Nerves of Steel…

Whenever I want to flex my risk-taking muscles I send Hubby to the LBS to stock up on wine.

He thinks wine is reprehensible and a foul excuse for a drinking pleasure.  He’s a beer or cocktail kind of guy. Our first meal the evening we arrived in New York City two weeks ago was at the Heartland Brewery , Midtown West, on 8th and 41st.  Lovely place. Great atmosphere.  Very fun, actually. A place with, well, beer.  Lots of beer.  Everywhere.  The friends with whom we were travelling and Hubby are all beer swilling enthusiasts so they were all quite excited about having a ‘good dark ale’ or a Blue Moon (in which a fine orange is sacrificed in order to add something of value to this miserable stein of extended yeast).  After much above-my-head discussion about ambers and ales and processing, R. and D. decided on the Harvest Wheat Beer (an amber beer, I learned, though what exactly that means I did not learn) and Hubby ordered the Red Rooster Ale (for reasons which escaped me).

I, being somewhat dither-headed perhaps from the flight, or feeling daring and adventurous due to the overstimulation of a gazillion city lights on my occipital lobe, thought it would be fitting and fun to try a beer.  I asked the waiter what he might recommend for a non-beer drinker such as myself.

He smiled a telling smile – a smile that told me he a) admired my zest for adventure, and b) wished he were anywhere but here between an ale-house and a non-yeast-imbiber.  He suggested the Indian River Light.  Fine.  Excellent.  Bring me the smallest stein of that you’ve got.  Maybe a shot glass would work? His smile thinned and he made his escape.  Clearly a beer snob.

 The first sip was …. aaallllriiiight…. I guess.  I wasn’t gagging so that was good sign.  My party was watching with discerning eyes, minds keen to pick up any facial cues that might give me away.  The second sip went down a little sharp and perhaps a little screwy expression passed over my face.  Maybe.  By then their eyebrows were raised and little wrinkles were forming at the edges of their mouths.  They’d taken hearty gulps and were wiping froth from their lips with crumpled paper napkins by the time I pushed the little mug of yellow stuff away and said, “Here.  Let me try yours!” to which they generously agreed.  I thought the Wheat Beer might have made it up to four or five sips before being rejected and the Red Rooster Ale I’ve blocked from my memory.  I think Hubby got my leftovers. I contented myself with ice water.

Anyhow, sometimes when the wine cellar gets a little hollow and Hubby’s out and about anyways, I make him a little list and shoo him away, not to come home until he’s got a couple or three bottles of wine. We aren’t big drinkers here. Social drinking happens, but on our own, almost never. On a hot muggy day Hubby will have a beer. A box of beer can last up to year if he isn’t serving it to company. He likes to sip at Irish  Cream or Kahlua on ice sometimes, going through a bottle over the course of two or three months.  And on my own I’d never open a bottle of wine – it would go off long long before I could finish it alone. Half my friends aren’t drinkers at all and prefer tea to anything else I could offer (I keep my tea pantry full to the brim and overflowing!). So just a few bottles of wine can last me an entire season unless I’m hosting more often than usual.

The first time Hubby ventured out alone to the Liquor Board Store was in preparation for our 20th anniversary, December 23rd, 2009. He was planning the event as a surprise for me and I only knew we were going to be renting a cabin out in the boonies (boonies can be found within a half hour of where we live!!) and I needed to pack outdoorsy clothes. I was snuggling in to my bedcovers a week or so before when he came in, thinking we should plan a celebration drink for the occasion.  Wonderful idea! He asked what I’d like for that? Hmmm… Quickly eliminating both beer and wine, I threw out a few wintery suggestions:  Maybe hot chocolate with Peppermint Schnapps? Or a blueberry tea made with Amaretto and Grand Marnier?  A Hot Toddy? Or how about apple cider with bourbon?? Hmmmm, buttered rum maybe? He scribbled on a crumpled scrap of paper and left me to my pillow.

Several days later I was breaking out supper when he crashes through the door with a box as big as he could carry, the kind you have to peek around because you can barely see over and you have to lean forward to set down or you’ll be thrown off balance. I closed the door behind him and stood waiting for some explanation.  He lifted the flaps and let me peek inside: he had all the ingredients for every single drink I’d suggested!!  He had schnapps and amaretto and grand marnier and vodka and rum and bourbon and also irish cream and Kahlua.  I think he’d picked up amarula and a chocolate liqueur, a bottle of wine, some coolers and some specialty beers.  He must have spent half a paycheque on alcohol!!  I was speechless (an admittedly rare occasion) and he shrugged, “Thought I’d cover all the bases and leave us with lots of options.”

Just wow.

So it’s not very often that I send Hubby out to the LBS alone.  He requires supervision to ensure moderation.  However, I took the risk today.  I sent him with a list – a precaution that I’d hoped meant he’d feel a few restraints! –  that included a few whites and a coupla reds. Gave him some budgetary guidelines. He was studiously attentive and then out the door.  Came back a few hours later.  With a box. I had to smile.

Shiraz, Pinot Noir, Pinot Noir, Malbec, Menage a Trois, Irish Cream, Pinot Grigio, Riesling, Moscato: all set for, like, the next six months!

Shiraz, Pinot Noir, Pinot Noir, Malbec, Menage a Trois, Irish Cream, Pinot Grigio, Riesling, Moscato: all set for, like, the next six months!

He said he walked in and asked the first idle clerk he found, “Are you good with wines?” She replied she was “not bad”.  He handed her the list and came home with this. What you don’t see here is the box of bottled Caesars, and the box of Iced Tea beer that he loaded directly into his fridge in the shop.  For when the boys come over.

Meanwhile, I’m ready for the next Writers’ Group meeting or Girls’ Hottub Party! 😀

2 thoughts on “Nerves of Steel…

  1. So fun!
    I’m not normally a beer-swiller either, but I had a red draft the other day and the ginormous glassful went down so well hat I ordered another…. Which didn’t taste nearly as good.
    You’re teaching me to drink wines, perhaps I could help you with…. Nah. Nothin. I’ll just keep swing your wine. Writers ahoy!

    • All silliness and ridiculosity. I’ll continue every two or three years to retry beer. But I think I’m a lost cause that way! I do understand though that you have been taking beer-drinking lessons from that beer-swilling writer, Meaka Kyel! Between my influence and hers you’ll be a well rounded drinker in no time!! 😀

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