Saturday, April 18, 2009

Shaken, Not Stirred



The other evening I had the pleasure of hanging at a wonderful grown-ups-and-children party of our dear friends, a 007 party for a turning-8-year-old. The children were given real cocktail shakers for special favors, and shown how to shake a virgin fruit-juice cocktail, and they drank and went on elaborate spy missions and played roulette while their elders had real cocktails, shaken not stirred, and ate dozens of tiny delicate delicious blinis and got tanked. There was so much laughter and good feeling all around, it was just so delicious and my Texas-worn soul is now healed again, with a couple of vodka martinis and a little love.

It did point up the fact that an occasional cocktail hour has been missing from my life...

My grandparents, even with all their flaws, knew the value of a good weekly cocktail party, where grown-ups could eat salted nuts and overindulge in liquor and smoke the cigarettes presented graciously in fine china cigarette cups and pass off-color remarks to their hearts' content, winkwink nudgenudge. The children passed the trays of hors d'oeuvres, had their cheeks pinched, and then went off to fend for themselves. That generation knew the value of a good conversation. They could hardly be called drab. I'm sure when they were in their cups, they made passes at each other, they argued about books they'd read.

I'm inspired to resurrect this tradition. It just couldn't be a bad thing, could it?

If you like, tell me your favorite cocktail.



p.s. while I'm on the subject of friendly gatherings, I just wanted to thank everyone for all the kind words during my hideous Texas sojourn. I really appreciated the thoughtfulness of your response to my piteous whinging!

*photo, "Martini Time" by wickenden, courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons

31 comments:

MJ said...

Do you really think you should be asking me about my favourite cocktail while I’m in rehab?!

Well, it’s like this…

If I start drinking early in the morning, I like something fruity… maybe a Bellini or a Mimosa or a Kir Royale.

The strength increases as the day goes on.

I like a nice vodka martini in the evening.

A shot of Irish whiskey goes down well late at night.

I could go on and on if you’d like me to read my cocktail list aloud.

Anytime is happy hour for me.

Because surely it must be five o’clock somewhere!

Brian Miller said...

lol. you survived... sounds like an amazing party. florida got me hooked on the Rita's. have not had anything in a while, but if i did it would prob be that.

kylie said...

i'm teetotal but your description makes me want to reconsider :)
sounds like a fab party, so civilised and interesting!

is there a coffee cocktail? and if so would it be acceptable to drink them all the time?

cheers

just bob said...

Leah... I remember days and nights like that when our family would travel north to visit my grandmother. All of her children would get together with the hoards of grandchildren running around. Looking back, those were some special times.

Kyles... a good old Irish Coffee is appropriate at any hour.

mago said...

I'll stay with the wine, thank you. Bacchus, Grauer Burgunder, dry.

Madame DeFarge said...

I've held several cocktail parties for work chums, in the London flat, and always enjoyed them. They made us feel terribly sophisticated, if slightly the worse for wear the next day as I have a thing about champagne cocktails.

And I think that this type of party for the children may help them appreciate that alcohol can be fun if enjoyed responsibly. That sounds sanctimonious, but it's not meant to. It's just good to see adults not pretending that alcohol doesn't exist in front of children.

Suzanne said...

My God you're too funny. You're also human. I was beginning to think you were so perfect you might not be. But you misspelled a word. I won't tell you which. THANK GOD!!!!!!!!! Come over here and let me give you a hug you little cutie you!

Cocktail hour, relatives, lots of kids, fun converstations...life was grand. Wasn't it? I think you should resurrect cocktail hour. I'll come. I won't drink however because I'm not a cocktail sorta gal, but I think they're pretty!!!

You may have to do an intervention for MJ, and Kyles, Kahlua and milk. Probably the best drink on the freakin' planet, but what do I know, I only drink chardonnay.

XO

P.S. The "tanked" sentence nearly killed me. It's brilliant! And I'm here because I woke at 3 am and for some reason Monty Python skits were just flashing through my brain. Especially "Ahhhhhh, the Dutch." You know how stuff like that just cracks me up, so your reference made me laugh harder.

Winkwink nudgenudge.

CyberPete said...

I'd say cocktail hour is essential but has been forgotten for some reason. Bring it back.

I'd pretty much drink any mixed drink and of course the vodka (or gin) martini is a must.

The 007 party sounds awesome.

Leah said...

First things first, Suzy--you know me and spelling. I've been known to misspell a word, but not often, and I can't find any here. Hors d'oeuvres and roulette are both spelled correctly.

Now am going to look again obsessively.

Leah said...

Nope, nothing spelled incorrectly.

See, told you I was obsessed. Not infallible, no, but obsessed.

Cece said...

I like Westend Flings, it contains peachtree schnapps, Midori Melon Liquor, pineapple juice, and cranberry juice. Mango Rita's are superduper, and a White Russian goes down nicely too! Then again you can never go wrong with crown and coke, or rum and coke, or maybe a little Disoroni (spelling?) and ice.

Leah said...

MJ--don't they have cocktail hour at that rehab?

I had to look up Bellinis, yummy.


Brian--it was such an amazing bday party I can't even tell you. Believe it or not, I've only had a margarita once, but it was super delicious.

Kylie--I've been largely teetotal also. Definitely Irish Coffee, but I wonder if there's a cold coffee cocktail? I'm going to research.

Just Bob--it's funny, but we were the only two grandchildren! But me and my sister would go fend for ourselves and have fun! I am a little jealous of the cousin phenomenon as I like to refer to it.

mago--wine is better for you, anyway, but I like a chilly fruity mixed drink as well. I just didn't realize how much until Friday night!

Mme. DeF.--cocktail hour is indubitabobally refined and sophisticated. I think it could elevate me to a new level.

And I agree with what you said--don't pretend alcohol doesn't exist--I think, I hope, that my daughter will be the better for the lesson that it can be fun without being a problem. I'm not into the puritanical thing that I see with so many other parents. I think in the end it's counter-productive. Also, the Let's Pretend games that I enjoyed as a child (the lady purse, the candy cigarettes, the mocktails, the toy guns!!!) are missing from a lot of children's lives.

Leah said...

Suzy--Monty Python does have a tendency to pop up at 3 a.m. It's just lodged in our subconscious minds like that, I think! And it was fun when grownups and children were all together, but grown-ups were acting grown-up-ish, wasn't it? You could look on and enjoy the mystery of adulthood and all its trappings...

Cyberpete--it was the awesomest party. Yup, cocktail hour needs to come back. My sister suggested embroidered cocktail napkins and wasabi peanuts.

Cece--Those sound delicious. And I love a White Russian. That was dad's favorite drink, thanks for reminding me, I'd forgotten that!

Emerson Marks said...

If you really can't shift a hangover I'd highly recommend a Bloody Mary.

Jimmy Bastard said...

A Glasgow cocktail... take one full bottle, empty it.

Rinse and repeat.

Leah said...

EM--I love Bloody Marys--that used to be my drink of choice when I flew anywhere.

JB--That may be a bit too manly for me!

Baino said...

I can honestly say that apart from a failed attempt to stock our home bar under the guise of 'bring some liquor' and spending the night concocting cocktails . .I've never been to a cocktail party! Definitely cocktails are Christmas fare for us. Mango Daquiries, Caipairana and Margeritas . . mmmm salty goodness.

Ronda Laveen said...

What a fun and differnt party theme. Fun for kids and adults. I will have to remember it. I read your post on Susan Boyle and agree that her treatment was embarassing for all. Kudos to her for her grace and professionalism.

My fave cocktail? Whiskey Sour.

HoodChick said...

I recently had a key lime pie martini. It was great, graham cracker on the rim. Mmmm.

With the weather turning warmer I like vodka in pink lemonade. And I love mai tai's - when you can find someone to make them right.

Suzanne said...

God, have we assembled a damn bunch of drinkers or what???!!!

I arrived to tell you about a slew of short stories, only to have to wade through one hell of a lot of liquor! Jeasus Christ. What? Of course I'm laughing and I'm also a wee bit drunk now. Honestly, upon reflection I don't think you should resurrect cocktail hour. You're just asking for trouble with this motly crew.

Winkwink, nudgenudge.

And there's still a misspelled word. I spell like crap, but I never miss a beat!

I love you darling. Visit my blog because I have some short stories you will adore. Trust me. And thanks so much for reminding me about Shirley Jackson. How could I possibly forget? Ugh.

And honestly, I agree. There is nothing better than waking to Monty Python!

Love you,
XO

P.S. Have you ever watched some of the shows on the BBC? I'm laughing just thinking about them;!

Leah said...

SUZY! Swear to GOD there's no misspelled word here. Unless you're looking at "whinging" which is just British for whining.

So c'mon, fess up lady, what word did you think was misspelled?

Leah said...

Baino--isn't it funny that I used to attend cocktail parties all the time as a child, but not as an adult?!

Ronda--never had a whiskey sour, but it sounds so tasty.

Hoodchick--also have never had a Mai Tai! I have a lot of catching up to do...I love citron vodka and lemonade

mago said...

Can't find a misspelling, but am no expert in this language. We follow other rules with large and small figures, with the "-" and some smallish other things: I can not help with that, was (and sometimes still am) earning money with correction and lectoring (Lektorat, that's not Korrektur!) on German texts ... where's the flucking mistake?
*wince*

The Idle Devil said...

I love the combination of vodka and fruit juices...other than that golden rum with a cola base does wonders to my spirit. What do you love most?

Joyful Jo said...

Leah thanks for dropping by. I'm not into cocktails but they always sound so interesting.
I noticed on suze's blog you were telling her of a book to read shirley jackson? memoirs sounds interesting. Whats the name of the book. I'll try and see if the library has it.

Leah said...

mago--my dear, you are correct. There is no flucking mistake.

idle D.--yes, vodka and fruit juices are my faves too so far. My kind hubby brought home a cocktail recipe book for me today, though. I guess he's encouraging my new "hobby."

Jo!--they do sound interesting, don't they? I usually tend toward teetotal, but I think now I might have more fun if I drank more than very occasionally...

As for Shirley Jackson, I simply can't recommend her highly enough. I think you might enjoy her memoirs of raising her four children--"Raising Demons" and "Life Among the Savages." She also wrote spooky ghost stories and psychological-Gothic novels ("The Haunting of Hill House," and "We Have Always Lived in the Castle"). But you really might love her funny memoirs. Hope you do find them in the library!

Karen ^..^ said...

I love a nice Malibu bay breeze. Yummy. I like a mixed drink that doesn't taste of alcohol. Now my wine? Full bodied please. Red. Red Cab is my favorite. Petit Syrah is also yummy.

I think cocktail hour is a fabulous idea!! Lovely. I'll be there!

And OH, MAN... Am I ever glad you are home!!

You are a good person, a nice person. Screw that old lady... How can she like you or anyone when she hates herself??? She sucks. I'm glad you are home.

Joyful Jo said...

oh what a bummer! My library doesn't have any Shirley Jackson books.!!

Joyful Jo said...

I have just been back to suze's blog where she is talking about the lottery. That one is there. I didn't think it was the same author, but it is the only book there. you say this is a good one. It is called the lottery and other stories. so maybe I'll read that some time soon.

Marianna said...

Well I like amaretto liquer with lemon and ice but I don't think that this passes as a cocktail lol

Peace and love
xoxo

padraig said...

> If you like, tell me your
> favorite cocktail.

I'm reminded of the scene in The Quiet Man when Red Will and Sean take a break between rounds in the bar.

"Whiskey? No, that'd get your blood up. Porter!"

Libations should match the mood.

* If I'm needin' a drink, it's scotch, single malt, neat. This is a good default. I try to pick something that's at least half as old as I am (a good rule of thumb).
* If I'm just done mowing the lawn, it's an ice cold beer, lager.
* If I'm having a starter for a meal, it's a gin and tonic.
* If you're getting started on a bender, of course, you must have a stunningly dry martini with two olives. GIN.
* If you're about to have a bunch of people over just for a dinner, a nice red wine.
* If you're about to watch a playoff sporting event, margaritas (rocks and salt).
* If you're about to bowl a frame, White Russians in honor of The Dude, un-ironically.
* If you're about to brunch, a Bloody Mary, extra spicy.
* If it's extra hot and the mood is festive, Mai Tais with a slab of pineapple and an umbrella.

... hmmm... I seem to be all-inclusive when it comes to getting snookered...