The Empty Nester: The Most Appalling Cocktail Ever Created

Categories: Booze

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The email read: "Please let me know if you need a hi-res image." Thanks, but this is as high-res as I can stomach.
We get a lot of somewhat insane press releases at the Houston Press. From the "Muffin Man's" "penis-shaped" Montrose restaurant to a box filled with tuna and men's panties, we've seen it all.

But a press release I received today took the proverbial cake. It went a little something like this: "Moms, are you closet alcoholics who can't wait till the kids are gone to booze it up There's Something Wrong With Aunt Diane-style? Are you depressed that your college-bound children have left you alone with your miserable husband and mid-level managerial career, forcing you to question all of your life decisions as a result? It's not too late to become an alcoholic! Here's how!"

Actually, the real press release managed to be even darker:

We've created the perfect libation for those mom's battling (or reveling in) their Empty Nest Syndrome. Plus, you can't go wrong with red wine AND tequila. Trust me - it's delicious.

The kids are away, so mom will play! Whether you're feeling sorry for yourself or basking in the newly found solitude, the Sauza® Empty Nester is the perfect cocktail recipe for adjusting to Back to School bliss or blues.

That's right: It's a press release that is actively encouraging already-depressed women to abuse alcohol. It was simultaneously the most crass and most upsetting press release I have ever read. I cringed and winced with every sleazy sentence.

And somehow, the cocktail itself was even worse: essentially an amateur-level margarita mixed with red wine and garnished with the last, shriveling shred of your dignity. If you're keen to see exactly what agonizing, clawing desperation at the loss of your children tastes like, here's the recipe to try at home:

1 ½ Parts Sauza® Silver Tequila
½ Part Cabernet Sauvignon
½ Part DeKuyper Triple Sec
½ Part Agave Nectar
½ Part Fresh Lime juice

Not having children, I can't really speak to Empty Nest Syndrome nor its apparent drive to make mothers drink tequila mixed with red wine, Triple Sec and salty, bitter tears.

So I called my own mother, who -- I'm assuming -- experienced Empty Nest Syndrome when I left for college in 1998 to see if the loss of her one and only child drove her to combine tequila and Cabernet in horrifying, abominable ways.

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All that Picasso's Weeping Woman really needed was a shitload of tequila and red wine in a thermos.
My mother is much more qualified to answer questions on Empty Nest cocktails and press releases than I am anyway: She's a veteran red wine drinker, a chef, a mother (obviously) and a 25-year veteran of the marketing industry, where she worked for firms like Leo Burnett and Winius-Brandon as well as major corporations like Coca-Cola and Miller Brewing. Essentially, she knows her shit.

I sprung the call on her at 9 p.m. last night, and launched straight into the tough questions:

Did you experience Empty Nest Syndrome when I left for college?

Yes. I cried for three straight weeks.

Oh my God, Mom. Are you kidding?

No. I was lonely for you.

I can't have been very good company at 17 years old.

You were! I missed the life in the house, girls running up and down the stairs. Eighteen years of it. And it wasn't just you that was gone. It was all that life that was gone. All the giggling and the parties and the posters, you know? It was very quiet and I wasn't ready for it yet.

When I left, did it ever occur to you to drink?

No? I'm not one to drink my sorrows away. Why? It occurred to me to find something else to do with my time that didn't involve drinking.

Would you ever mix red wine and tequila? And I promise I'm going somewhere with this.

[Indignantly.] No, that's gross. Who the f*** would think of doing such a weird-ass thing anyway? Those things don't belong in the same meal.

I like that you referred to that as a meal.

Don't put the word "f***" in the interview.

Goddamnit, Mom.

Use "Who the hell," then, if you have to use a bad word.

Fine. Anyway, the reason I'm asking you about this [Note: It's a tribute to the weird stuff I call my mom about that she hasn't even questioned me about any of this so far.] is because of a press release I received today from Sauza tequila's PR company.

[I read the release to her, complete with description of the Empty Nest cocktail.]

That sounds like to me a chaser for a bottle of sleeping pills. It's pure desperation. You're hoping your husband will find you dead in bed when he gets home. It depresses me to even think about it.

I mean, it's essentially a margarita with red wine poured in. You know?

It's pathetic. Are you sure someone didn't hack their email?

Yes, I'm pretty sure. And are you sure you never considered mixing red wine with tequila when I left for college?

[Dryly, now.] As sad as it was, I didn't think about drinking. It never entered my mind. Especially not that shit.

What's disturbing about it, to me, is the idea that some young marketing guy is making light of what is a very upsetting time in many mothers' lives.

I haven't been in marketing in so many years... That, to me, shows the brain-dead 30-year-olds -- no offense -- in marketing today, the idiots who get their master's degrees and think they know everything. That's the level of marketing expertise that's out there. The days of marketing genius -- the days of David Ogilvy and Leo Burnett -- those were all over years ago. The ones of us who were good are out of it out of disgust. If I had to put something out like that, I'd quit before I'd release a press release like that. I'd be ashamed.

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I think we can all agree that a Richard Mulligan-themed Empty Nest cocktail would have been much more tasteful.
So you think a 30-year-old guy probably wrote that?

Probably. All the people my age are out of that business. Someone with age and experience is not valued.

What would your reaction have been if you'd received this press release while you were in your Empty Nest period?

I would be offended. I would think it was a joke at first, like something that The Onion had written. That might even warrant a phone call to the company: "Is your marketing department on drugs or did they just get out of junior high last week?"

So, you're sure you're not going to try it?

I'm pretty sure. My wine refrigerator is full of really good wine. I would never adulterate a good red wine with tequila, nor would I adulterate a good tequila with red wine. I mean, that's like saying: "Let's put Brussels sprouts and strawberries together." Let's put Brussels sprouts and strawberries together and call it a day.

Thanks, Mom.

You're welcome. Good night.



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37 comments
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winelovrs1968
winelovrs1968

The kids are grown and somewhat out on their own. We have a bottle of Cabo Wabo and a case or two of Cab,  Triple Sec, plenty of Limes. Not sure about the Agave Nector, very sweet, we do have frozen Apricot Nector in the freezer.

Erin Nies
Erin Nies

I love your mom. :)

GWEST
GWEST

YOUR MOMMA loves her mom!

Chasd00
Chasd00

So what was your cut for giving sauza more press on this recipe than they ever dreamed?

Jeff
Jeff

Drinking a (nasty looking) cocktail doesn't mean you are abusing alcohol. Saying "here, try this drink" is not the same as encouraging alcohol abuse.

Ed Truitt
Ed Truitt

Believe me, if Michael Vick were mixing red wine and tequila, he would be convicted of felony abuse of alcohol.

Falcone
Falcone

Maybe not, but promoting the drinking of alcohol to someone who is already depressed is a bit irresponsible, dontcha think?

EdT.
EdT.

I'm willing to bet that this abomination of a PR clusterf... "campaign" was the brainfar... brain"child" of a real Honest-To-God "Social Media Consultant". Who, like, knows how to use email and "The Twitters" and even MySpac... Facebook!

~EdT.

Troy
Troy

Sounds Fantastic but Casa Noble instead of Sauza...

Northsider
Northsider

Sauza wins here K, got you to spend time and effort thinking, writing, and talking about their name, and now folks like myself even just typed it.  Subconsciously it  will stick around in our head for a while too.  Sadly, marketing of product knows no boundaries and I wouldn't expect this to change,  it will just continue to get more creepy.

Bill Hicks' explains: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...

Andrea
Andrea

1) I agree with your mom - you should call the PR firm and ask how their strategy of putting the interns in charge of interfacing with the public is going.

2) This sounds like a drink designed to make you vomit just as violently as your children, who've just left home and gone to their first college keg party, are vomiting.

3) It has agave syrup, so if they called it a SKINNY Empty Nester, my mom would be tempted to try it. Not because she's sad I'm gone, but because, hey, SKINNY!

Andrea
Andrea

and

4) I would drink a full pint of Peach Qream before attempting to down a 3 oz. serving of the Empty Nester.

Cheflambo
Cheflambo

I think when we all left for college was probably when my mom STOPPED drinking.

Sherie
Sherie

KS- I've often laughed out loud at some of your columns while simultaneously thinking, "I should buy her a drink since clearly we are always in the same bar," (IE....I used to go every Tuesday to a certain wine bar), but clearly, your mother is the the freaking hilarious one here. 

Cheers to Mom!

Megan
Megan

Your mom is AWESOME.  On another note, I could see my mom doing this when she was drinking.  Now that she's sober, the hardest thing she'll drink is O'Douls.

CraigHlavaty
CraigHlavaty

I used to bring a flask to wine bars and pour whiskey in my wine, but then again I was an alcoholic. My mom didn't drink when we left the house to go away, she shopped. 

John Seaborn Gray
John Seaborn Gray

Your mom has a great point about The Onion. This would be brilliant satire. The fact that they mean it sincerely is mind-numbing.

I also suspect they'll soon steal my own personal cocktail invention, The Bad Idea, which is as follows:2/3 red wine1/3 JaegermeisterServe at room temperature in a plastic cup and stir with a black Twizzler.

Brittanie Shey
Brittanie Shey

Ahh, the Texas Rattl'r. Back when I tended bar, anyone who asked for a "free birthday shot" got one: equal parts well tequila and Jager.

Megan
Megan

I think the Shameless Chef should do a counterpoint to Nicholas's Build-a-Bar series.

granny smythe
granny smythe

if they were serving these at Anvil for $12 a pop, you'd be guzzling them down like water

Katharine Shilcutt
Katharine Shilcutt

LOL. That I can promise you I would not. Anyway, it's not the cocktail itself that's appalling -- it's the message behind it. "Drink your sorrows away, Weak Mothers of the World. Imbibing our tequila will help you numb the agonizing pain of being separated from your children."

King Suave
King Suave

Eh, why not? Once a chick has crapped out some babies she's damaged goods anyway. She'll be lucky if he husband doesn't kick her to the curb for a newer model. I say drink up, ladies! It's only downhill from here.

GWEST
GWEST

YOUR MOMMA crapped out a baby!

Hugh Ramsey
Hugh Ramsey

I know I would.  All I care about is what is hip and new and expensive.

tronboy
tronboy

Skip the Triple and add Chambord.

Glenn Livet
Glenn Livet

Drunken, depressed moms: Feel free to look me up.

GWEST
GWEST

YOUR MOMMA looks you up!

H_e_x
H_e_x

Just stroll into Rice Epicurean and you'll find more than enough.

Nicholas L. Hall
Nicholas L. Hall

You know I'm totally going to have to make this cocktail for Build-A-Bar, right?

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