I’d say at least once a week I’m watching a television show or a movie and some character waltzes into a house or an apartment somewhat unannounced and they get offered a drink. Without fail this makes me think of how sorry my drink options would be for anyone who would just happen by. Bottle of water? Triple IPA that’s been hiding back there for 2 years and probably tastes like motor oil with a splash of Everclear? Tap water hot chocolate? That’s about all I can bring to the table. Invariably, the person on TV wants coffee, or a scotch and in extreme cases water with lemon. Sure, let me just crack open my citrus drawer and get that for you.
Not having coffee in the house always reminds me of one of the great Seinfeld episodes of all-time. The Library, which features probably the best cameo in the history of sit-coms by Philip Baker Hall. He plays Mr. Bookman, the library cop, and he delivers several classic lectures. One touches on keeping coffee in the house. “Who doesn’t have instant coffee? You buy a jar of Folgers Crystals, you put it in the cupboard, you forget about it. Then later, when you need it, it’s there. It lasts forever. It’s freeze-dried. Freeze-dried crystals.”
Along with being hilarious, the implication is that any adult would have coffee in the house and Jerry does not, which plays into one of the running themes of the show–Jerry is essentially an overgrown 10-year old. Is how well stocked your cupboards are really a sign of maturity, though? I think it is. And forget about cupboards and coffee. What about the bar? That’s where the real adults distinguish themselves. If you can get up from your computer right now and whip someone up a martini, I think you are probably a pretty class individual. I think you have your head on straight. I don’t know that I am either of those things, and therefore the water, dreadful beer or hot chocolate option.
I’ve often thought about assembling my own home bar, but there are certain obstacles in the way of anyone who is striving to reach this level of adulthood. In no particular order they are:
1. You have to be able to buy alcohol and not consume it all in one sitting. This sounds ridiculous in some ways, but think back to college. How long would an extra six-pack in the fridge or an extra bottle of vodka in the freezer (yes the freezer, because who has ice and you’re hard) last? Forty-five minutes? Having the alcohol in itself was a reason to drink. You have to get past that. This is the only step I’ve really accomplished.
2. You have to be willing to make the commitment financially. If you can trust yourself not to get blotto for a week straight, then you should be comfortable making the financial plunge to stock a bar. But, you get some Vodka, Gin, Scotch, perhaps a Rum if you are feeling frisky, some mixers and the next thing you know you’ve run up a bill that you’d be more comfortable spending on something else. Like dinner for the week.
3. You also need a proper forum to display your maturity. If you live in a 500-square foot hole you might not be able to pull this off. Things get a lot less classy when you pull a bottle of Glenlivet out of the drawer under the oven. Your linen closet can not double as a bar. I don’t even have a kitchen table. I don’t think I’m ready to commit precious floor space to a bar.
I know people who have reached the point of having the bar in their house. It’s impressive. I also know some people who are in the neighborhood. I think some of these old man bars are just accumulated through time. Sloe Gin? Sure, I think I had a bottle of that for a rager back in ’89, let me check. You probably know someone who is on their way. Maybe you show up at their house randomly and they offer you a drink. The natural response is, what do you have. They then say:
“Well, I’ve got 3 coronas, a Coors Light, a Sam Golden Berry Summer Wheat…I’ve got some tequila, a bottle of vodka and no mixers, a couple swallows of Jager and a bottle of Kahlua.”
Now, compared to what I have, that’s an impressive array. But, that’s not really a bar. That’s the leftovers from a couple of theme parties. It’s a start, but you aren’t all the way there. When I first thought of this post, I was going to make it a list of things that really signify you’ve grown up. There’s nothing that can hold a candle to the stocked bar, though. I think it’s the ultimate. I really do.
So, the question becomes, what do you really need to pull this off? Is tonic water something you need to have on hand at all times? I feel like my parents kept a perpetual and healthy supply of tonic water around. Fascinating. What are the core liquors? If you aren’t a Scotch drinker do you have to suck it up and have a bottle handy no matter what? What about bourbon? What’s the line in the sand where the person asking for the drink is inappropriate? Is it cranberry juice? Like a screwdriver is within reason, but a vodka cran-splash is not something the ordinary person is expected to make. Is vermouth the line? Triple Sec? Where’s the damn line people?
Anyway, bottoms up, and if you happened to whip yourself up a quick Sea Breeze while you read this, hats off to you. Do you know who drank Sea Breezes? Vincent. Vincent drank Sea Breezes.