The Cocktail Hour

Friday night is well suited to a cocktail hour, to mark the end of another work week. Kish’s drink of choice these days is a pometini (consisting of pomegranate juice and vodka) and I’m a red wine drinker. For many years now — since college, really — I have not had much of a taste for distilled spirits.

Although I don’t drink them, I have a certain fondness for cocktails. They seem classier, more sophisticated, and more fun than a glass of wine or a beer. When I was a kid, it seemed like all adults enjoyed their own cocktail of choice, and that drinking a mixed drink was just something that grown-ups did when they got home from work. After all, on Bewitched Samantha greeted Darren at the door with a pitcher of martinis, and when the Tates came over for dinner it was a very liquid affair.

Members of my own family were known for ordering particular cocktails. When Jim and I were kids, we used to go to University of Akron basketball games with Gramma and Grampa Neal , and before every game we would go to a restaurant called Sanginiti’s, where we sat at the same table and were waited on by a waitress named Christine. At dinner, Gramma had an Old-fashioned on the rocks (always ordered with the additional instruction: “and not too many rocks”), and Grampa had a Manhattan.

We learned about a bunch of new concoctions when we moved to Columbus and my parents hosted Ohio State football game parties. They had a fully stocked liquor cabinet, and partygoers would order a Tom Collins, a White Russian, a Stinger, or a Rusty Nail. When we got old enough, we would act as bartenders, and for a time I had a pretty good working knowledge of mixology. In college, Kish and I drank Seven and Sevens, available for 75 cents at Andy Capp’s bar on High Street (these drinks, which were served in a juice glass, did not seem very sophisticated in retrospect).

I’d like to see cocktails make a comeback, to the point where people don’t just order an appletini or whatever other “-tini” craze is hot at the moment, but return to some of the classics — like a real Martini, or a Brown Boxcar, or a Whiskey Sour. My guess is that, if the economy continues to bump along as it has been doing, people will be tempted to do so.

The Morning Walk

I had a bit of insomnia this morning, and I got up earlier than usual. As is my custom — and Kish correctly identifies me as a creature of habit — I got Penny leashed up and took my morning walk around the Yantis Loop. As Kish knows, I always go the same direction, and when Penny joins me she helps to add to the routine. In the first part of the walk we need to make sure that she answers the call of nature, and thereafter she must challenge my authority by stopping to sniff at every fence post. It takes a few tugs on the leash to teach her that on this morning, too, I mean business. By the mid-point of the walk, after we pass the pond and are approaching the icy patch at the turn that is always there during the winter, we are moving at a good clip, with Penny in the lead, head up and alert. When I get back home after my brush with exercise and the cold, the coffee tastes hot and good.

I like these walks because they get me up and going in the morning. I can listen to my Ipod as I walk along, and the uninterrupted time allows my mind to roam. Sometimes I think about work, sometimes about life, sometimes about the song I’m hearing, and sometimes about not much of anything at all. It is a good way to start the day.