Alcohol was always a fun addition to a night partying or to a delicious dinner. I was an extremely social drinker who loved cocktails, beer, or wine. You name it, I tried it. My favorite was and still are margaritas made with high-quality tequila preferably on the rocks with a lightly salted rim. Ugh. Just writing that sentence makes my mouth water. I gave up drinking hard alcohol + wine a couple of years ago due to my digestion issues. Every time I sipped a cocktail no matter how expensive the liquor inside of it was I would be dying by the time I got home. I decided to cut hard-drinking altogether. I still had ol’ faithful beer that I could rely on when I wanted to drink socially. Or did I?
I loved beer more than liquor and figured I could rely on drinking it until that started to give me problems too. It came to the point where I would only drink certain hard ciders (I’ve tried A LOT of them) that wouldn’t kickstart my spiral into acid reflux oblivion. Being completely sober at a party or in a group of people who do not know me comes with its own annoying territory. Most people will hand me alcohol or ask what I want to drink and I’ll say I don’t drink. “What! Why? Are you sure you don’t want something to drink?”. People either think I’m straight edge, a recovering alcoholic, or who knows what else. I get a lot of strange looks + shoulder shrugs. Even just a couple of weeks ago on vacation in Puerto Rico, a bartender asked me why I chose a virgin version of a drink instead of an alcoholic one. I just gave a fake smile and took a long exaggerated deep breath. Sigh.
I have been thinking a lot about how much alcohol plays in our lives. Most people can enjoy alcohol no problem, but so many folks have their personal reasons for not imbibing. Some of these reasons are being pregnant, recovering from addiction, alcohol intolerance, religious beliefs, health, etc. I think the people who do judge me and others who refrain from drinking may feel like they themselves may be judged for drinking. We all know that alcohol can loosen inhibitions and so when we’re all buzzed we can let our guards down and forget what’s happening or being said. If one person in the group stays sober that means that they can see how “messy” we get drunk and will remember it, which brings up a slew of insecurities for those who drink.
This newsletter is by no means judgment for either party. I am all for people drinking responsibly + I’m all for folks choosing to stay dry. Luckily there are a lot more alcohol-free drinks coming out on the market that help those of us who want to socialize, but not be the pariah or designated “party pooper” of the night for not drinking. I’ll be testing a lot of these drinks in the weeks to come just for my own experimentation/enjoyment. I mean who doesn’t want to drink something tasty poured into a fancy glass?
In other news, I still need help with my Afro-Latinx cookbook! If you are or know a person who considers themselves Afro-Latinx I would love to hear from you/them. You/they could be from any part of Latin America/Caribbean. I've created a questionnaire for people to fill out with a ton of questions. This would be extremely helpful in getting this show really on the road!
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