Publié le par chrislzh

So because you've all been good and haven't asked about the gin, I'll explain.

A few weeks ago, a colleague of mine, who we'll call R. for the purposes of this post, went back to America. He's got some stuff to take care of there, like getting a new arm and convincing the government to keep paying him money. But that's all beside the point. The point is, he went back to America for an undetermined period of time leaving Mrs R. here. While he was here, R. had managed to build up quite a collection of booze, both Chinese and foreign, and, partly because he's not a particularly big drinker and partly because Mrs R. doesn't let him drink much, and partly because he's a friendly, down-to-earth kind of a guy, he was always pretty generous with his booze. It was thanks to his generosity that I regained my taste for whisky, for example. And of course, not drinking much and not being allowed to drink much, he left quite a stash of booze when he went back to America.

So Mrs R. stayed on in Beijing for a few weeks because she still had exams to do and she had to sort out what to do with all their stuff. I'd pop downstairs for whatever reason, and, because she's also a friendly, down-to-earth type, she'd offer me food and drink. One day I popped downstairs to make sure she'd gotten her internet fixed and she cooked me some steak while I chatted to R. on Yahoo. Then she realised I needed drink, and seeing a bottle of Bacardi in the stash, offered it to me. I made sure that was alright with R. first. But things like this would continue. lzh and I would be visiting, and another bottle of something would be offered to me. One day it was a bottle that said quite clearly on the label 'Sweet Red Wine'. I politely declined and helped her find me a bottle of something more drinkable.

Anyways, this stash, being quite large, was more than I could drink my way through before Mrs R. left for her hometown. So, on the day she left she gave me all the leftover booze and food (about half of which had passed its use-by date, unfortunately), cat food so we could feed their cat, and one or two other things she needed to get rid of. In this bag of booze was: one can of Snow, covered in dust like it had been sitting in some forgotten corner since R. arrived in China; one bottle of some orange liqueur thing; one bottle of sweet red wine (the very one I had already refused); one bottle of Beefeater gin, as dusty as the can of Snow.

Later that evening some friends came over to our place for dinner. I showed them my haul of booze. Because lzh works with one of said friends, I persuaded them to take the bottle of sweet red wine to their work and fob it off on somebody they don't like terribly much. I mean, sweet wine is used as rat poison in many countries. In others, it's an instrument of torture. But that left me with the gin and the orange liqueur thingy (need you ask? First thing I did when I got this haul inside was suck the beer can dry).

Well, I never really got into liqueurs. No particular reason, just never did. Oh, sure, a black russian is quite drinkable, but I'm usually happy with just a beer. And I prefer my drinks straight. I don't like adulterating a perfectly good vodka or whisky or baijiu with... well, anything really. Liqueurs just always struck me as being.... weird. Just wrong, somehow. And gin? Well. Gin makes me think of old women sitting on the steps of their flat in the East End of London, bottle of gin in one hand, cigarette hanging out their mouths, loudly spreading the neighbourhood gossip in the most horribly grating accent you could possibly find outside of Australia. Or the sixty-year old gay man who had just come out five years previously but was still strangely insecure about how others perceived his sexual orientation, who was rather flamboyant and very good at pissing off all his co-workers and isolating himself, who I worked with in Changsha. He bought himself a bottle of gin, and, unable to find the tonic part of his favourite drink, substituted sprite. Actually, that very gin and sprite mix he came up with was my very first taste of gin. Anyway, gin does not have particularly good associations in my mind.

But still, it's free booze, and unlike the sweet red wine, is actually drinkable. So, I told lzh my mate and I were going to get some coke or sprite or something soft for the two non-drinking women to wash their jiaozi down with, and came back with a large bottle of each. The jiaozi were nearly done, and I knew that it would be quite some time before I could get up the motivation to go to Chaoshifa and get that tonic stuff people normally mix their gin with. In fact, I still haven't gone there. This haul of free stuff included more than enough pasta to keep me going for some time. But that's all beside the point. The point is I found myself with a free bottle of gin, and, even though I would not normally consider drinking gin, it's still free and drinkable, so I mixed it with sprite and blocked out all the ugly images that gin sends floating through my brain, and started drinking it. Still haven't figured out what to do with this orange liqueur thing, though.

Waste not, want not, right?

Publié dans chrislzh

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