Tales from Tales I: Dispatches from the Center of the Mixed Drinks Universe

Chapter 1: In which we start the trip with a $9 boozy slurpee and don’t regret it for one minute.

July 21, 2010

Yes I like pina coladas, but a test tube shot? Only if the planet depends on it.

Good morning from New Orleans. I’m here all week reporting from Tales of the Cocktail, where, we hope, our own Murray Stenson will be honored with a top award.

I’ll be telling you about all the cocktail-related happenings as they occur, but my “work” doesn’t get underway for a few hours.

In fact, the only drink I’ve had so far in NO was a pina colada from one of those French Quarter tourist traps with a line of swirly machines behind the bar. Yes, I looked like a big honking tourist carrying that thing around the FQ, but I sucked shamelessly from the straw because it’s hotter than Johnny Depp circa Donnie Brasco down here and it was 10pm and I hadn’t eaten since breakfast. My whacked out blood sugar levels had gone all action movie, pushing my sensible brain into the metaphorical passenger’s seat with a breathy “I’m in control now, Jacko,” gripping the (metaphorical) wheel resolutely as it slammed down on the (metaphorical) gas pedal and jerked the (metaphorical) car in the direction of the nearest (actual) swirly-machine bar.

Being the restrained individual that I am, even in my funny-blood-sugar-no-brain state I opted for a small beverage—approximately 26 ounces—instead of the two-foot bong you get when you order a large. I also declined a free shot of anti-freeze that came along with my drink, value meal-style, in accordance with my steadfast rule about never drinking anything out of a test tube.*

Anyway, check back here all week for updates on Tales of the Cocktail and your regularly scheduled Sauced programming.

*Exception to the test tube rule: It’s the future, and things are pretty bleak. The planet is lorded over by a species of supersized beetles (the insects, I mean, not the world’s most influential pop music band) who despite their larger size have retained the ability to proliferate at seemingly exponential rates. They have enslaved the surviving humans to create elaborate nests for their seething piles of offspring, murdering anyone who does not stud the debris beds with the appropriate amount of crumbs, tissues, and wadded-up newspaper. In a hidden lair that could, at any moment, be discovered by our many-legged overlords, a brilliant scientist has developed a formula that amounts to mankind’s only hope—imbibed, it gives the imbibee the ability to shoot Raid insect killer from the pores of her palms with the oomph and volume of a top-grade power-washing hose. It has been determined that I am the only surviving human whose palms are adequately porous. In other words, the fate of the planet depends on me. In this case, if the scientist poured the formula into a test tube and asked me to drink it, I would. Otherwise it’s not going to happen.

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