Thursday, January 16, 2014

(Getting out of the) Pipeline

Originally I was going to dismiss this newest cocktail, the Pipeline, with a "harrumph."  I was not impressed with it. Perhaps my ingredients were subpar. Though present by little more than the teaspoonful, apricot brandy, faintly candy-like, seemed to render the drink only faintly candy-like and of little further interest. The lemon, sugar, and rum alone might have been put to better use in one of our delicious Rum Sours. 


Shake all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice, then strain into a cocktail glass:

3/4 ounce (half a jigger) lemon juice
1 barspoon powdered sugar
1 and 1/2 ounces (1 jigger) rum 
1/4 ounce (1 and 1/2 tsp) apricot brandy

But the Pipeline gets more than a harrumph today, because today we have a sort of a "pipeline" to celebrate getting out of. Today, dear things, I pay off my student loans. A ten year commitment, taken on at the ripe old age of fortysomething, paid in full five years early. Is a liberal arts B.A.. for a retail floozie/food and wine blogger really worth it? I remember my advisor throwing up his hands in impatience when I first met him and said to him that I would rather not take on all sorts of debt for just one last year of schooling; if I had had my wits about me at that time I might have eyed that gesture and then shot back "Well, pardon me sir, for not desiring to be in hock for tens of thousands, with a family still to raise and one income to live on -- I should have realized your job is to bring more and more poor saps into the pipeline. Otherwise, who would need college advisors? No wonder you're impatient."  

A pity one can never be brilliant and scathing like that on the instant. Then I also remember graduation night, and all of us young to middle aged people, berobed in black polyester and mortarboards and waiting to march from the ballroom/holding pen to the auditorium and receive our diplomas in front of the flashbulb-popping throng. As we began the long walk, someone shrieked in a high pitched sing-song, "No heart attacks! No heart attacks!" The mighty Ph.D.s and university chancellors who led the ceremonies and made speeches, all bowed and waggled their tassels to one another whenever they met or interacted on stage. Is that normal? And once inside the dark and lofty auditorium, the graduates were seated in order of precedence -- doctorates at the very front, Masters behind, we Bachelors at the rear. If one had earned excellent grades, one wore a particular black and gold braided cord draped around the neck. Alas, I didn't have the cord, because to get it one was required to have earned those excellent grades at that school. Very natural. I had to content myself with the interior satisfaction of remembering straight As across twenty years at three different colleges, with an interregnum to marry and have babies betweenwhiles.

All over now, and the debt discharged. (Remember Maupassant's short story "The Necklace"? "But it was only paste!") Maybe to mark the occasion I will invent a better cocktail. Shall I load it up with bitters, and name it in honor of my advisor? The Tal-- well, no, let us forgive the poor soul, after all it was my decision, and leave him his privacy too. 

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