The Perfect G And T

September 20, 2010

[Little Ann is home alone. He’s locked in the playpen, but not for long. He knows what to do. He reaches over the rail and pulls the knob. Next he pulls the button and the door opens and he’s free. What to do? Where to go? To the liquor cabinet, of course. It's time to drink. This isn't the first time he’s done this. On Wednesdays Dad doesn’t get home until two hours after mom leaves for work so Wednesdays are when Little Ann gets his drinking done.

He opens the bottle of Seagram’s and pours three fingers in a tumbler. Next comes the ice; he likes two cubes. And now the tonic, up to the brim. In a shelf in the refrigerator door there’s a lime. He slices it in half and halves the half and drops a slice in the glass. He stirs it all with his pinky. He raises the g and t and toasts the air and drinks. BLEGH. Something is off. It’s bitter. It's undrinkable. Too much tonic? Has the tonic turned? Can tonic turn? Did he mistakenly use the wrong liquor? Vodka? He checks: no, it's definitely gin. Perhaps he had a disagreeable taste in his mouth, like from brushing his teeth, which affected the first swig. So he drinks again. And again. But it’s still nasty. He pouts about it but there's no one home to listen to him pout so it's a short pout session.

He determines that there’s too much tonic and dumps some of the drink into the sink. He opens the bottle of Seagram’s and fills it up to the brim and stirs it with his pinky. For good measure he squeezes the other lime slice into the glass and adds another cube. He tastes it. It’s still off. Too much gin, for sure. The drink is too tart, and too strong. In the past he’s settled for an overly gin-y or underly gin-y g and t, but today he wants to get it right.

He dumps half of it into the sink. He opens the bottle of tonic yet again and pours in a finger. It needs at least a finger of gin. He pours in the gin. No more lime; it’s lime-y enough. The first two cubes have melted into slivers so he adds another cube and stirs. He raises the drink to his nose and smells it. The drink smells chlorine-y. There are hints of freezer burn, too. Is something wrong with the water? Maybe that’s why the drink has been off all this whole time: the water they’re using for cubes is tainted.

He tastes it. The taste is better than attempts 1 and 2, but still not ideal. The perfect g and t has a certain equilibrium: the citrus and gin and tonic all tug at each other equally. A g and t is a power trio, and if the bass is too loud or the drummer lets the ride cymbal ride too long or the guitarist didn't tune properly then the band will sound terrible. Little Ann's drink is not even-keeled. It's lopsided, but it will have to do for now. Dad will be home in an hour and Little Ann will need to drink enough before then in order to pass out. If he's asleep then Dad won’t try to teach him stuff. Little Ann is tired of learning stuff. Stuff that Dad says is important. What does it matter that Toto IV won six Grammys in 1982? And who cares that Bob Odendkirk has a brother who is a Simpsons producer? Why does he need to know that News Radio will unfairly be forgotten by future generations of Americans? All he wants to know is how to make the perfect g and t.

There is a pen and a pad of paper on the counter. He writes: Dear mom and dad, The ice tastes bad. We need a water filter. Love, Little Ann.

They will think this is cute: Our baby's first note! What penmanship!

They will buy a water filter and then his g and t’s will be perfect.]

NEXT: Do We Need Cynar? 8

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