Choices, Choices: Indecision at Cocktail Hour

This can be filed under the heading: REAL ISSUES to get very worked up about.

I’ve been having a serious problem with alcohol indecision lately. I blame both children and my age for screwing with my favorite time of the day. When I was 25, I gave alcoholic choices very little thought, because shit, I could always drink something else, and have plenty of room in the ol’ tank for more. Now, my drinks are necessarily limited due to crippling hangovers and those pesky little beings I call my children. Childcare when hungover is a form of torture.

As a 34-year-old with two kids, I only have one real chance to make that first drink count, and it needs to count. The following scene is played out in my head at least three times a week. The other days of the week are better if only for a clear sense of alcoholic desire.

It’s 4:47 and I’ve been thinking about my first drink of the day for at least an hour or so. Usually, I have a clear idea of where I’m headed alcoholically, but today, for whatever reason, I’m having a tough time.

Option #1:

IPA with at least a 6.7 alcohol content. Totally chuggable. And by this I mean, that as soon as I crack open the cold glass bottle [no thank you cans – unless you have Boomsauce inside of you], I can take a long, deep drink, and still have plenty left. Kinda like choosing popcorn over chips. You’re able to prolong your snacking in a less disgusting way. The first couple slugs of IPA will go straight to my bloodstream and give me a fresh, clean, girl-next-door buzz. Every time. Only real issue is that IPAs aren’t exactly figure friendly, and more than two (or sometimes more than 1.5) can result in a strong desire for a nap, and/or a stale taste in one’s mouth.

Option #2:


Red Wine. Warm, soothing, and rich. Always great in cold weather, also decently chuggable (although not as chuggable as IPA). Usually imbues drinker with a rosy, glowy buzz of bonhomie. But SOMETIMES screws drinker over with a troublingly somnolent buzz. Not guaranteed to give drinker a bright, clean, buzzed feeling. On off-days, only imparts a fuzzy numbness.

Option #3:

Gin and soda. Clear and clean. Cold and refreshing. Tangy, lime-y, and piney. Feels healthier than the other options, like choosing a fruit salad over a brownie or a sandwich. When made correctly (my cousin recommends a 3-1 ratio (3 being the booze, and 1 being the mixer), this drink can jump into the drinker’s bloodstream with admirable efficiency. When first sip is large and taken on an empty stomach (also recommended by said cousin), your odds of buzzed success are greatly increased. CAVEAT 1: if drinker’s stomach is too empty, drinker might be forced to inhale a large amount  of carbs, and if drinker was trying to make the day a “healthy” one, this might foil her well-laid plans of lean, grilled meat option and veggies for dinner. CAVEAT 2: if the cocktail is made without enough ice, in a short glass, or without enough gin, buzz can be dull and lackluster, and make you really wish you had gone with the IPA.

Option #4:

White Wine. Not an option. Too sweet, too acidic, and too headache-inducing. Unless it’s lunchtime and I’m dining alfresco in a vineyard, count me out.


Sara Petersen

I am a bookworm, a lover of all things beautiful and curious and fun, and a total perfectionist when it comes to writing clear, relatable, REAL prose. I am obsessive about searching the depths of the Internet for the most perfect of all French butter crocks. I am ever-intrigued about how life, love, and relationship continue to shift and morph in my thirties


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