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To Booze or Not To Booze

by Jess Goodwin about a month ago in humanity

You could describe my taste in alcohol as "booze, but for five-year-olds."

To Booze or Not To Booze
Photo by Alev Takil on Unsplash

One of my biggest takeaways from having to stay home for nine months is that alcohol is wildly overrated.

I've never been much of a fan to begin with, but, in your twenties and thirties, drinking just sort of comes with the territory if you want to spend time with people. You and your friends go to bars, or house parties, or boozy brunches, or painting classes that serve wine, or places where you can inexplicably throw axes and drink alcohol at the same time. You toss back some champagne at weddings and New Year's Eve parties, maybe do a shot or two to celebrate a work promotion. You meet first dates at bars because you know you'll both need to calm your nerves, and nothing fills an awkward silence like taking a sip from your glass and asking how each other's drinks are. It gets exhausting. And alcohol usually doesn't even taste that good!

I know there are plenty of people who disagree, people to whom an ice cold beer is tasty and refreshing. Maybe I'd feel the same way if I was horribly, horribly dehydrated.

Most alcohol is an acquired taste — I just never acquired it. After trying a beer for the first time and immediately wondering, Why?, the few times I drank in high school and many times I drank in college always involved fruity drinks that tasted as little like alcohol as possible. (Going to school five minutes from a liquor store that sold giant jugs of grain alcohol made this very easy.) I went through a brief rosé phase, maybe because I thought it was more elegant than chugging jungle juice every weekend, but it wasn't long before I decided that rosé was also just not that great.

Post-college I spent years drinking cranberry vodkas, then eventually started asking for a splash of orange juice in them just to shake things up and boost my vitamin C intake. In my late twenties I moved onto hard cider, eventually settling on a few brands that basically just taste like apple juice that's been left out for a week or so. Occasionally I'd hit the jackpot and find myself somewhere that served white Russians, or as I like to think of them, the chocolate milk of cocktails.

In other words, you could describe my taste in alcohol as "booze, but for five-year-olds."

Since Covid-19 (sort of) shut down New York in March, I've had alcohol twice, once during a virtual movie night and once during an IRL movie date. Both times I got about halfway through my can of cider before realizing it just wasn't doing it for me. I know people who like to unwind with a glass of whiskey or wine when they're on their own, but I've just never been one to drink alone, and, apart from my cats, I'm alone pretty much all the time.

I could give up drinking forever, even post-Covid, but I doubt I will. There are too many social situations that don't exactly require it but might as well. Not that my friends are peer pressuring me to do shots every time we go out, but I've been the one person not drinking in a group of drunk people and boy, is it annoying. Plus, I'm a woman and at an age where people assume if there's alcohol available and you're not drinking it, you're probably pregnant and want to be asked about it.

I'll certainly drink less than I did in the years leading up to Covid. I plan to move to a new city next year where I know only a few people, and will be living alone and working remotely. I've accepted that I'm a borderline hermit and know I'll be spending most of my time at home, and unless my cats start drinking teeny tiny cocktails with me, the only beverages I'll be sipping are water, soda, and chocolate milk.

Jess Goodwin
Jess Goodwin
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Jess Goodwin

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