It’s the season of Mother’s Day, so you know what I’m going to talk about: liquor.
My home state of Iowa only had state-owned liquor stores until 1987. They all had blue signs with white reflective lettering, like road signs. No fancy fonts or extra letters, just the business at hand: LIQUOR STORE.
I liked the LIQUOR STORE in my hometown because it had those magic doormats that make the door swing open when you step down. Is there anything more magical? No, no there is not. And yes, yes this means that my mom took me to the LIQUOR STORE as a kid. Because drinking wasn’t a big deal, and so she raised kids that didn’t run off and get drunkety drunk drunk at the first opportunity and drive off a bridge. Because we are chill.
Anyway, all the booze purchased at the state-owned LIQUOR STORE had special state stickers on it. Thus, liquor appropriated from the state was marked. And, in a way, dated.
Because now, my brother and I chide our parents for still having liquor in their home that has those state stickers on it. Meaning, it was purchased in or before 1987. Because Mom doesn’t drink enough.
A perusal through Mom’s liquor cabinet means moving some jigsaw puzzles out of the way to access the back of a basement cabinet. There, you’ll find creme de menthe, peach schnapps, Southern Comfort, and a 4-pack of Bartles & Jaymes. The creme de menthe is for brownies. The peach schnapps and Southern Comfort are for the punch I accidentally got drunk on in 8th grade. And the Bartles & Jaymes is for when Mommy has HAD IT.
All of these items have the Iowa state LIQUOR STORE sticker on them. Meaning they are at least 29 years old.
This has been a source of good-natured ribbing. We’d poke fun at the alcoholic antiquities and Mom would just shrug her shoulders. “What if I need it?”
It was all fun and games until last weekend. My Guy and I were tasked with providing drinks for a Mexican dinner with friends. We settled on La Paloma, which promised to be a refreshing drink with a bit of a kick. Basically, lime, tequila, and Fresca. And who doesn’t love Fresca?
As My Guy was getting ready to go on a Fresca run, I pulled the tequila out of our liquor cabinet. Because I keep house much like my mother, our liquor cabinet is the top shelf of our coat closet. Who needs hats and gloves when you have a good Scotch?
So, I grabbed the bottle of Jose Cuervo. It was about 2/3 full. And it had a sticker on it. A sticker from … the state of Texas. I’d bought the tequila duty-free in Mexico and carried it back across the border, like a good bargain shopper. Which is all well and good except that I haven’t been to Mexico since 2003.
|This could be bad.|
I did a little research. Tequila doesn’t really go bad, but it can get funky and less potent. I opened the bottle and took a research swig.
Describing the tequila as “chunky” would not be inaccurate. It burned, but not as much as the realization that I am, in fact, becoming my mother. Dancing in inappropriate places? Check. Deciding you don’t give a shit? Check. Storing liquor until it’s practically a solid “just in case?” Checkety check check.
My Guy staged an intervention and poured the offending tequila down the drain. I had to look away.
I guess, like my mama, I don’t drink enough. Perhaps this is something the 2 of us can work on together. Just not with La Paloma. My Guy liked it but I felt like it was going to put hair on my chest, which isn’t a look I’m going for. Because I’m a lady of grace and dignity, dammit. Just like my mom.
And just what, pray tell, would be the problem with turning into your mother????????? We'll discuss over a beverage on Memorial Weekend, okay?
Oh my! I had NO idea liquor could go bad. That is crazy! And funny! I bet I'm no better in my liquor cabinet.
I'm afraid to look in the back of my liquor cabinet now, although I would like to think I am not my mother. On the other hand, she also took me into state liquor stores as a child — usually just to purchase wine, but I had plenty of time to look around at the fun stuff — and that's a sign of good parenting, right?
I take my daughter to the liquor store with me – when she was little, she called it the 'pretty bottle store'.
At Thanksgiving last year, I went looking for something in my aunt's liquor cabinet and found a bottle of peach schnapps with one of the old Maryland state stickers on it. I realized the bottle had come from my granny's, who not only has not been with us in well over a decade, but broke up housekeeping before that, so the bottle is at least 20-something years old.
In my liquor / cookbook cabinet, there's a bottle or two from my 1992 wedding reception. What's worse — those bottles have have been packed and unpacked for six moves.