by Theresa Edwards
Welcome to Throwback & Throw Up, where I use the powers of terrible decision making to go back in time and drink all of the booze that I drank when I was an idiot teen and underclassmen. Originally, this was planned as an all-night bender of fortified wine, flavored liqueurs, and forties, but for reasons that will soon become very clear, I've decided to do my liver a solid and take these bad boys one at a time. So shortly after marching straight into my neighborhood package store and shouting, "Your shittiest liquor, please!" I got home with my tiny bottles of crappy booze (because you really don't want a handle of 99 Pineapples hanging around your house) and started with a liqueur that has a very special place in my heart.
The terrible booze: Southern Comfort
Where I drank it: Savannah, Georgia, while working at a subpar pizza parlor. Literally. I drank on the job.
How I drank it: Unfortunately. (Straight, in a styrofoam cup full of ice.)
Time machine recap: It's my 18th year of life, and apparently, my future husband -- who I'd only just met -- was nursing a hardcore crush on me. Go figure! Anyway, we were both at art school because we are walking cliches of terrible people, and I was very poor and working at a very crappy pizza parlor right across from Paula Deen's restaurant. Have you ever worked at a shitty pizza dump inundated by hangry purple-hatted vacationers that didn't realize there would be a line for the all day showing of Hell's Buttering 2: The Cardiac Event and an influx of your well-monied art school peers? You absolutely need to be drunk to do it, and I had nothing to facilitate that.
So I called this boy I just met.
"Do you have any alcohol?" I asked him. "Yeah, totally," he smoldered at me. "Come on over."
I drove out to his house-share in the Savannah 'burbs, and took him at his word, which is to say that I took his half-full bottle of Southern Comfort and left. Later I would realize my faux pas. He was probably hoping that I would come over and drink SoCo and take my pants off. He was probably not hoping that I would show up with my best friend Kiki, bogart his booze, and head back to work. So now you know this about my social skills: I am kind of dense. You need to say something like, "come drink this with me" or else I will assume that your vaguely whiskey-flavored gift is the kind that comes without strings. In my defense, I had no idea he liked me. After all, I smelled like pizza, and was steadily working my way through Savannah's douchiest, so I just bounced. Hey, I'm no cheater.
All this to say, you can see why we planned a romantic night of relieving our mutual shame with the drink that (almost) started it all. Here we go. Get in the time machine.
10:00 PM: First drink poured. I'm already gagging. It smells like one of those nail polish remover things that was a sponge with a hole in it. I take a small sip and immediately my entire digestive system rebels against me. I am gagging harder.
ME: It tastes like someone dropped a piece of chewed bubblegum into a cup of really thin maple syrup --
HUSBAND: Oh God, it smells like a really dirty playplace. Like rubber, and plastic? And feet?
ME: This is bad. This is really fucking bad.
HUSBAND: Like an old, bad, flat soda. Like if you were playing with your friends at a construction site and you found a Coca-Cola and mixed it with gasoline.
ME: We used to drink this? Like actually drink this?
Husband: Like a really bad mango. A Dr. Scholl's mango.
HUSBAND: It's still there -- Oh, God. It's 80% aftertaste. The aftertaste starts BEFORE the taste. [expletive deleted] [expletive deleted].
Me: [Really offensive expletive deleted]
We drained it, and actually had to drink it twice, because Southern Comfort will do this to you. You swallow it, and it comes right back up to party so you have to massage your throat to get it all the way down. We poured another, and I left my drink on the counter and went to color my hair, because a part of me was hoping that if enough ice melted, my drink would become more water than Southern Comfort.
10:35: Watery drink tasted.
ME: Oh. Oh, God there it is. It's underneath the ice. It's under the water.
HUSBAND: It really lurks.
HUSBAND: I have only had a few sips of this. How is it possible that I have heartburn?
I tried the straw technique again, and all that I can say is don't ever do that. It took me an entire 30 minutes to get halfway through my second drink because the straw created a slow torture of sorts. A bottleneck, if you will, of drainpipe liquor trickling down my drainpipe. So after sipping on it for maybe a half hour, we decided to to add Coke, because that's how my husband said he used to drink it. It did nothing to temper the flavor, and instead just tasted like we'd, well, added Southern Comfort to Coca-Cola. The flavors never mixed. There was no dilution of the sheer nauseating flavor of what the sadistic makers of Southern Comfort call: Whiskey, made comfortable.
Fun change, though: We did start burping because of the soda.
11:05: Coke added
HUSBAND: Ohhh ffffffffff
ME: CHHHkkkcckk CCH
HUSBAND: You know when you go to the dentist, and you have a fluoride tray, and you're not supposed to swallow?
HUSBAND: It's all that spit in the back of your throat. Plus banana fluoride. Banana fluoride backwash. That's Southern Comfort.
ME: (Burps) Well, at least it doesn't taste like nail polish remover when you burp. It tastes like actual nail polish. (Burps) I wish this burp was going somewhere.
HUSBAND: Like, you want to throw up.
ME: My glands are definitely pretty active right now.
ME: It's gettin' real salty in there.
HUSBAND: Goes really nicely with the fruit flavor. And the boot flavor. Very fruit -n- boot.
ME: (Burps, gags)
HUSBAND: And formaldehyde.
ME: Yeah, definitely.
HUSBAND: I'm making science in my esophagus here.
ME: Ipecac syrup should taste like this. CHHHkkkcckk CCH. Wait, is this what Ipecac tastes like? No, I don't want to know. I'm not trying that.
HUSBAND: Are you really still drinking this? How the fuck are you still drinking this?
ME: I want to drink. I just don't want it to be this.
HUSBAND: Let's actually just stop. Let's actually never drink Southern Comfort ever again.
ME: Oh God, I love you.
11: 55: We admit defeat
That's it. We made it two drinks and two hours in, like mere shells of our former undiscriminating selves, with about half the tolerance as well. I'm calling it with the Albus Dumbledore potion of despair GIF:
Join me next week for a forty of Old English. Or, I don't know, maybe a Solo cup full of hunch punch? I also picked up some Arbor Mist Sangria, and I'm already really regretting pitching this whole idea.