Sunday, August 05, 2007

My Date with Liquid Death

I was out at the bar last night with Billy, where we met up with Tim and were eventually joined by others.

We spend a lot of time at Brixie's, but I haven't been there as much lately, so when I heard Tim telling stories about this shot he'd had before I became intrigued.

Not because Tim was describing it as a fine drink that tasted like sexy, but because he was calling it the worst experience he's ever had in his life. If you know Tim, that's saying a lot.

So as I listened to Tim go on and on about this liquid death, a thought occurred to me: I'd like to try it. Then I made the mistake of letting that feeling be known with audible words.
Tom: I'm intrigued. I must try it!

Tim: No you don't, dude. It's horrible.

Tom: You're just a pussy. I am a man. I will drink it and conquer it.

Bill: I'll buy it if you want it.

Tom: I accept your challenge!
So Billy gave me $10 and sent me off to the bar to meet my destiny. I told the bartender what I wanted, and he poured it for me. As he was pouring it I asked him what it was, and what was in it. I couldn't quite hear his answer, but I believe the word juniper was thrown in there.
"Juniper? Is there a bigger pussy among the plant world than juniper? When flowers are young and going to flower school, Juniper is the kid that's getting picked on. Seriously, even Lilac is busting his balls, and he's a fucking Lilac."
The thought that they make gin from Juniper berries never did enter my head.

So I begin my walk back to the table, shot in hand, growing ever more confident in my body's ability to withstand any alcohol.

Then I took a whiff. Not promising. Then Billy took a whiff. Then Dave. Then Alex. Then everybody.

Then Tim put his hand on my shoulder and said "Good luck."

The moment was upon me, and I was beginning to grow wary of the outcome.
"Can I take this in the bathroom? You know, just in case?"
The fear had struck! Once the fear gets you, you're done.
"No, you take it here. The bathroom isn't that far away if you need it."
Billy was right. I didn't really want to drink it in the bathroom, it was just the fear. The only way I could maintain my dignity was to drink it in view of all and then scurry off to the bathroom like a bitch.

So I lifted the glass to my lips, and poured the drink down my throat.

It wasn't bad at all.
Tom: Are you kidding me? That shit was easy.

Tim: Wait for it.

Tom: Wait for what? It's fi...OH MY GOD THAT'S HORRIBLE!!!!!
The aftertaste had struck. When it did, I longed for death. It was a slow burn beginning in my throat that grew into an inferno. And the taste.....oh God the taste. I think Tim described it best.
"You know how when somebody pukes they poor sawdust on it? Well, if you picked up the sawdust and puke and then swallowed it, that's what it tastes like."
And it does.

And it wouldn't go away.

I picked up my beer and began chugging it to lose the burning taste in my throat. It didn't go away.

I lit a cigarette and smoked the whole thing in three puffs. It didn't go away.

Tim then told me it would still be there in the morning, but after about 20 of the longest minutes of my life, the taste was gone.

The shot I did was a liquer known as Malort. According to this Cocktail Database, Malort is:
Generic for bitter-sweet spirit produced at one time by several companies, now apparently only by one: Jeppson, formerly in Chicago, now in Florida. Malort is flavored by a European herb called the malort plant, a Swedish term meaning Artemisia Absinthium - or grand wormwood in a base of neutral spirits. Originally a product favored in Chicago's central and eastern European ethnic neighborhoods, it has been adopted enthusiastically by bikers and is a mainstay at biker bars.
This shit is basically absinthe, but in my experience, much more potent. I've had absinthe before, hell I have a bottle in my kitchen right now, and it's never done anything to me. I hear stories about hallucinations, but all I've ever gotten from drinking the stuff was a bad taste in my mouth.

This Malort though, man. I got home from the bar and I suddenly found myself feeling incredibly drunk. I'd had like 5 beers, a Jager Bomb, and the Malort while at the bar. Enough to get me buzzed, but no where near enough to get me drunk.

But there I sat in my chair watching television feeling drunker than all absolute hell. I remember thinking to myself that I felt really high as well. The room was spinning, my ears were working funny, everything was just fucked up.

It had to be the Malort now that I realize what's in it.

As it's final tribute to me, I woke up this morning and had the biggest headache of my life. Now in my long illustrious drinking career, it's by no means the first time I've woken up hungover with a headache.

I've never had a headache like the one I had this morning though. And I'll never be drinking Malort again. Well, no wait, I'm pretty stupid. I'll probably try it again at some point. Especially if someone else buys it.

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