Peter Frampton and Boone's Farm: What Was Your First Drink?

Categories: Booze

boonesfarmstrawberry.jpg
What a terrible thought.
Last week, our intern Molly Dunn wrote about her experience ordering her first adult beverage upon turning 21. In honor of National Dry Martini Day (yes, that's a thing; they're all things now), Dunn bravely ordered a serious drinker's drink. And, as you'd expect, promptly spit the foul thing out.

We all applauded Dunn for her attempt at braving the classics side of the cocktail menu for her very first go-around at the bar, even if she ended up enjoying her Appletini far more. And that's because our palates develop and change over time.

I remember the height of sophistication for me as a 21-year-old was ordering an Amaretto Sour or, if I was feeling nostalgic, a Tequila Sunrise. I relished the Buttery Nipple shots that college bars sent around throughout the crowds on the weekends, because they tasted like the Werther's Originals that my grandfather used to hand out in church. And I was pretty sure that wine didn't get any better than the Schmitt Söhne Riesling found in the bright blue bottles I later used as flower vases for daisies because that's what girls do in college.

But none of those things were my first drink. No, my first drink was something far more in keeping with my subtle redneck roots.

boonesstrawberry.jpg
Hey, here's a recipe for some teen pregnancy!
In the summer of 1997, I was 16 years old and walnut-brown thanks to a lifeguarding gig at our neighborhood pool. To say it was an easy job would be an understatement. I think I did less actual work than the entire cast of Empire Records combined (although we did superglue quarters to the ground several times to screw with the smaller kids at the pool). Everyone in the neighborhood was on swim team and therefore knew how to swim. Besides, the pool was less a place to swim and more a place for neighborhood kids to congregate in the summers in the days before the Internet ruined our socializing skills and thirtysomethings were yelling at people to get off their lawns.

As such, the neighborhood pool was a breeding ground for summer flings and young love affairs. The lifeguards were the arbiters of these relationships, judging your flirting skills from afar while perched in the wooden stands under crooked umbrellas or storing up information about which girls Colin or Joey or Shawn brought to the pool which days so that the data could be used for blackmailing/extortion purposes later on. ("Listen, dude. Do you want us to tell Martina that you were here with Lindsey yesterday? GO TO THE GODDAMN SUNNY'S AND BUY US SOME COKES AND GET ME ONE OF THOSE CLEARLY CANADIANS.")

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Portrait of the writer as a dirty fucking hippie.
And if you, as a neighborhood kid, wanted to have a date night with one of your little paramours...the lifeguards were the ones who made that happen. We all had cars -- something that was a bit rarer 15 years ago -- and if you bought the booze and the gas, we would take you anywhere you wanted to go. And, in what we apparently saw as a form of chaperoning, we came with you.

Which usually meant a group would head out in the humid summer nights to Addicks Dam, a long and quiet stretch of grasslands that backed up to the neighborhood. I was never a drinker in high school (you're welcome, parents; see how good I was to you?), but I always liked these little trips. I couldn't imagine it was fun being drunk, but I sure as hell liked to watch other people act like loons.

Until one night, when I finally decided to partake in the sweet nectar that was so often the catalyst for these late-night romps off to Addicks Dam: Boone's Farm Strawberry Hill. Vaguely berry-flavored (and not even strawberry-flavored at that) malt liquor had somehow become the drink of choice in my group of idiot friends, I'm imagining because it was highly cheap and the saccharine "berry" flavor masked the underlying grain alcohol/gasoline taste of the liquor itself while getting you very drunk, very quickly. It was the ambrosia of high schoolers, so to speak.

I drank a few swigs off the bottle while seated in the back of my friend Shawn's van, Shawn who was too old to still be lifeguarding or hanging out with high schoolers. Shawn whose two-tone van would have set off pedophile alarms in my head if any of us had really been aware of what a pedophile was back then (and not that poor, simple Shawn was a pedophile anyway). It was offensively sugary stuff, with a sticky finish. It coated my mouth and lingered for hours while Shawn and I went back and forth between watching our friends' fumbling attempts at making out, and making fun of their awful attempts.

It was oppressively hot outside, the tenth straight day in a row that summer it had been over 100 degrees. The van's vinyl seats were coated with our sweat, the mosquitoes plaguing all four of us. But no one cared. We were living the teenage dream: alone in a van in a desolate prairie with only the light from the headlamps illuminating the thick darkness, Peter Frampton blaring from the speakers, berry-flavored booze in hand and at least one pair of us getting to second base.

Not bad for a first drink, although it was another ten years before I ever tried Boone's Farm again. It was as terrible as I remembered, although not nearly as sweet.

What was your first drink, readers?



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14 comments
plumbing
plumbing

A wine refrigerator can store several bottles of wine which can be served at an instant or to be kept for longer periods, perhaps for that party you are to be hosting in a few weeks time. And no, your regular refrigerator will not work.

chelle14
chelle14

Sun Coast wine coolers. They came in 2 liter bottles and we thought we could pass them off as cokes if we got got.

Bozo Jerk
Bozo Jerk

Olde English 800, the 16 oz. can variety acquired via a "hey, mister!" (or more appropriately, an "hola, señor!"). We all got drunk and we all got arrested. We were 14.

Howard Rushing
Howard Rushing

some Moosehead beer with my dear now-departed dad. I am always tempted to buy a sixer just to see how it would taste to me now.

Katharine Shilcutt
Katharine Shilcutt

I'm imagining that you could buy a Zima (shades of the 90s, still) and capture the essence of Clearly Canadian and vodka mixed together...

just saying
just saying

Did you seriously just mention Clearly Canadians?  Why aren't they available to me now as an adult so I can mix them with vodka? I too had parents who allowed us kids a mini-glass of wine every now and again at dinner. And my dad always found it amusing to let us all when we were babies sip the foam off his nightly dinner beer. My first "real" experience was two shots of Bacardi my freshmen year of high school with my older sister and the pair of brothers we were dating.

Tim
Tim

A Tom Collins with my older brother in a bar on Grand Cayman.  He was pretty close to legal age and I was nowhere near it, but they served us anyway without questions.  Thus began a lifetime affair with gin.

Geezy
Geezy

Yeah that is definitely not for the faint of heart. However the 2nd bottle he stole, which was about a week later was a bottle of Canadian Mist, which on the scale is about 1 notch up from Wild Turkey. Shitty indeed. 

Chris
Chris

Nice...I also had gin, Gibley's with a splash of Dr. Pepper. I was in middle school and clearly didn't know any better and it was disgusting. Then I took Snoop Dogg's advice and mixed up a gin & juice...much bettter, but I still can't really drink gin to this day without thinking about Dr. Pepper.

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