Back on the Wagon with Build-A-Bar: Divine Intervention

Categories: How To

Photo by Nicholas L. Hall
Here comes the sunshine
My wife is pregnant. It's our third time in the barrel, and as unexpected a ride as the prior two. We (think we) know what we're in for this time, though, so it should be smooth sailing. To help ensure pacific waters, I'm (mostly) teetotaling in sympathy with my wife for the next 40 weeks or so. That seems like a pretty good reason to revisit my semi-abandoned nonalcoholic "cocktail" experiments. Drink along with me.

I'd had the best of intentions. Really. For the first three or four months, I'd gone pretty much cold turkey. I might have had three or four drinks in that span, and only when offered one socially. I didn't even really realize I'd fallen back in the habit of the occasional nightcap, or a beer or two a week after work. Then, a few weeks ago, after I had posted something online about a cocktail idea I was trying out, my friend Sammy replied, "Hey, I thought you were off the juice?" The guilt hit me like a ton of bricks.

It wasn't that I was drinking when she couldn't; I'd made that decision mostly on my own anyway, and she'd told me repeatedly that it wouldn't bother her if I lapsed. It was, in a way, precisely because she was so unfazed by it that it felt like such a failure.

Here she was, coasting along without a blip or a drink, not giving it a second thought. And there I sat, drink in hand, not having given that a second thought. The luxury of not thinking about it -- a simple matter of biological luck, in a way -- felt like an unfair advantage. We were in this thing together, and that had been my reasoning for giving up booze in the first place. To have so casually given up on that notion, just because I could, felt like a failure, and a refusal to recognize the privilege inherent in my Y chromosome.

Photo by Nicholas L. Hall
Yes, I asked permission to use this photo.
Shortly thereafter, during a routine grocery trip, I found my wife scanning a display of jelly beans. "What are you looking for?" I asked. "I really want a margarita," she replied, filling a small bag with fluorescent green speckled candies. A friend had told her that Jelly Belly has a line of cocktail-flavored beans, and she'd had margaritas on the brain ever since. She beamed as her eyes fell on Mojito, Pomegranate Cosmo, Peach Bellini, Piña Colada and Strawberry Daiquiri. Later that night, as she sat on the couch scowling at the unsurprisingly unsatisfying sugared pretenders, I marched into the kitchen and made her a drink.

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