September 18th, 2009

Drinks for the lovesick


Ever have one of those times in your life when it seems half the people you know are falling in love, getting married and having babies, and the other half are breaking up? Yeah, I thought so. This is for all imbibers facing the latter predicament. Among the many questions you’re grappling with — What went wrong? What will I do now? What is the point of existence? — is one that deserves special consideration: What am I drinking?

OK, here’s what you’re not drinking: Champagne. Cognac. Port. Anything pink. Anything juicy. And if you’re trying to drown your sorrows in something like Pinot Grigio or Michelob Ultra, you’ve got bigger issues than heartbreak.

So what’s left? Gin. Whiskey. Tequila. Maybe even vodka. These should be consumed in something close to their pure form, with nothing more than one or two other ingredients, preferably bitters and vermouth. After all, it’s time to strip away that psychic baggage, to get elemental. You’re dealing with an adult situation — have an adult beverage. What says “I am training for the emotional equivalent of the Iron Man Triathalon” more than a Pink Gin, an Old Fashioned, a Mexican Eagle or a vodka on the rocks? A case can be made for beer, as long as it’s not fancy and accompanies a shot, and, for those with a keen sense of sarcasm, a Zombie. It’s a tiki drink, sure, but it’s got four ounces of rum.

Order one of these at a barely lit bar, stare into your glass with your trenchcoat still on like Frank here, and let the lyrics of another master of heartbreak songs, George Jones, run through your head: “With the blood from my body / I could start my own still / And if drinking don’t kill me / Her memory will.”

And for god’s sake read the Modern Drunkard’s Boozing Through a Breakup.

Permalink | Filed under Beer, Bitters, Gin, Rum, Tequila, Vermouth, Vodka, Whiskey | Tags: ,

11 Responses to “Drinks for the lovesick”

  1. MC Slim JB

    Great post!

    One useful rule of thumb: you may try to drink to forget, but all you’ll really forget is what you did while you were drinking.

    More albums for the cracked-heart playlist:

    Frank Sinatra: Frank Sinatra Sings For Only the Lonely
    Lou Reed: Berlin
    Portishead: Dummy
    Beck: Sea Change
    Leonard Cohen: The Best of Leonard Cohen
    This Mortal Coil: It’ll End In Tears
    Joni Mitchell: Blue
    Joy Division: Substance
    Spiritualized: Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space
    Billie Holiday: any compilation focusing on her Teddy Wilson, mid-1930s period

    For me, I’ve found that time heals and music helps. Booze? Anodyne, but not restorative.

  2. Aaron

    I personally prefer Frank Sinatra: In the Wee Small Hours. Probably one of his best albums and perfect when sipping Old Fitzgerald, neat.

  3. ljclark

    Thanks for the recommendations, gents. OK, now that we’re accompanying our heartbreak booze with the appropriate music, I’d like to put in a good word for pretty much any song by Dusty Springfield or Roy Orbison.

  4. MC Slim JB

    Man, I love “In the Wee Small Hours”, too. That whole Capitol Records / Nelson Riddle period was an astonishing creative peak. I must point out, though, that “Only the Lonely” has the quintessential Sinatra drunken torch song, “One For My Baby (And One More For the Road)”. The album version is astonishing, but there’s a lesser-known rehearsal take that Sinatra recorded the night before he did the album version, a rough run-through with just his pianist, and he’s clearly half in the bag when he records it. It is actually a bit more heartbreaking than the one he does the next day, sober, in better voice.

  5. eas

    You’ve be really doggone blue too with Hank Williams Jr’s “There’s a Tear in My Beer”

  6. Patrick

    Dusty Springfield is tremendous. I might have to dust off my old 60’s and 70’s 45’s to come up with some more. John Denver anyone? I have no shame. I saw him at the Orpheum. That man could sing. Some of his more obscure acoustic recordings are great. He also could play a mean piano, like he does on “For You.” His duet, “Perhaps Love” with Palcido Domingo is one of my all-time favorites.

  7. p. gonzales

    Loving this post! So many good songs & albums mentioned. MC Slim’s list especially, my god… So you reminded me about another song by George Jones called “Bartender’s Blues”. It’s a lovely, schmalty tearjerker, makes you want to laugh (lyrics!) and/or cry……. here it is

  8. Br. Cleve

    “Lonelyville” – a little known but incredible torch song. The extremely rare version by Anne Philips (Roulette Records, 1958) has been reissued, you can grab it on CD or download from Amazon. Della Resse sang it in the film “Let’s Rock”, and the clip is on YouTube. Of course, I like the version by Combustible Edison on the album “Schizophonic”.

  9. Tina S

    Partial to Eagle Rare, straight, accompanied by Coltrane blaring at a volume that drowns out any room for thinking. I like my breakup music angry. And for the ladies out there, who can forget about Alanis or Tori for a breakup?

  10. Todd

    “Three Cigaretts in the ashtray” Patsy Cline. with a PBR Tallboy and a Old Overholt back
    Or the angry route
    ” Used to love her” GNR. Patron Silver and a side of bail money

  11. Patricia

    Whiskey sour, beer and gin a la “Love you like a brother” by Hall & Oates.

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