Cocktail Chatter: They Hate Me. They Really Hate Me!

by Ed Sikov

I was trying not to take it personally. Really.

OK, I was taking it personally. Why else had they all called to say they'd be at the house in time for dinner on Friday but no earlier? Therefore no cocktail hour(s). I admit it: I'm an out-of-control control freak. I was making a perfect meal: Bobby Flay's barbecued salmon; Israeli couscous, which I was spiffing up with saffron and grill-roasted red peppers; and a salad (from a bag - I can be lazy about salads). We would start with Pernod from the freezer, and dessert would be a delightfully thick and creamy drink made to order.

Then it hit me: they were avoiding what I claimed was that week's "cocktail du weekend"! I'd stupidly sent out an e-mail claiming that I'd found an obscure drink recipe and would be making it on Friday. It was called the Booger.

It was, of course, repulsive: half part banana liqueur, half part coconut rum and half part Midori. As if this combo wasn't wretched enough, Boogers get topped off with Baileys Irish Cream. Shake with ice. Strain. Drink. Vomit.

Bogus Boogers drove them away! The puppies, Robbie and Kyle, both said they were meeting friends for drinks at low tea (wasn't I their friend?). Craig preferred Top o' the Pines; he was meeting Paolo there for martinis. Even Dan said he was stopping at BarHarbor for a Campari and soda before coming home. Did none of them have a sense of humor? At least Kyle apologized before bailing on me.

Dan arrived around 8:30. "Where are the snot shots?" he asked pleasantly. A growl was my reply. He turned away from me toward the stairs, and I lost it. "Do you really think I'd make that shit?" I barked. His face took on that stricken look he gets when I bawl him out for something he doesn't understand. Then I felt guilty. "It was just a joke, sweetie. A bad joke. You know me. Would I ever make a Booger?" "You just might," he said, "as some sort of revenge."

The other guys staggered in around 9:30, all totally plastered. The barbecued salmon was gummy. The couscous clumped. Only the salad was any good, and that was because it was still in the bag. I was seething. We ate in silence. The puppies were too drunk to talk; Craig was too caught up in his food; Paolo was visibly frightened of me and my temper; and Dan knew he was already on thin ice. We both hated dinners like this; we called them "Night of the Living Drunks." So I refused to make the "cocktail du weekend." The Brandy Alexanders would have to wait.

The Brandy Alexander

It's strictly a dessert drink. Never order one before dinner, or everyone will think you're too young to know any better or, if you're over 30, you simply have god-awful taste.

2 parts brandy

1/2 part dark creme de cacao

1/2 part or more heavy cream

Nutmeg (optional)

Mix brandy, creme de cacao and cream in a shaker filled with ice. Put on top and cap and shake shake shake - create some froth. Strain into a martini glass and sprinkle a little nutmeg on top. I'm the type who keeps whole nutmeg in a glass jar and uses a little nutmeg grater; McCormick's is almost as good, though not nearly as pretentious.

Ed Sikov is the author of _Dark Victory: The Life of Bette Davis_ and other books about films and filmmakers.

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