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June 27, 2007


Hey kids! It's summer! Time to get drunk with the NY Times!

underage drinking

Today's Dining section of the Times features a selection of personal memoirs called "Reflections in an Ice Cube: The Drinks of Memory". The feature is intended to be a nostalgic look back at refreshing and delicious summertime cocktails that some writers enjoyed in their younger years, and some of the entries very nicely achieve just that.

And some of the entries are about teenage girls getting wasted.

Here's Monique Truong, whose very classy and respectable summer drink is white sangria, but the drink of memory that inspires her choice is, and this is just a guess here, Boone's Farm Strawberry Hill:

White sangria reminds me of the bottles of convenience store wine coolers that my girlfriends and I consumed in alarming quantities in the back seat of cars while stuck in Texas in the prime of our teenage years. Sweet, cheap and perversely and resolutely not beer (long necks being the patriotic drink of the Republic of Texas), wine coolers were our fast ticket out of sobriety and the confines of our suburban youth.

And Gabrielle Hamilton still loves her Long Island Iced Teas, which she first enjoyed as a 13 year-old, first helping herself to her parents' liquor cabinet, then hitchhiking into New York and going to a bar:

We found ourselves — such is the power of the teenage sense of immortality — perched on bar stools at an Upper West Side restaurant saying, “Um, I think I’ll have a Long Island iced tea, please.” It was the only drink we knew to order. We’d been getting blitzed on them for some time by siphoning off our parents’ liquor and replacing it with tap water. I remember being curled up on the orange shag rug, feeling the whole planet spin.

The bartender did not card us. The bartender did not roll his eyes to the heavens. He filled — freehand — two giant tulip-shape glasses that could have doubled as hurricane lamps with well liquors, prefab sour mix and cola from a sticky soda gun. And set them down in front of us.

Then much later they get a ride home, drunk, with some random man they meet on the train and oh my god are teenage girls morons. These girls probably grew up watching Sarah T: Portrait of a Teenage Alcoholic in middle school health class, too.

These stories are told with a rapturous tone that makes teenage drinking sound not just appealing but totally irresistibly fun and adventurous; if I was a 14 year-old reading these stories at home, I would wait until my parents had gone to bed and march right over to the hall closet and start pouring Seagram's 7 into my mouth with a funnel.

I can't wait to see the dismayed letters from concerned parents who have been noticing their own bottles of whiskey have been getting a little bit... paler lately.

There's also a tamer, but still technically illegal drinking anecdote about a journalist in Iraq who talks with an Army captain there about how much he misses beer, and then the journalist sneaks him a case of Carlsberg in a garbage bag.

categories: Culture
posted by amy at 2:32 PM | #

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