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Old 06-11-2019, 11:33 AM
StusBlues is offline
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Favorite Drinks (or Foods) for Unusual Reasons


When I was a freshman in college, my Honors Comp and Lit professor assigned James Baldwin's short story "Sonny's Blues" about a jazz pianist. It concludes with this passage:

Quote:
There was a long pause, while they talked up there in the indigo light and after awhile I saw the girl put a Scotch and milk on top of the piano for Sonny. He didn't seem to notice it, but just before they started playing again, he sipped from it and looked toward me, and nodded. Then he put it back on top of the piano. For me, then, as they began to play again, it glowed and shook above my brother's head like the very cup of trembling.
Some of the students questioned the phrase "cup of trembling," as well as the unusual composition of the drink. The former question was answered rather quickly by the next class period with a nod to Cruden's Concordance (this being before the days of searchable text), but the inclusion of Scotch and milk found itself more perplexing. As I looked 21 at the time, I did a fair amount of field research on the question, and the professor and I concluded that it had something to do with mixing the bitter and the pure, as well as the appearance that the drinker may well just be drinking milk. Later that year, Clint Eastwood's film biography of Charlie Parker (Bird) came out, and both the professor and I had what was probably the definitive answer: Scotch and milk was (ostensibly) Charlie Parker's drink, and Sonny was drinking it (along with shooting heroin) in emulation of his hero. Subsequently, after years of ordering Scotch and milk to the bewilderment of all but the most grizzled bartenders, I discovered that it was the drink of grizzled alcoholics who could only tolerate liquor if cushioned by dairy. I had been sending quite the message, it seems. I don't have it as often these days, even though I look the part a good deal more than I did at 19.

Two things:

1. It is interesting to note that Googling the phrase "cup of trembling" yields references to the Baldwin passage at the top.

2. More to the point, does anyone else have interesting stories about how they came to some favorite libations? (Or foods, for that matter.)
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  #2  
Old 06-11-2019, 11:47 AM
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I love Blenheim's Hot ginger ale. The first time I sampled some (on the street in Knoxville, outside the store I bought it at), I coughed reflexively, and sent a cloud of it into the air. The wind caught it and blew it into my wife's face, and set her to coughing. That made it noteworthy.

But I came to love it because it not only hurts so much to drink, but because watching my sons-in-law consume it and react to it makes me laugh. Every time.

It's our 'cup of pain'.
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Old 06-11-2019, 12:18 PM
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Fairly ordinary drink, but any time "company" was over, my dad made Old Fashioneds.

When I turned 18, I counted as "company", and I probably had hundreds of those over the years. You can get a range of tastes, from a Sour made with rye to a Sweet made with brandy (should be the Wisconsin state cocktail). But what they all have in common is that you get to fuss over making them.

My dad had this attitude of "Stand back, I'm about to do some Serious Bartending here." And he'd muddle an orange (maybe even sear the peel), bring out his special bitters, and macerate a particular brand of cherries in the bottom of each glass. It was as close to being a mad scientist as he ever got to play at.


(And now it's my turn. Siblings and kids who remember those often ask me to concoct them "one like dad's")
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Old 06-12-2019, 08:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StusBlues View Post
When I was a freshman in college, my Honors Comp and Lit professor assigned James Baldwin's short story "Sonny's Blues" about a jazz pianist. It concludes with this passage:



Some of the students questioned the phrase "cup of trembling," as well as the unusual composition of the drink. The former question was answered rather quickly by the next class period with a nod to Cruden's Concordance (this being before the days of searchable text), but the inclusion of Scotch and milk found itself more perplexing. As I looked 21 at the time, I did a fair amount of field research on the question, and the professor and I concluded that it had something to do with mixing the bitter and the pure, as well as the appearance that the drinker may well just be drinking milk. Later that year, Clint Eastwood's film biography of Charlie Parker (Bird) came out, and both the professor and I had what was probably the definitive answer: Scotch and milk was (ostensibly) Charlie Parker's drink, and Sonny was drinking it (along with shooting heroin) in emulation of his hero. Subsequently, after years of ordering Scotch and milk to the bewilderment of all but the most grizzled bartenders, I discovered that it was the drink of grizzled alcoholics who could only tolerate liquor if cushioned by dairy. I had been sending quite the message, it seems. I don't have it as often these days, even though I look the part a good deal more than I did at 19.

Two things:

1. It is interesting to note that Googling the phrase "cup of trembling" yields references to the Baldwin passage at the top.

2. More to the point, does anyone else have interesting stories about how they came to some favorite libations? (Or foods, for that matter.)
Adam Clayton Powell (minister, NY Rep) also favored scotch and milk
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Old 06-12-2019, 09:25 AM
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When I was in college I read Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises and I've been drinking whiskey and soda ever since.
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Old 06-12-2019, 10:11 AM
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When I was very young, my favorite food was blueberries, because they were my favorite color. And blue was my favorite color because it was the color of my favorite food.

Sometime around 1st or 2nd grade, I realized how silly that was, and my favorites shifted to pizza and green.
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Old 06-13-2019, 12:28 AM
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Many years ago in the SCA, I was introduced to Drambuie by a friend whose persona was a Pictish warrior (he himself came from pure Scottish stock). It has ever since been my go-to drink, neat or on the rocks. If I want a cocktail, I'll mix a Rusty Nail (scotch and Drambuie).

I was saddened to learn that David died in June 2005, just as I was preparing to leave Moscow for several months in Riga. IIRC, he was only 55.
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Old 06-13-2019, 03:35 AM
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Something like 30 years ago, when I was just 19 or 20, (too young to legally drink, but with a fake ID) I was flying down to Los Angeles to see the Grateful Dead, and was idly chatting with some older businessman-looking guy sitting next to me, and when it was time to order something to drink, I got a beer, and he did the same, but asked the flight attendant to bring a couple of cans of Bloody Mary mix with his.

When the drinks came, he handed me one of the cans of Bloody Mary mix, and told me that on an airplane, drinking beer with Bloody Mary mix was mandatory, something that absolutely had to be done, without fail. I was leery, but didn't want to look unsophisticated (I had only flew a handful of times before, with my completely non-drinking parents) so I went along with it.

Since then, I have flown hundreds of times, and virtually every single one of those subsequent flights (at least in the USA, European airlines often do not stock Bloody Mary mix) has included a beer and a can of Bloody Mary mix.
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Old 06-13-2019, 03:48 AM
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Originally Posted by Royal Nonesutch View Post
I got a beer, and he did the same, but asked the flight attendant to bring a couple of cans of Bloody Mary mix with his.
Sounds like a Redeye.
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Old 06-13-2019, 07:59 AM
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Originally Posted by terentii View Post
Sounds like a Redeye.
Yeah, many variations on the name of beer + tomato juice (or similar). Red beer, bloody beer, red rooster. And it's basically also a type of michelada.

It's weird, as I too have cravings for tomato juice, bloody Mary mix, or full-on Bloody Marys whenever I fly. Since being a teenager, this was pretty much the only context I would order tomato juice as my drink order, and I have no idea where it comes from. I don't remember anybody who I flew with ordering it, but it's always been such a strong connection for me. Somehow, I never thought of going the beer + Bloody Mary mix route. Not sure why, as I enjoy micheladas during the summer. Will have to remember that for next time.
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Old 06-13-2019, 08:35 AM
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Sorry to continue the hijack, but apparently a lot of people drink tomato juice on airline flights and it's not totally clear why, but various articles speculate.
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Old 06-13-2019, 08:42 AM
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I fly on airlines like LOT and Aeroflot a couple of times a year, and they always have tomato juice on offer. Haven't noticed it on more Western airlines, though.
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Old 06-13-2019, 10:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by terentii View Post
I fly on airlines like LOT and Aeroflot a couple of times a year, and they always have tomato juice on offer. Haven't noticed it on more Western airlines, though.
Really? I don't think I've ever been on a flight that didn't have tomato juice (and/or Bloody Mary mix) on offer. Looking at, for example, Southwest Airlines' inflight menu, they have both Mr & Mrs T's Bloody Mary Mix and Mott's Tomato Juice. Same thing with United's menu. Same with American Airlines.

It's pretty much standard at least with US Airlines, but looking around, Virgin has tomato juice, British Airways has tomato juice; Air France has tomato juice, Lufthansa has it. Etc. I actually can't remember being on a flight that didn't have tomato juice as an option.

Last edited by pulykamell; 06-13-2019 at 10:03 AM.
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