How is it possible that I am almost fifty years old and only now am I discovering the healing and restorative properties of alcohol? Stunning, I know. And it is made all the more remarkable by the simple fact that The Husband owns and operates an artisan distillery that is producing some very well received whiskies and vodkas. (Shameless personal plug: Please check out his website and purchase a bottle or two. Girl's gotta eat, ya know!) Me? Well, I just have never cared for any of it. I have found the taste of most spirits to be akin to swallowing paint thinner. And wines..well...as flavourful as many might find them, they have always been less than satisfying to my underdeveloped palate. I hate and fear the loss of control that liquor affords; once a type A always a type A, I suppose. I have zero physical tolerance for the stuff given my almost half century of teetotalism. My friends have experienced first hand that I literally cannot tell my left hand from my right when I drink even modest amounts of the grape. Also.....and this is a big one for somebody who has constantly battled extra poundage......I have always hated the thought of drinking my calories. I would much rather indulge in a plate of fries or some chocolate. My conventional thought was that they were so much more satisfying. As a result, alcohol has been a rare indulgence for me throughout my lifetime.
But I have come to see the error of my ways. I have come to understand that there is true magic in a glass of cabernet and great curative properties in a snifter of brandy. I realize that I am not stating anything cutting edge that the average frat boy or stay at home mom hasn't known for years, but for me this is as close to a religious conversion as I think I will ever get. I have tried to ascertain when my personal "Road to Tarshish" moment occurred, and as near as I can deduce it started last year around Rosh Hashana.
Last summer brought on a horrible asthma season. The wheezing and coughing that I experienced was never calmed enough by the myriad of bronchi-inhalers, anti-histamines, steroidal puffers and an assortment of herbal remedies. In fact, a week before the High Holidays I came down with a horrible case of laryngitis brought on by the symptoms and after effects of each successive attack. As if my stress levels surrounding the most vocally taxing time of the year weren't enough, now I had to cope with the very real possibility of not being able to sing. The Husband, ever the saint at this particular time of year, (the religious metaphors simply abound, don't they?) was once again ready with his 3S cure all. This time I readily accepted the scotch with willing throat and found that while I still couldn't understand the worldwide fuss over single malts, I did find that there was indeed a medicinal property that allowed me the get through the Ten Days of Awe in decent if not perfect order. After the holidays, I promptly returned to my water guzzling ways exclusively.
But the strangest thing happened. I found that I missed it. Not the taste, mind you. That experience was still reminiscent of sucking back burnt campfire wood. No. I missed the calm. I missed the warming sensation of sipping it late in the evening while chatting amiably with the Husband. I missed the stress release that it so obviously provided. I missed the routine. Should I be worried? Was this a cry out for an intervention? No, of course not. Rather this was an embracing of the thought that maybe....just maybe....I actually liked it? Hey! I'm a grown woman. Why shouldn't I enjoy the odd glass of something when the mood suits? Guilt and calories be damned. Welcome this moment of clarity and learn from it.
Clearly I needed to find a substitute for the swill of single malt that monopolizes our liquor cabinet. The Husband, always the willing guide on the subject, suggested brandy. BINGO! It was just what I was looking for. And so began a several week trial period of evenings curled up on the couch with my Courvoisier in a glass and endless reruns of Murdoch Mysteries on television. (I promise that sometime this month I will write an entire love letter to this show, but for now just know that it is a true passion for me. I can't wait for Season 6.)
Step one had been taken. I was actually enjoying my dalliance away from temperance. Oh the humanity! But true consumption can only be sincerely experienced in the company of friends. Sort of "if a tree falls in the woods" scenario. And so, last week I did something that I haven't done in years. I ordered a glass of wine while out for dinner. Twin Son and His Better Half looked a bit stunned, but they embraced my new-found liberty as readily as I knew they would. It was like they had won an epic battle and had brought me over to the dark side. Light sabres could finally be holstered. Years of cajoling had finally broken me, and here I was wandering in the abyss at last with all of the other mere mortals. Of course, after one glass of Shiraz I couldn't feel my feet, but we all understand that it is a process.
On election night, my evangelical moment reached its apex. I actually opened up a bottle of red and downed two glasses as I watched the returns come in. I loved every swallow. Barack and me and Dionysus makes three. Not a bad trifecta, if you ask me.