Category Archives: Drink

Stroh

It has long been my view that New Year’s Eve is a bunch of hype about nothing – the date clicks over and we’re expected to drink ourselves into insensitivity so that we can join hands and sing the few words to Auld Lang Syne that anyone knows, while some ball drops in Times Square or a group of inebriates counts backwards from ten. Then we’re supposed to kiss, shake hands and wish each other a Happy New Year, before trooping out into the night, perchance to sleep and reawaken, faced with the same load of old bollocks as last year, only now with the addition of an outsized, fuck-off hangover. The only thing worse is being at home, and having to watch celebrity new year activities on TV; I can only assume that 31 December is a hot suicide date.

This year, however, we went to a party at a friend’s house and, in contrast to the picture of misery above, it was excellent. The food was outstanding and beyond plentiful, as was the liquor, with at least ten different single malts available, plus about twenty beers. In fact, there was a game where we had to guess which beer was which on a list of fifteen, by taste. The list included offerings from England, Ireland, Belgium, Italy and Mexico, as well as some decent American beers. It did not include any Bud Light, Miller Light, Coors Light or Michelob Light. In fact next year I’m planning to arrange a taste test with just American Light Beer, along with Donkey Urine as a wild card.

Unfortunately I had consumed an excessive quantity of Mrs Bison’s home-made soup at lunch, so by the time I’d loaded up with food at the party I had little room left for beer. What do you do when the space available for liquor is too small for regular beverages? Switch to something stronger of course, and not much is stronger than Stroh 80.

I picked up this 80% alcohol Austrian spirit years ago at a duty-free because I couldn’t believe anything could be that strong. It has a taste reminiscent of kerosene with a light flavoring of charred chocolate, and it will burn all the way to your genitals and back again when you drink it neat. This is, I have to say, the only safe way to consume it, because if you blend it in, say, Coke, you will have no idea how fucked up you are getting until it’s too late. Then you too might find yourself vomiting from the upper deck of an open-topped bus. (But that’s another, much older story.)

Having called it a day at about 3AM, after beer, red wine, vodka cocktails, champagne, Scotch and the aforementioned Stroh, I was ready for the traditional breakfast of champions this afternoon. Yes, I made a pilgrimage to McDonalds because, for no accountable reason, I fancied a quarter pounder with cheese and some shit fries. As I may have mentioned in the past, new year’s resolutions are for arseholes, but if pressed to make one on this first of the year I would have to choose “Never Eat At McDonalds Again”. Their motto should be “A Little Slice Of The Ghetto In Suburbia”. Not only was the food shit (even by their desperately low standards) but as the sole occupants of the establishment we were treated to a ringside seat at a staff dispute between female staff members:

“Have you clocked out?”
“Ahm just leavin'”
“Ah’ll write you up agin.”
“Ah knew you would, you just causin’ trouble.”
“Wah don’ chew just leave?”
“—”
“What you jist say to me?”
“Nuthin – I wuz jist talkin’ to mahself.”
“Well don’t you be walking by me saying that stuff.”
“I wouldna come in if ah’d known you wuz on.”
“Well ah’ll make sure ahm on every day so what you gonna do then?”
“You ain’t gonna have a job much longer’s what ah heard.”
“You ain’t comin’ behind here again. You don’t got no reason to come behind mah counter.”

And so on, until we finished out styrofoam fries and fucked off into the wintry sunshine. I’d planned to take something back home to Mrs Bison, but I was buggered if I was going to buy more crap food at the FcDonalds soap opera that was unfolding, so I went instead to the Hardees drive-through, where the service was quick, the Little Thick Burger was excellent and the fries were (according to Bison Daughter) much better. What was I thinking? I know Hardees is better than FcDonalds…

I can only assume that the Stroh killed off more brain cells last night than I’d realized, specifically those associated with good judgment. Still, it’s now 2009, and the Darwinian economic apocalypse that is in full swing should hopefully result in dismal establishments like our local FcDonalds going to the wall. Survival of the fittest, that was Darwin’s big thing. Having survived the Stroh though I’m more inclined to the wisdom of Nietzsche: what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. By that line of thinking I’m about ready for anything 2009 has to offer.

Copyright © 2009 Edward Bison

Sherry?


It looks like this year we will have a proper Christmas party at the office. Or, to be more precise, at some venue to be determined, where employees and spouses will be invited to come and make merry in a seasonally acceptable manner. This will be the first time in more than fifteen years that any company for which I work will have had a “real” party. Most of that time I’ve been in the States and I get the impression that these events fell out of favor because of the high risk that someone would either get frisky in the coat closet, drive drunk into a lake or vomit on a senior executive, none of which are really conducive to long term career aspirations.

In fact, the last party I remember was the first year I ever worked, at a small company in the UK. The party was held at a hotel close to the office and the entertainment consisted of drinking, eating, drinking, dancing, drinking, singing, drinking and staggering to the toilet. I had to get dressed up in a tux, which immediately made me feel like a prize dick, precipitating much initial drinking to dull the shame.

I have few memories of the dinner itself; I can picture the room, and some round tables. I can still see the size of the last glass of brandy that my boss poured for me (about three inches deep) and I can recollect walking in a perfectly straight line to the bathroom (although colleagues the next day swore blind that I’d been bent over unsteadily). Nevertheless the evening passed off without incident; I did not vomit, I kept my penis inside my trousers, I failed to insult anyone with the power to end my career, I avoided dancing with anyone’s wife and resting my head on their ample breasts while staggering around the room and I left at a somewhat reasonable hour to return, in a taxi, to the house that I shared.

Unfortunately that’s where things started to go wrong. The psycho bitch landlady from next door had gifted us a bottle of sherry for the festive season (she was not above fucking with your head by bestowing odd gifts, even as you imagined her standing at the end of your bed with a meat cleaver, ready to dismember yout still-twitching corpse). Now sherry is one of those drinks that sits in the cupboard, lurking, regarded as basically undrinkable until some fateful moment. I remember someone pointing out once that if you ever get a bottle of sherry you should throw it away immediately, while you are sober; otherwise what will happen is that you will arrive home slightly drunk and someone will suddenly think what a great idea it would be to have a glass of that sherry. You will then get sick and undergo a near-death experience.

On this occasion I got home to find one of my housemates still awake. Ths sherry sat ominously on the sideboard. We needed a drink, but only the sherry was available. How bad could it be? We had a small glass, and then a larger one. The next thing I remember is waking up on the sofa with my tongue stuck lopsidedly to the roof of my mouth, a near-empty bottle of sherry next to me and the feeling that I’d just licked a long-haired cat, followed by the bottom of a hamster’s cage. I went to bed without further ado, but was rewarded the next morning with the third-worst hangover of my life. (Yes, I do remember the top two, as well as numbers four and five, simply because they distinguished themselves on the basis of frequency/quantity of vomiting, desire to die and length of time before I could face food again.)

The moral of this story is that sherry is the drink of satan, poised in some forgotten cupboard somewhere, just waiting for a moment of drunken weakness to overpower you and force you onto your knees to repeatedly drive the porcelain bus. If you find it, throw it out now, before it’s too late. On reflection I’d have been better off staying at the office party and conducting an impromptu “who’s got the ugliest balls” competition with the sales team. It could hardly have had worse long term career implications for me than the loss of all those brain cells I sacrificed to the sherry bottle…

Copyright 2007 Edward Bison