“Attractive women of nineteen and of twenty-nine are alike in their breezy confidence; on the contrary, the exigent womb of the twenties does not pull the outside world centripetally around itself. The former are ages of insolence, comparable the one to a young cadet, the other to a fighter strutting after combat. But whereas a girl of nineteen draws her confidence from a surfeit of attention, a woman of twenty-nine is nourished on subtler stuff. Desirous, she chooses her aperitifs wisely, or, content, she enjoys the caviare of potential power.”
— F. Scott Fitzgerald, Tender Is the Night
As far as aperitifs go, I’ve decided to start drinking bourbon again. Here in brief is Bourbon, A Loving History.
First Taste, or Where Have You Been All My Life? The setting: Hank’s downtown. The time: first year of post-graduate education. I have had a few marked Points in my life after which Nothing Was Ever the Same. These occurred roughly around the ages of 14, 18, and 25. 25 was the last time – but I am optimistic that this year is the next one, best one. The 25 in me awaited upheaval in Hank’s. Passed the meantime drinking old drinks and wearing vestiges of another time (a vodka Collins, ladylike sandals), wondered what I should drink, what I should wear. The answer came unexpectedly, but that happens in empty bars with new friends. Especially when they order Maker’s and water. “I’ll have the same.”
(Hit slight hitch at Bob’s, Lower East Side, where water arrives in small glass alongside whiskey. Me: blank stare. Bartender: “you must not be from around here.”)
Mother’s Milk, or Home Is Wherever I’m With You. Fast forward to early 2007. The place: at Nikolaj’s house on Burnside, at Tom Bergin’s on Fairfax, at Mike’s loft on Los Angeles, at Royal Clayton’s, at the museum, on the plane. With faithful friends and alone, Home meant a cold, short glass in hand.
Disgrace! or A White Trash Version of Shania Karaoke. Farewell to summer, last school year about to open. Commence evening: Perbacco with a few old friends, a whole lot of Knob Creek. Next stop: Aqua (sadly, no memory of food). Brief interlude: stop to hug street sign on Market, “rest my eyes” on corner of Montgomery. End evening: best not tell the end. Wake up in the p.m., manage to get into vertical position in time for Date(?) at Thee Parkside (unsuccessful attempt to see band called Homeless Sexuals; wonder if hair still smells like throw-up). Obviously have not seen old friends since.
(Lengthy whiskey hiatus.)
2009 Black Kids/Mates of State tour: man proposes to girlfriend on stage; girlfriend too starstruck to notice ring. EHJ promises Bulleit will change my life; it does.
2010: the Recoil at Bloodhound (Bulleit, ginger beer, St. Germain, lime, served in generous Mason jar), as pictured below:
3 rounds with the new kiddies, farewell to their summer. Watch them flirt, hope I see them again. Next morning: many a visit to E’s desk drawer (specifically, to the Ibuprofen bottle).
Last night: a fingerful of Maker’s on ice, one part whisky, one part water. Consumed while eating my salad and listening to Exile in Guyville. It was a damn good night.