Back in June I had the great honor of pretending to be a man of God in order to marry two godless friends. It was a beautiful summer wedding in the Shenandoah Valley. There were green hills and horses. There were friends and good food. There was a vuvuzela horn. There were port-o-potties nicer than 99% of the bathrooms I’ve ever used.
Perhaps most importantly, there was tequila. A few weeks before the day of unholy matrimony, the bride texted me to ask my favorite liquor. I probably should have thought this through, but I automatically responded with “tequila.” And come the day of the wedding, there it was. A beautiful bottle of the stuff, looking delicious, smelling like death and life.
To say that I have a complicated relationship with tequila is like saying France and Germany have a complicated relationship. As I’ve often said, I love tequila. Tequila just doesn’t love me back.
My dad is a master margarita maker, so the stuff has been glittering like liquid gold on our top shelves since I was a kid. A margarita was probably one of the first alcoholic drinks I ever had.
Not for nothing am I currently living with a woman who downed three tequila shots the night we met. The way to my heart has always been through my liver. And nothing gets there faster than the agua del agave.
Tequila is seductive. Of all the liquors, it tastes the best going down. Hell, it’s the only liquor that actually tastes good going down. It’s one you enjoy drinking rather than tossing down your gullet in the hopes of getting drunk faster. Tequila will, of course, get you drunk. But it will make you pay the price.
There is no hangover as terrible as the tequila hangover. A beer hangover will make you wish you hadn’t drank so much the night before. A wine hangover will make you wish you’d never started drinking in the first place. A tequila hangover will make you wish your parents had never met, thus sparing you from this nightmarish being. Most hangovers make you hate life. Tequila hangovers make you loathe the very fabric of existence.
Now, that’s cheap tequila, mind you. In other words, the kind of tequila I drink because I have a master’s degree in the humanities and am a (Japanese) civil servant.
Until recently, that was the only kind I knew. Then one night a few winters ago, I was at dinner at a Mexican restaurant in East Village. I had a bad cold and could barely taste my meal. The restaurant kindly gave us free tequila samples. Good tequila. Sipping tequila.
The shot warmed my miserable, virus-addled body and by the next morning, I felt right as rain. It was an anti-hangover. Tequila, like snake and spider venom, can be either a poison or a cure.
The bottle the bride and groom gave me is good tequila. Tequila to be cherished. Tequila to be sipped on special occasions. Tequila to be used as a cure for colds and fevers.
Tequila that is proof that every now and then, tequila loves me too.