Firmly Decanted
©2017, George J. Irwin. All rights reserved.

One of the many Farmer's Markets in the area has among its regular vendors purveyors of various alcoholic beverages. Normally, I don't partake, especially first thing in the morning before I've had much to eat. In fact, I didn't understand why it was a good idea for wineries and offerors of other such potent potables to bring their wares to these venues. (One answer I received when I asked: "Well, some people stay out all night, then come here and try our product." I'm not sure that was an untrue response.)

There was one weekend day when I had eaten a full breakfast before arriving and I came across a booth with free tastings of hard cider. For some reason, the raspberry flavored version seemed intriguing.

"But just a little bit… I'm driving."

The attractive young woman who was providing samples smiled and obliged, and I had a very small taste of raspberry hard cider from a local producer. And I liked it.

Impulsively, I purchased a four-pack of bottles of it, which I expected to be a long-term supply. And when I got home, into the back of the refrigerator it went.

Several days later, I had made myself a reasonable meal: turkey, creamed corn and mashed potatoes (from the box, well known inside my parents' house as "fake potatoes"). And I thought it would be a great idea to enjoy a bottle of the hard cider with that. You know, food with a drink. Isn't that supposed to dent the impact of an "adult beverage"?

It was a nice combination, and I had no problem drinking about two-thirds of the bottle of hard cider along with my meal.

I had just finished the final forkful of mashed potatoes, sopping up the last of the creamed corn with it before putting it in my mouth, when a not-terribly familiar buzzing feeling began to emanate from the back of my head.

And I thought to myself, wow, I'm drunk.

Not even a full twelve-ounce bottle of hard cider, and I'm drunk? Really?

Yes, really.

Despite my heritage from Poland, Ireland and Scotland, which I often joke is worth about 120 proof, I have a considerably lower tolerance for alcohol than I thought I would considering the countries of my forebears. And so, yes, I can easily get drunk on one drink... or less.

And so I did what I usually do after an overindulgence: I fell asleep. It's true, I'm no fun at parties. The rare times when I have had one too many in public (and this "one too many" frequently means "one"), the overwhelming urge I have is not to shed my inhibitions, but to find a comfortable place and have a nap. The same is true when I'm by myself, though it's easier to accomplish. Sometimes the carpet will do just fine. It certainly did this time.

Even so, I told myself after I woke up and did the dishes, less than twelve ounces of hard cider with an alcohol by volume of five and one-half percent doesn't seem like enough to do me in. I can usually handle the typical serving size of wine and that has more than twice the alcohol.


So this had to be an unusual occurance. A full meal, and not even a full hard cider, and I'm inebriated? Yep, an outlier, that's what it is! I rationalized.

So, several days later, given that I still had three bottles of the four-pack, I made another attempt. A sample size of one was not going to be sufficient.

This time, I had a slice of ham along with a generous portion of macaroni and cheese—organic, no less—and the second bottle of hard cider.

As I was working my way through Iteration Number Two, a line from a song popped into my head which I hadn't thought of in a while:

We would pick you up and carry you away, when you were firmly decanted...*

Strange that I would think of that line... I'd never been carried away after getting, well, carried away.

And about then, once again without finishing the bottle of hard cider, I realized that I was once again Firmly Decanted.

I ended up giving away the last two bottles of hard cider. I assume that they were thoroughly enjoyed without incident.

*Lyric from "Come On In," written by Bill Champlin and Bruce Gaitsch, from Champlin's album Through It All.