I’ve been throwing a lot of stuff up on the blog recently, from guest posts called Where Did You Sleep Last Night, to posts about yoga, and the three part series on Nyepi. You have been hearing me talk about our clean living in the blog since we arrived in Ubud a year ago, about how much weight we have lost, about how happy we have been here (most days). You have also been reading a little bit of our tell all, with our nineties love story, as I start to get a little more personal on the blog.
Now, I get personal in a different way.
A friend from Washington, DC, posted a typical top 10 list on Facebook that caught my eye. It was a ranking of the 10 Worst Cocktails Ever, from the perspective of the bartender. I only clicked on it because the graphic showed a cocktail that reminded me of the Singapore Sling at Raffles, which I recently tried at the insistence of a friend in from the States. I love you Josh, and I am happy we had a moment together at Raffles, but I cannot believe how expensive that syrupy pre-made drink was.
The Singapore Sling was not present on this particular top 10 list. Instead, it was a series of drinks, almost all of which I have drank in the past, and each one reminded me of a story of my forgotten youth, or recent past. Each one reminded me of a person, or a place, or a time in my life, some of which I would prefer to forget. Probably the reason for the drinking one of the 10 worst cocktails in the first place.
The 10 Worst Cocktails and My Stories to Match
10. The 7 and 7
The article suggested this is “best consumed whilst clad in oil-smeared denim slurring along to Rush in a parking lot shared with possible prostitutes.” While not exactly the image that popped into my head, I was a huge drinker of Seagram’s 7 and 7-Up in college, when I thought it was cool to order a cocktail instead of beer, my college staple (when I wasn’t drinking Zima). I have not so fond memories of drinking them at Plum Street Pub in New Brunswick, New Jersey, a dark and dank hole in the wall pub across the street from my Rutgers apartment. I can’t even say there were a lot of fun nights in there. Really, we just had a lot of strange nights in there. They often ended with me heading back to my apartment in my high waisted jeans and strangely layered hair to listen to Rush.
9. Malibu and Pineapple
Dipping a little more into my recent, and less embarrassing past, my father in law used to work as a volunteer at the bar of his local firehouse. He served as bartender for various events that were hosted there, like showers, birthday parties, engagement parties. One of the perks was that he often got to keep the leftovers – full bottles of some of the most random stuff. He also would often drive the leftovers from New Jersey to Chicago, and offer them to us, knowing we were the biggest drinkers of any of his children. That is how I got a large bottle of Malibu Rum attached to a large can of pineapple juice. I wondered what the heck I would do with it, as my palette had become much more sophisticated. I was more of a wine or dirty martini drinker back then. So, I fed the Malibu and Pineapple to my underage sister when she visited us one summer. I remember sitting on the back porch, with my little sis downing the fruity beverage (which I made about 90% pine and 10% rum), with a smile on her face, happy to be drinking with the grown ups.
8. Tequila Sunrise
I was never much of a Tequila Sunrise drinker, but just the sight of it on this list made me cringe nonetheless. See, I started my elusive drinking career with peach schnapps and orange juice at a very, very young age. To this day, I cannot go near any alcoholic beverage that involves orange juice.
7. Dirty Martini With Blue Cheese Stuffed Olives
See above. When I was first a fancy pants attorney in Chicago, these became a staple of my diet. In fact, I am craving one right now. Mostly because I desperately miss quality cheese.
6. Mai Tai
In my more recent past, Eric and I visited our friend in Portland a few months before leaving the US. We had never been. It made us feel conservative (kind of like living in Ubud), and we ate good donuts. We also stopped at a Trader Vic’s and downed a few Mai Tais and other tropical beverages, out of fun shaped vessels with giant straws. After, we strolled over to some dive bar that reminded me of the Regal Beagle. It was a successful trip.
At Trader Vic’s Portland
5. Apple Martini
I got nothing on this one. I would never, ever order an Apple Martini. It was way too sweet and way too girly for me. I knew a respectable woman back then would stick to Cosmopolitans.
4. Jager Bomb
I am also proud to say I have never done a Jager Bomb. In fact, I was not entirely clear what started the whole Bomb craze when we were in Chicago, but I definitely thought I was too mature to play the game. Besides, I can’t drink Jager anymore because of this night back in college….okay, I am not willing to go that personal.
3. AMF – Adios Mother Frencher
A blue drink that I am certain I have never heard of. This just reminded me of how old I am and how long ago I, myself, was a bartender. The Blue Hawaiian was the embarrassing blue drink of choice back then, and I am sure I made them for folks at the Bennigan ’s bar as they sat around watching the OJ Simpson trial on the bar TV.
My drink of choice here in Ubud. The article complains about how much of a pain it is to make the drink. And, I am sure I would hate them too if they were popular when I was bartending, back in the Clinton administration. More recently, Eric and I broke our first detox of this long trip with a couple of Mojitos in Havana. Then, we consumed many a mojito during the 10 days in Cuba. Now, we drink them because they are often on a happy hour special in Ubud, and when I drink in Ubud, it is usually because of a happy hour special. A girl can’t survive on green juice alone.
Finally, Number 1 of the 10 Worst Cocktails Ever
1. The Long Island Iced Tea
The article had nothing nice to say about the L.I.T., and understandably so. I hated making these when I was a bartender, and still remember the smell of them. “It’s a deplorable drink typically found being spilt onto people’s shirts by a stumbling idiot, being vomited into urinals, and happily beating years off your liver.”
This time, the L.I.T. story belongs to Eric. When hanging at one of the riverside bars in Georgetown over a decade ago, back when we thought we were very cool, we realized that LITs were the same price as the other cocktails, and they packed in more alcohol per plastic cup. We were sitting against the bar, overlooking the water, so Eric had easy access to the bartender and kept ordering himself another. And another. He got so sloppy drunk that night that I sent him home in a cab, and stayed out with our friends. He at least had the decency, once home, to sleep on the futon in the living room, with a garbage can next to him. This is the reason for the rarely lifted lifetime ban on Long Island Iced Teas.
Thanks to Erin for helping me take this particular walk down memory lane.
Do any of these cocktails remind you of a particular time in your life?
Amber Hoffman, food and travel writer behind With Husband In Tow, is a recovering attorney and professional eater, with a passion for finding new food and drink destinations. She lives with her husband, Eric, in Girona, Catalonia, Spain. Together they have traveled to over 70 countries.