I don’t drink regularly. Some might commend me for this while others might scoff. Most people I know do neither because, well, they don’t really care. It isn’t a matter of principle or anything. I have no problem with alcohol consumption, even in excess, so long as precautions are made (DD, taxi, etc). My problem is that I tend to go straight from pleasantly buzzed to hangover almost instantly. Both times in my life I have been drunk were exceptionally unpleasant. I also can’t seem to drink beer. When I say this, a few of my beer connoisseur friends insist that I haven’t tried the right beer. My beer brewing friends have even asserted that they can make me a beer I would love. I still say it tastes like bad bread. Besides, I aspire to cultural achievements. My booze of choice should naturally be wine, right?
Well, not yet, but I’m working on it. Like most of my girl friends, I’ve become enamored of Moscato for its sweet, light flavor. I’ve been branching out more recently. I even went to a wine tasting at a local brewery with my aunt. It wasn’t exactly what I was expecting. First, the “tastes” we got were pretty big gulps, in my opinion. I knew enough about wine tasting to look around from the dump bucket, but to no avail. They didn’t set it out until we were about five or six samples in, about where my aunt and I were getting concerned about being able to make it to the car. Second, we sampled fourteen wines. That’s a lot of wine, even in small sips. I was very proud of myself for the control I maintained on my facial expressions. We started with whites and moved into reds. Most of them were far too bitter and dry for my plebeian palette, but I did not betray that with childish “yucky” faces.
I like reading the descriptions of wine. “Medium bodied, smooth with a big cherry nose, round tannins.” Please, don’t anyone try to translate it for me. All I got from the tasting was, “Gaaaaaah! Bitter, dry, gaaaaah!” And then, “Brandi would love it.” In descriptions, I look for words like “light, fresh, fruity, and sweet.” I have bought wines based on these sorts of encouraging synopses. Then I pop them open and discover to my great disappointment that wine people lie. It’s probably how they weed out people like me from true winos (winers? wineys?). Still, I persevere because deep down, I am a snob and snobs drink wine.
Since being trapped in this wretched hotel room (home-buying purgatory), I have consumed three bottles of wine, over a long period of time, of course. I am very much a light-weight, as I intimated earlier. A large glass of wine is sufficient to get me through an evening. I have learned that I can tolerate sharp or bright wines, as I call them. Whatever the proper terminology, those are the words that come to mind when it hits the tongue. I also found that red wines give me a wicked headache. As that is a problem for me even without alcohol, I’ve come to prefer whites overall.
I am sure that none of this is especially interesting. One’s personal journey to snobbish alcoholism is hardly a matter of intrigue for others, unless it involves some humorous tales of embarrassing, drunken behavior. Thus, I have decided to add an idea I had to enhance my wine experience. Like many who want to drink wine, but can’t seem to get passed the taste, I have welcomed the sophisticated alternative that Sangria provides. It is wine, yes, with other booze (brandy or sherry, according to wiktionary.com), fruit juice, and fruit. Done right, it is exquisite, light and fresh on the tongue with the added fun of alcohol-soaked fruit to eat. There is nothing quite like a good Sangria, and nothing quite so disappointing as a bad Sangria. To the point, however. At this time, I can only really get Sangria at restaurants, which is often a hit or miss operation. So I found a way to hold off cravings with a simple substitution. I bought fresh blackberries and froze them. When I got in the mood for some wine, I popped a few frozen berries in the glass and doused them thoroughly with whatever sweet wine was on hand. The berries chill the wine, but not overly so, and they are fully defrosted by the time I finish the wine. It’s a last little treat for me at the end of these long, fretful days.
Now, I have been accused of being a drunkard before, but that is due to my penchant for adding strong liqueurs to desserts. Primarily, this includes my After 5 Fudge and ice cream. The fudge is the easiest fudge recipe I’ve ever come across and since I discovered it, I have found it easy to vary and perfect. Originally, it was Bailey’s Fudge, a recipe I found on their website. You will need:
4 cups chocolate chips (I prefer dark chocolate)
4 tbs butter
1 cup Baileys liqueur (of any variety, Kahlua and Godiva as well)
3 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1. Melt chocolate with butter.
2. Add booze and mix until smooth.
3. Add sugar 1/2 cup at a time, mixing thoroughly.
4. Pour into preferred container and allow to set 2-4 hrs in fridge.
See? Simple. I usually prepare half a recipe and pour it out onto a cookie sheet lined with wax paper. I realize that traditionally, fudge is served in giant, diabetes-inducing cubes. Unfortunately, I made this for primarily Army people and when they see portions like that, their first thoughts are for the PT test and weigh-in that always seems just around the corner. With the cookie sheet, I can make thin squares that people will devour. Last year, for Christmas, I cut out 2-inch squares of parchment paper and rolled up the fudge in those like Tootsie Rolls. It made them easier to transport and certainly less messy to hand out. Oh, and variations are endless. Change up the chocolate, the booze, add bits like crushed peppermint (into a powder: chunks are a no-no), sprinkles, caramel sauce, artificial flavors (mint, cherry, etc), layers (as long as you let each layer set completely), swirls… You a limited only by your imagination and the results have gotten so many recipe requests for me that I’m putting it in my blog (so maybe more people will read it…).
This dessert specially has nothing to do with my drinking habits. In truth, I don’t eat them except to sample. That’s not even a euphemism for scarfing half a batch because I’m not sure if it came out right. Most of the time, I don’t bother tasting a batch anymore because it is nearly impossible to screw up, and excess sugar leads to toothaches because of bad dental decisions from my childhood. Caution to any who do use this recipe, though it isn’t very strong, it gets stronger the longer it sits.
My real booze weakness comes with ice cream. After a bad day, a coffee mug of ice cream goes a long way to cheering me up. After a horrible day, a single shot of booze to that ice cream won’t go amiss, either. I have occasionally tried to bring this pleasure to my friends at parties, that I might partake in their tipsy fun as well. It is easily accomplished. The recipe is simple enough. Take a quantity of ice cream (pint to 1/2 gallon), transfer to larger container, add booze until it will no longer freeze. Then sit in amazement as your friends inexplicably choose cheap beer over your concoction of pure joy. That, at least, is what happened to me when I brought a gallon of the stuff to a 4th of July party. I sipped happily on a Dixie cup of chocolate-y goodness while they drank Budweiser and Miller. Then they broke out the tequila and proceeded to become idiots. If you look at my Facebook page, you will find the photo album dedicated to that night. It’s entitled, “4th of July Party or Tequila Bad.”
Since then, I’ve reserved my indulgence for special occasions and, of course, when ever the idea occurs to me. Again, this dessert works best with liqueurs like Irish creams, coffee, or chocolate liqueurs. I have used rum, as well. The ice cream is really up to your personal tastes, but I’m partial to chocolate, coffee or caramel varieties. My favorite is Cappuccino Fudge Blitz from Publix, the only grocery store I’ve come across that can compete with Cold Stone Creamery for my attentions. Sadly, there are no Publix here in our new city, so I must find a new favorite brand. Thank goodness we moved to an area with so many high quality options from which to choose!
I have now gabbled on for over 1500 words about nothing literary, pessimistic, or controversial. This shall be my fluff post for the week, I suppose. Here’s hoping I have more to write about tomorrow!