After a year, I decided: enough with this nonsense. I stopped buying brandy so I couldn't make sidecars.
I quickly learned one could make an even better sidecar -- one with a more voluptuous, smoky flavor -- using the bourbon I had in the cupboard. See recipe above, but substitute Maker's Mark.
Another year passed, during which I drank exactly two bourbon sidecars every night. I even got my mother hooked -- she called them "those drinks of yours" -- though she's the kind of person who can have a sidecar at my house and never import the bad habit into her own orderly home.
After a year: enough with this nonsense. I stopped buying Cointreau so I couldn't make any sidecars whatsoever.
I quickly learned one could make another marvelous drink with bourbon, sweet vermouth, and a maraschino cherry. The manhattan isn't as flirty and approachable as the sidecar, but it's a lot more interesting. It turned out that the sweet-tart sidecars were just training so I could appreciate this serious, world-beating cocktail.
Manhattans lasted about six months and then, enough of this nonsense, etc. but this time it actually worked. Until I recently got into the "joke" Old Crow which, I have to say, is vile. So I think the story really does end here. I don't want to be fat and get cancer and everything else rotten or just mediocre that goes with hard liquor.
These days, I almost never drink cocktails at home, but having a manhattan out is another story. I met my friend Melanie last night and she just had a beer which made me feel grimy and hardcore when I ordered my second manhattan (I believe in sets) but I'm too old to bend to peer pressure.
I started thinking about the evolution in my taste in cocktails, which reminded me of my The Sound of Music odyssey. When I first saw it, like all kids, I hated the Baroness and thought Fraulein Maria was the prettiest woman in the world. Her twinkling eyes, her peachy skin, her clear, angelic voice. And her hair -- hair the color of apricots, though so badly cut. Even an 8-year-old can recognize a stupid cut. But still: beautiful.
Years passed, I bore children, they acquired a Sound of Music video which they watched several hundred times, as did I. But it was a completely different movie. Maria? What a simp. Clearly, it's the Baroness who has a soul, who knows life and suffering. She gets one eyeful of Maria and the Captain dancing that Austrian folk dance and realizes there's even more suffering in store for her, even if she does successfully scare off the ninny governess. She's wise enough to know to try, and, later, when to give up.
Who would I rather have a drink with? Obviously, Christopher Plummer, but if he weren't available, the Baroness. Of course! She is the manhattan. Maria isn't even a sidecar, she's a Shirley Temple. Though to be fair, that was the character. If you read Julie A's memoir you'll never think of her in quite the same way. In life, definitely a sidecar, perhaps even a manhattan with a few extra cherries.
Anyway, today I have a mammogram which always makes me regret all of it, every single lousy drink.