Recently, at a gathering of old pals, I was reminded of one of my many strange teenage quirks. This particular one being how I used to take bottles of red or green soft drink as my libations went invited to a party. Even now, some of my contemporaries don't understand the simple logic behind my actions.
It has always been my rule that, if I am driving, I don't have any alcoholic drink at all. This probably came about originally as a pain prevention measure as, in the period being discussed, my only means of transport was my motorbike. So, when invited to join in the fun, I would take a bottle of soft drink as my refreshment for the night.
In the beginning I took a large bottle of Coke. Once there I would pour myself a glass and then put the bottle in the ice-filled, pressed concrete laundry tub. Almost invariably when I went to get my second drink my bottle of Coke was either gone or empty. I then spent the rest of the night scrounging soft drinks from others.
After the first couple of times my Coke disappeared I wised up and realised I had to make a change or be black-balled as a freeloader from future parties. So I started turning up, on my bike, with a bottle of green or red soft drink in my knapsack. As it happens, I like red and green soft drinks and, as far as I knew, they weren't mixers and so wouldn't be 'borrowed' during the night. This worked well and, from then on, I was able to party all night without caging drinks.
It was at this stage of my explanation a couple of my old pals, who still enjoy mixed drinks, or 'cocktails' as they call them, explained how my devious plan would not be effective in this day and age.
Common mixers such as Coke, lemonade, ginger ale and soda water are now passé. What I considered to be a soft drink too strange to be a mixer is now the new target in the ice filled, plastic laundry tub of today's teenagers' parties. The strangest for me is my green drink, or lime flavoured soft drink. Apparently it is used with white rum, some lemon, lime and bitters soft drink, lime juice and mint leaves to make a 'Light Lime' cocktail.
My red drink, or raspberry flavoured soft drink, can now be added to vodka, triple sec and lime zest to become a 'Raspberry Martini' – 'How sophisticated!', I hear you gasp.
Then we went through some of the other soft drinks I thought would have been immune from soft drink stealing mixed drinkers.
The first being my favourite soft drink, ginger beer. It turns out this is now a widely used mixer. A 'Moscow Mule' is ginger beer mixed with vodka, lime juice and lime garnish; or it could be a 'Dark and Stormy' when mixed with dark rum. The best named cocktail made with ginger beer is called, 'Horsefeathers'. This is made by mixing ginger beer with whiskey, a drop or two of aromatic bitters and garnish with lemon.
It would seem no soft drink is really safe. Even sickly sweet yellow creaming soda is being used in a drink they call, 'Lychee Delight'. Mixed with gin, lychees and a lime garnish which, in my opinion, if you stole some poor bike riders yellow creaming soda for something like that you deserve everything you get!
You couldn't get Dr Pepper in my day but apparently it is now mixed with Captain Morgan rum to become, 'Captain Pepper'.
Have you ever made yourself 'Jungle Juice' from vodka, Kool aid mix and sprite lemonade?
Not for the lactose intolerant, but some people will even put milk in their drinks. Apparently a 'White Russian' is a combination of milk, coffee liqueur and vodka. Having been one of those children of the 50s forced to drink a bottle of warm milk before school every morning I would not have taken milk as my drink of choice. In fact, as a mixer, milk should only be used in flat whites.
So the answer to the question of which is my strangest drink mixer would have to be lime cordial – I remember once (and only once) being talked into trying lime cordial in my beer.
Is your strangest drink mixer even crazier than putting lime cordial in beer? Why not share with us your secret of how you make your own strange brew?