Not quite as planned


I have to tell someone this story.

(Lucky you.)

I swear I am not making any of this up, and in fact, haven’t changed the names to protect anybody. I will however admit that I didn’t investigate my facts too closely. (Why let the truth get in the way of a good story?)

Tigg and I had a Super Bowl party. We host one every year. And this year, like last year… and every other year… we debated how much beer to buy. Neither of us drinks much beer, if we drink it at all. Same with our friends. Mostly wine drinkers this group, or people more than satisfied with soda. (Bob and Terry’s Super Bowl Party encourages you to drink responsibly and drive safely.) But it always ends up that we buy a couple of cases and then have leftover beer sitting in the house for months until we finally reach an occasion to pack it up, bring it along, and give it away.

(“Leftover beer? Leftover beer?” I can hear the cries of some people I know already… because there is no such thing as leftover beer. But you know what? As opposed to what some people I knew believed in high school -- that a drop of alcohol hitting the ground was a drop of alcohol wasted in an unforgivable accident -- today leftover beer is a reality.)

So it was that this year, Tigg decided she would only buy a few bottles of different brands. She figured that three or four six-packs would be plenty. And there I was, several days before the game, in the basement placing twenty-four bottles of four different types of beer into a refrigerator.

On the Monday morning after the game, I was back at that same refrigerator in the basement, putting away twenty-seven bottles. To be honest, I have no clue what that says about your Super Bowl party when you actually finish with more beer than you started with. I know what it meant in college. (Actually, such an accomplishment would have been impossible in college.)

In any event, this story I need to tell you isn’t about beer. But, I had to establish a foundation. Let you know what I was working against. The culprits in this story are my wife… Tigg… and our friends… Ellen and Richard. See, they are the couple that brought the extra beer, intending to drink it, and then switched to hard liquor.

Two weeks ago my wife was bringing out some things for the party. If you don’t know my wife, understand at least this… she takes this hostess business quite seriously. She uses real plates and metal forks for the guests at our Super Bowl party. And, thanks to her hard work and culinary talents, my name is associated with some of the best food ever served at a party, because she makes great eats and more than plenty of it. Guests may not drink the beer, but they rave about the food... her food with me along for the credit... for months after the event. (My mother treats parties at her house exactly the same way. The food at Mom’s parties is the stuff of legend. My Dad and I exchange many knowing glances whenever my Mom’s Christmas party or my Super Bowl party are approaching -- or should I say my wife’s party since she really deserves the credit for it more than I do?)

In any event, Tigg found an old drink mixing guide of mine during this year’s preparations. From Margaritaville. She has been trying, to varying degrees of success, to get rid of some of the alcohol in our house. We just don’t drink it. (Although I do have a teenager in the house, so perhaps we should be more aware of it, but I suppose I should get back to the story.) She decided, while flipping through this guide, that by buying just a couple of bottles of different things… say triple sec, margarita mix and tequila… she could serve a huge range of drinks at this party and get rid of the extras from our household mini-bar.

It was about halftime that I heard the fight.

Well… not a fight so much as a spirited conversation.

Apparently, Tigg, Ellen and Richard were debating how to make a Long Island Tea. Beyond the problem of having no gin -- which as one of the four alcoholic ingredients does create a significant problem when missing -- they were debating the measurements.

The drink guide called for half-ounce portions of rum, vodka, gin and tequila to be mixed with lemon juice and a splash of cola.

They had two shot glasses. One was your standard, heavy shot glass that you might find, oh, in the pocket of any college student that perhaps had just slipped it off of the bar and into his… or her… pocket. The other was more of a measuring glass, but it really didn’t have anything clearly marked. It was a cheap shot glass. So they were going on and on about how much of an ounce was in a shot, since both of these glasses held slightly different amounts.

“Umm, guys,” I interrupted. “Since the recipe calls for equal portions of every ingredient, who cares about ounces? Why not just use the same glass and consistently add one or two shots of each alcohol?”

Three blank stares.

Then they turned away from me without saying anything, and made the drink with no gin, but double-rum. A few minutes later I poured a lot of coconut rum over ice, added a splash of pineapple juice for color and went back to the game.

So there you have it. My story. Not only can I throw a party where the beers multiply, but also where the bartenders will spend quality conversation time discussing how to get half-ounce portions without being able to measure a half-ounce. I suppose there are worse things to be concerned about.

If you have any comments or questions, please e-mail me at