Wednesday, August 23, 2006

The Drunken Lime

Children of the internet, I have some advice for you. Don't make up drink names and order them from the waitress with an instruction to the bartender to "just make it up and I'll drink it". You're only turning up the burner on the bartender's most sadistic instincts.

The decisive moment came when Friday threw her lime wedge into a friend's beer. Thinking more of cooking than alcohol, I croaked out the phrase "Drunken lime!" It was agreed that the Drunken Lime would be a great name for a bar. Or a drink. Which led to the obvious question - what kind of drink is a Drunken Lime? The less obvious question, What kind of drink does a lime get drunk on, was not addressed. I thought that maybe any kind of hard liquor with a shot of lime and a lime twist would qualify. Somebody else thought of a lime-heavy sangria, which would make a nice summer patio drink.

In a move that does not speak to the wisdom of crowds, we decided to order one and see what we got. Our server was a woman in a black dress whose booth-tanned flesh had shrink-wrapped itself over stringy muscle and bone. She seemed to be smiling when we outlined what we wanted, but I think that was the natural result of not having enough skin on her face to cover her teeth.

The drink came in a short tumbler, a syrupy, almost milky, green-on-green liquid holding a short purple straw and a few cubes of ice. I took a sip and was confounded: the tang of lime hit the roof of my mouth, but a sweet licorice flavour rolled over my tongue. Lime and ouzo? Lime and anise? Who the fuck thought that one up? Sven, who's worked in plenty restaurants and bars, took a sip and decided that it contained melon bull, or melon ball, or something like that. Nobody else would try it (I think the mention of ouzo scared them off). I kept drinking.

After a few minutes the waitress stepped over to ask what I thought of the drink. We ventured our guesses and she actually looked impressed. Bear in mind that any expression on her face is a remarkable feat, considering the limited amount of coverage. 'Good guess!' she chirped. Clearly the melon bull, or melon ball, had indicated some expertise on Sven's part. She swivelled towards another table full of people who ordered non-fictional drinks.
"Wait" I called. She turned back. "What's in the drink?" I asked.

"I'm not telling," she said, and zipped off. Or maybe she turned sideways and we couldn't see her anymore.

I kept on with the drink, which seemed to be taking an awfully long time to finish. It actually came with a natural braking mechanism; if I didn't pause at least a minute or so between sips, the licorice-tasting liquid would tear off a layer of epitheleals on its way down my throat and leave me raw-voiced. I got the hang of it after a bit, chasing the foul stuff with sips of beer. The waitress came by periodically, taking orders and good-naturedly refusing to tell me what I was drinking.

Eventually I decided to go and find out from the bartender what I'd been putting in my system. It turned out that I'd been knocking back a glass full of absinthe with a bit of lime to mask the horrendous fucking bitterness of the stuff. Without the traditional burnt sugar, the drink didn't carry the weird crystal-edged alertness that keeps the alcohol from rubberizing your limbs and makes the experience worthwhile. On top of that, this was tamed absinthe, the thujone-reduced stuff that's legal in Canada. No dreamy drugged hallucinatory flights for me. Stupid bartender.

Today I feel depleted, pithed and thrown out. I feel midden-heaped. Beer hangovers leave you bleary and mumbly, your brain coated in sugar crust. But absinthe can drain you out completely. I will never go back there for a Drunken Lime.

I will, however, go elsewhere for one. I've decided, over the next few weeks, to go to various bars and order a drunken lime. I'll take photos, provide ratings and report back on the best places in the city to get a good made-up drink. In the meantime, I encourage others to do the same. It doesn't have to be a drunken lime. It can be a Golden Toad, or a Short Stack, or maybe a Pope's Wang. I totally dare you to order a Pope's Wang at an Irish bar. See what happens.


sgazzetti said...

I have a few comments on this post. You should find a way to provide readers with some sort of mechanism for leaving comments. I know this might be a big project, but I am confident you can deal with it. Until then, here are my comments:

1) I am preternaturally excited about this project. I look forward to it and the associated photos, reviews, and potential hangovers (as sustained by you).

2) It was only very recently that I stumbled on the blog of a woman who is making it her mission to invent a drink named for each of the late Patrick O'Brian's Aubrey-Maturin novels ("The Nutmeg Of Consolation", e.g.)

3) I managed to work the word 'rictus' into a recent post, and I think you could have done the same here. But nice description of your Corpse Bride™ server without.

Those are all of my comments. For now.

palinode said...

Sgazzetti. You will be happy to know that I have already provided a commenting mechanism, and that you've already used it to post that last comment. Unless I'm missing something? On to your individual comments!

1) I too am very excited. I wanted to start this evening, but the absinthe did not do me any favours.

2) What a good idea. Maybe I should email her.

3) "Hey, look at that guy over there with the axe, and the box of Amway samples, and the big ol' rictus," said Sam.

Corpse Bride server. Accurate description.

sgazzetti said...

God's wounds! No amount of googling can lead me back to that blog I mentioned, which is a pity because she was funny and the project was of genuine interest to me. So, sorry, I cannot provide a link. But it did seem like a lot of eggnoggery was going to be taking place there, which might be something best avoided.

This new commenting engine you've made seems to be working well. Way to be reponsive to reader input, and good work with the rictus!