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Make mine sloe

Make mine sloe Make mine sloe

Every person has things that trigger memories.

Certain demographic groups which will not be named here, have co-opted the word “trigger” to imply these memories are always bad, or will lead to a post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) episode.

This is not to diminish the real suffering of people living with PTSD or who have been through trauma in their lives. But, a trigger can also be something that brings forth positive and good memories. Oftentimes it isn’t even so much a memory of the details as it is recalling the memory of an emotion of a time.

Every time I see a child on a bike come flying down a hill laughing, memories of my own childhood come flooding back. I think of racing down the “big hill” by my elementary school and remember the glorious Christmas morning when we all got brand new bikes and came downstairs to see them all in a line in my parents’ living room.

I am sure with some time and effort, I could dig through the mountain of photos my Mom took every Christmas and find ones from that year, but I don’t need to. Any snapshot wouldn’t do justice to my memories of emotions from that day.

People have different trigger memories and often they are tied in with the busy season from Thanksgiving through Christmas. For some, it is the smell of fresh cut pine that recalls memories of cutting their own Christmas tree. For others it is the distinctive bite in the air during the first snowfall that brings back memories of racing down the sledding hill or of trudging back up after a glorious run.

My parents were not big drinkers while I was growing up. I remember helping clean out the refrigerator and having the same six-pack of bottled beer being taken out and put back in for years. Did you know at some point, beer will separate into distinct layers like a cool science experiment on specific gravity and density of liquids?

Every year the guys in my Dad’s workplace would give him a bottle of Seagrams Seven that would take him the full year to get through one “Seven and Seven” at a time. About the only time I can remember my parents having cocktails was around the holiday season and particularly on New Years Eve. As we got older, I remember being allowed to have a New Year’s Eve drink with them. It was always the same, a sloe gin fizz made with Jacquin’s Sloe Gin and 7-Up. I would always get a kick out of how the blood-red liqueur would foam up bright pink.

I know from ordering the cocktail as an adult, that my parent’s version of the drink was about as strong as your average Shirley Temple, but growing up it was something special to toast in the New Year and sip the fizzing pink mixture.

Perhaps it is in defense of these memories that I have become something of a snob about sloe gin. Similar to brandy aficionados insisting on Korbel rather than some off-brand swill.

In case you didn’t know, real sloe gin is produced by steeping sloe berries — a relative of plums — in high quality gin. Make a point of reading the labels of bottles that are marketed as sloe gin and if you don’t see sloe berries on there it is best to put it back on the shelf and find some other beverage to drink. The same thinking makes me see red whenever I see people write it as “slo-gin” or “slow gin.” While I am not one to correct most grammar or word usage lapses, typically finding the people who do so annoying, I feel compelled to write snarky comments to people who besmirch sloe gin by mis-naming it or suggesting it is just booze with a bad color job.