. I mean sipping on eggnog till our Aunty Beth’s wart looks like a beauty mark; or Uncle Tom and his husband Larry drinking martinis until slurred speech sounds normal; or just hoping Grandpa Mark, after a half-dozen bourbons, won’t say anything about Grandma Jane’s new bouffant hairdo.
Now, understandably, not every family has a thing for boozin’ during the holidays, or at any time for that matter. But then again, we all know at least one friend, relative or neighbor who likes to tear it up when he or she has nothing better to do.
So I am here to help you understand, once again, what happens when Dr. Jekyll gets a little of the sauce in his blood. I would like to introduce to you Mr. Hyde.
A winter favorite, eggnog:
One month out of 12 a year, the most well-kept, conservative person can finally break on through to the other side. These people are the kind who wouldn’t be caught dead with an empty six-pack in the recycling bin after a Friday night; they won’t have a liquor cabinet in their home; and above all else, they wouldn’t be drinking anything that remotely looks like an alcoholic beverage. While many will have a glass or two of this festive concoction of eggs, milk, sugar and cream, the true eggnog drinker needs only a small amount of the heavily liquored (brandy and rum) holiday favorite to get the whole room talking.
Similar to the effects of a white Russian (Kahlua, vodka and cream) — sweet, creamy so one would barely notice the alcohol — eggnog drinkers rarely know what they are getting themselves into. To identify one who has been sipping the nog, consider the usually quiet and chaste cousin turned loud and obnoxious woman who is chasing around Uncle Joe’s best friend with a snippet of mistletoe.
Bourbon, an old-timer’s drink of choice:
Nothing personal to the young people out there who love their fair share of bourbon, but oftentimes the body-warming substance is usually appreciated by seasoned veterans of boozin’. I never really understood why anyone would want to drink something that was, in fact, room temperature, but somehow tasted like warm rocket fuel.
Upon spying on these drinkers, I have found that they are the jolliest. Silly and sarcastic, they can turn times of recession and depression into a season of optimism and thanks: “I didn’t need that job anyhow! Here is to a great year of looking for the job I really want!” While most know he is just temporarily optimistic, I encourage you to sit and join in the conversation. A drunk bourbonite will surely lighten the mood of the party. Just in case you can’t locate one, you can usually find one near a television looking for some sports game of the old alma mater.
White wine — too light to notice:
I honestly believe that people who enjoy white wine only indulge in the substance because the names are fun to say and make you sound sophisticated: I will have a chardonnay, monsieur; Riesling is my favorite; the Chablis is fabulous.
White wine drinkers are often the elite of society. They drink from a stemmed glass, they have a good look about them, and they have learned to sip their drink, no matter how much they want to gulp. Since wine has about twice the alcohol of beer, they can drink less, not be bloated and get messed up all at the same time.
They often drink a little too much. Once they acquire the taste for the stuff, they might as well be drinking grape juice. They can often be recognized as the overly loving mother who insists her children are the cutest and smartest and sweetest kids ever born, or as the middle sibling who never let go of the fact she never got the attention she deserved. Note: In my experience, most white-wine drinkers are women.
This wraps up my second edition of, You are what you drink. Please stay tuned for the next round of this column, where I will discuss red-wine drinkers, rum and the infamous Jagermeister. If room allows, I will explore mixed drinks.