Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Into the Bottle, Once Again

An aside: In the last two weeks Thriller Guy has read and reviewed three books with some form of the word “betrayal” in the title. Enough, publishers, let's use a little imagination!

OK, back to the topic under discussion.
When TG was just growing into manhood, his father took him aside to offer the following advice. “There are two rules our family has about drinking: 1. We take our iced tea without sugar;  2. We drink our liquor straight. Now get the hell out of here.”

Damn good advice; words of wisdom that TG has followed down these many long years. Old dad drank scotch, so that's what TG learned on, as it was the only liquor in the house to steal. TG and his pals would pour off some of whatever booze their parents had, not enough for it to be immediately noticeable, and then meet up of an evening in the city park where we would dump it all into one bottle (that would be scotch, sweet wine, bourbon, rye or anything else, all mixed together) and drink it until we were pretty high; then we would shoot each other with guns. My friend Steve Widemeyer had a derringer he stole from his father. It was a .30 caliber, but Steve found if you loaded it with a .22 shell with a matchstick jammed under it, the gun would fire just fine. We'd get sort of drunk and then Steve would shout “Run!” and everyone would take off in all directions and he'd shoot one of us. The bullet came out kind of rattling around at less than full speed, but it would hit you in the back and it would hurt like hell. How's that for stupid?

There is a current rage in TG's writers group, Squatting Toad, (see earlier entry about this group) for drinking chocolate vodka. Yes, it tastes good, but TG feels that this is less than a manly drink, maybe OK for mystery writers and hack poets, but Thriller Writers? No. Back when TG was with the “Boats” if that was your drink of choice you'd have gone to bed in your rack and awakened head-first in the latrine, dumped there by your buddies. And TG's daddy would have approved. Those boys drank beer and whiskey and didn't mix candy bars into the equation.

TG does love a great scotch and the newish single malt bourbons in this country are excellent libations. But until some astute publisher decides to pick up one of TG's novels currently being flacked by his agent, (those interested can contact TG through his alter ego or his first-class, really smart, very cool agent.) TG will have to stick to gin. Not that there's anything wrong with that. Gin has a long and esteemed pedigree and in eighteenth century England enjoyed a period of popularity that threatened to, at least according to the government, destroy society, at least among the lower classes. In 1743 the people of England were drinking 2.2 gallons of gin per head. Contrast that with American drinking of all spirits at .73 gallons per capita. (2007 data) We've become a nation of namby-pamby teetotalers. Wake up, America. For an interesting look at the 18th Century gin craze, click here.

TG believes, and this is after years of dedicated research, that the finest gin in the world, at least that's easily available in this country, is Hendricks. TG has long been a Tanqueray man, but after recently working his way through a giant bottle of Hendricks he now declares it his favorite. The problem is, it's expensive. Once this current bottle is empty (it was a birthday present from TG's excellent son) it's back to the cheap stuff. TG feels that it's easy to buy a superior product of anything if you throw enough money at it, but the real trick is finding something inexpensive that still remains of real value. So, as promised in an earlier blog, (insert drum roll) the winner of the Best Cheap Gin In America is... Burnett's. It's hard to get much, or any cheaper, than this gin, and yet the quality is high. Or at least high enough. It's usually found on the bottom shelf of your local liquor store, down with the real rot gut, in the clear green bottle. The convenient plastic bottle is just fine; when it slips out of your drunken grasp there's no chance of breakage. It runs around $15.00 or less for a half gallon, which makes it affordable to writers everywhere.

Give it a try. In the spirit of hewing to some modicum of responsibility, TG asks once again that you drink heavily only when you are in the throes of Writer Hell, unable to solve that difficult plot problem, title search, structural conundrum or any other problemo that faces real writers every time they sit down at the word machine. See the entry directly below for instructions on that particular process.

So how about it all you Real Writers out there? Any suggestions on types of or specific brands of liquor employed either for general enjoyment or particularly in the service of solving stubborn writerly problems? TG is here to learn.

1 comment:

  1. My Grandfather had a similar rule, as he drank everything straight. His response, the one time I asked him why he never added OJ to his vodka was "If you wanted to drink orange juice, why not just drink fucking orange juice."