Life gives you amply opportunities to have one last drink. But when you are ordering or pouring that drink you are typically under the impression that it is the last drink… for now. And that is a reasonable perspective with which to enjoy one for the road (so long as you are not the one actually navigating the road). But what if it really was your last drink? Not a last drink but the last drink. One more before oblivion. When pressed, it is not too difficult to answer the question, people tend to have a favorite drink and that is likely the drink they would want to exit the stage with. But let’s make it a bit more interesting. And to do just that I am putting on the table a drink to suit the circumstances of my demise. Grim? Perhaps, but you never know when you might have to smoke ‘em if you got ‘em.
I am on the Ship and I am going down with it. It doesn’t have to be the North Atlantic but it is night and the water is going to be cold. I am thinking the classic cocktail known as the Negroni. The equal parts gin, sweet vermouth, and bitters, shaken and served up with a twist would suit me fine. It’s a drink with an appreciable, bitter profile that I could chat over as the ship took its time foundering. It is a drink that says, I know where I am going and I am not in a hurry. It goes well with evening attire.
But it is not every day that one can go down with the ship in a leisurely demise. What if it is to be the firing squad? Caught behind enemy lines with naught but a blind-fold and a last request. Whisky, of course. While I love to savor a dram, time is a factor and a shot of good whisky can burn a quick, glorious path to the heart before the squad’s bullets crash the party. Islay, definitely, something with salt and earth and char. And let us give it an oily, viscous mouth-feel that will be lingering longer that I do.
But enough with the realism. Say I find myself descending into a black hole. Took a wrong turn on a prohibition run through a dry galaxy. Not to sound too silly here, but a high gravity death calls for a high gravity beer. Make it a stout, bourbon barrel aged, char, coffee, chocolate, and on the yummy side of 10 proof. Cask conditioned, naturally. Something about that dark, rich, and slightly boozing flavor profile could stretch with me (seemingly) to infinity.
But what if it is to be death in the tropics on a day that would be idyllic were it not for the death part? Now in such heat I can’t draw upon my standard issues pleasures which tend to flourish in colder, more immediately pressing environs, so no whiskies or darker beers. How about a South Pacific Isle that is going to go volcanic… and just some gradual pyroclastic flows, we are talking Krakatoa part II. But before the bang it is nothing but warm waves, a cooling breeze, and me under that umbrella. Perhaps a mojito. The lime, mint, and rum with some sugar on the rocks is a great lens through which to savor the natural beauty of a tropical haunt. And one can move through more than a few of these simple pleasures till you get to the last one that joins you in being heard halfway around the world when the magma chamber finally blows.
But then, melodrama aside, every drink should be savored and appreciated as if it could be your last. Yes, maybe you need a quick shot of something once in a while to grease the machine. That aside, however, be it a spur-of-the-moment sangria or your finest dram from a shelf so high that it is technically on the second floor, truly appreciating flavors both simple and complex are one of the great joys of imbibing.