As I’ve mentioned plenty in the past, parent of being a good bad parent involves a lot of drinking. In no way is this an endorsement of doing something really stupid, like being drunk around your newborn or even intoxicated to the point where you couldn’t wake up and take care of them. None of us have ever done that. Ever. Period.
What follow are five “classic” cocktails, as well as a few booze-related strategies, to ease the hearts and minds of new parents. Before that, an important piece of advice that no one gave to me:
It will end.
HA! What did he mean by that? My life? The world? The childhood experience? I just meant the terrifying experience of having a newborn. It’ll be the most excruciating 3-4 months of your life, and the ones to follow will still be painful (and, somehow, the best years of your life… that’s humanity for you), but it will end and you will regain sanity, lose weight, read books, and maybe even have sex again, at some point in a near future where society may or may not be dystopian, and you may or may not already be receiving genital shocks for thought crimes. Maybe.
TO THE BOOZE!
The main thing facing us during our months of Insanity (not the popular work out routine) were questions like: When can we drink? When should we drink? How often should that be? Why aren’t we drinking right now? Where did I hide that bottle of gin? Is this antique on the mantle actually a unique hiding place for my reserve turpentine?
We’ve all been there, folks. Amiright?
To begin a sentence in a founding fatherish kind of way, I’ll say that, Through the providence of God and our unique situation… GARRETT NAPPED DURING HAPPY HOUR! It couldn’t have worked out better. His car seat wasn’t the slick removable kind (because it was the slick adjustable kind), so we went to a second-hand store, bought a car seat (the kind where the bucket clicks out of the base that stays locked into the seat belt) and life was never better. We’d drive to Twisted Timber, Bier:Thirty, Bardenay or some other house of ill repute, transfer him from his car seat to “the carrier,” and he’d nap on the table while wifey and I indulged in a couple 13 different craft beers with a side of french fries and serenity sauce. I’ll warn you that, doing this on a daily basis, we gained a bit of weight. If you asked me at the time if I cared, I might have creatively found a way to put a hole in your forehead.
Kid-Friendly Watering Holes
I can’t stress this enough: find a kid-friendly place to do your drinking. You probably figured out the hard way that bars don’t allow children… you just probably failed to notice that the first 23,000+ times you went to a bar BEFORE you had kids.
Next up comes breweries and wineries. Depending on your state, they may or may not be allowed in; in our own (private) Idaho, wineries are a go and breweries have their choice of allowing minors or not. Your next best hope is brew pubs, if you have any that make decent beer. After that comes restaurants, bistros, lunch spots, and anywhere that serves intoxicating elixirs while simultaneously allowing children. Finally, you’re looking at doing your serious drinking a places like Chili’s, Marie Callendar’s, or TGIFriday’s, which is truly depressing (hey, how bad do you want it?!).
There is, however, another important factor. Forget whether or not they are allowed: are they wanted. You might be fine with being those people who calmly finish their beverage, regardless of the fact that your bundle of joy is annihilating beyond any glimmer of a hope the good times of all around you. I praise you, for you possess more testicular fortitude than I! We get pretty self-conscious about that shit, so if he’s not napping, we’re not in that place.
A Man (or Woman)’s Best Friend
Not a dog, not a neighbor, not a handy 14-in-1 tool or even a Swiffer – a person’s best friend, at least in this scenario, is their spouse. Single parents: I’m sorry, you’re fighting an altogether more difficult battle. When out drinking, if the brat wakes up, wants to run around or scream or whatever, you do the only sensible thing a practical drinker does: tag team them.
Take turns playing with that child, preferably outside, while the other one enjoys five minutes alone and the opportunity to quaff copious quantities of quaint coolers! Make sure to set a (silent) timer, take equal turns, and be understanding if your worn-out spouse begs for five more minutes. Tomorrow, it’s your turn.
What follows are my (often, unorthodox) methods for creating the classic cocktails that got me through life with a newborn. These are truly classic, as far as I’m concerned, and involve enjoying the taste of hard liquor. If you’re the kind of person who enjoys today’s version of a daiquiri, or makes their margaritas with a bottle of mix, these probably aren’t for you. Stick to your sad, sugary rum and cokes; you already know how to make those.
Originally consumed by women of a bygone era, and prostitutes from the 60s and 70s, Manhattans have made their way into the hearts of manly men (mostly because bourbon is for dudes, right?). Hey, if Bette Midler can order one in the Tom Waits classic “I never talk to strangers,” we all can have one or four, regardless of gender.
Chill a martini glass (although, I prefer a tumbler / cocktail glass)
In a shaker, add:
2-3 large ice cubes
2 x 1.5 oz. pours of your favorite bourbon (try Bulleit, Bulleit Rye, or Maker’s)
1 x 1 oz. pour of sweet vermouth
Shake vigorously (sometimes, I shake so hard as to smash the ice into teeny, tiny shards… not bragging, but adding because this is a desirable quality to me)
Pour into that chilled glass.
Add 2-3 dashes of Angostura bitters
Enjoy that classy-as-hell cocktail with it’s bourbony smokiness and vermouthy, mild sweetness. Try garnishing with an orange slice and a bourbon-soaked cherry.
No, not that lude reference to an HJ, as suggested by South Park. While many like this one sweet, I prefer to taste the bourbon. For a sweeter version, muddle a cherry and an orange slice before pouring the concoction into your glass.
Chill a tumbler or cocktail glass (technically, an old fashioned glass)
To the bottom of glass, add a sugar cube (or 1/2 tsp table sugar)
Add 2-3 dashes Angostura bitters and a short splash or club soda (crush the sugar cube with a muddler)
Roll this little slurry around the inside of the glass to coat
Add 2 oz. of Rye whiskey (again, my preference is Bulleit rye) and one large ice cube
Give it a quick stir
Winston Churchill believed the only way to serve a Martini was with ice-cold gin. That’s it. Place gin in a shaker with ice, shake, pour, consume… quickly… with two or three humongous cigars… before and after each meal. The Churchill diet.
These days, there are many ways to make a Martini (my favorite is the Vesper). You could simply serve ice-cold vodka. Vodka and gin. Olive juice. An olive, no juice. A cocktail onion. A twist of lemon peel. With Vermouth or without. Sweet or dry. You can even make those god-awful Appletinis and Lemontinis and SparklingPumpkinTickleMeElmotinis. Those suck. Sugar is for dessert. Here’s the Vesper.
Chill a martini glass.
Add to shaker:
3 oz. gin
1 oz. vodka
0.5 oz Lillet Blanc
Shake that, shake that somethin’ somethin’
Using a paring knife, peel off a big of lemon skin (without going so deep as to get pith), twist or curl, place in the bottom of the chilled glass
Pour that delicious libation and consume quickly, making sure to drink three or four more as quickly as possible. Now you have the charm and wit of Churchill, too!
My version of this is nice and simple. My wife likes champagne cocktails (sugar, bitters, champagne), but I like a little more kick. So, while I’m making hers, I make myself one of those girly drinks. My version is a totally bastardized version of the original, so feel free to look up your own goddamn recipe on Google, you overly-critical jerk.
In the bottom of a chilled champagne glass, swirl around 1 oz. vodka or gin (or both) with a 1/2 tsp confectioner’s sugar
Top with champagne
Drink five more in rapid succession, then start hassling your wife about what she likes to drink. After a fight you can’t remember having, wake up on the couch with all of your clothes on and a dick drawn on your forehead in sharpie. Ask your wife to see the pictures on her phone, because you made the cut last night with a variety of props from around the house, possibly including your cat’s butthole.
Okay, this one isn’t classic at all. Not in the slightest! Bitters in a martini? BLASHPHEMY! However, for the adventurous and those who acknowledge their alcoholic tendencies are many and varied, this one is for you. It is vaguely inspired by the Vesper Martini, at least in it’s ratio of vodka to gin.
Chill a martini glass
Add to shaker:
3 oz. gin
1 oz. vodka
1/2 oz. sweet vermouth
1/2 oz. dry vermouth
Shake that shit violently, so you do get those teeny, tiny shards of ice
Pour into martini glass, add 2-3 vigorous shakes orange bitters, one gentle shake Angostura bitters.
It’ll look dark as your soul and, when you wake up the next afternoon, the way you feel will be an equally accurate reflection of said dark soul.