Mistress of the Mix: Hair of the Dog

Hair of the Dog 3

This may turn out to be the most appropriately titled column of my writing career.

I love a good martini. I even have my own leopard spotted hand blown glass goblet that I’m especially fond of drinking them from. A birthday present from my dear friends Ray & Kathleen years ago that no one else is allowed to touch.

It was that glass – the one that I always wash by hand – that I grabbed last Sunday evening, to make my favorite summer martini as I prepared to sit down to watch the two hour season finale of Fear The Walking Dead.

What is my favorite summer martini, you ask? I call it the Tropical Lemon Drop. Sounds delicious, right? It is. Believe me, it is. When made correctly. I’ll tell you how to make it (and how NOT to make it) below, although I don’t really follow an exact recipe. I wouldn’t have been able to read it anyway.

I should back up a moment to tell you one important little detail about this story: I have really bad vision. I usually wear thick, tri-focal glasses, and occasionally wear contact lenses (as I was that day), but they are purely for distance. I can’t sew, do crossword puzzles or read the measurements in a recipe unless my purple Dollar Tree glasses are perched on my nose. And I didn’t have those handy last Sunday.

Back to the story.

The subject of my tale.

The subject of my tale.

I drink out of that goblet almost every day, and it’s not necessarily just for martinis, it’s for all my beverages, because I’m just that fond of this glass.  I had just enjoyed club soda with a twist of mint from my backyard the previous Thursday out of that glass.

Can I halt our story for just one more moment while I take another short diversion? Thinking of the mint in my backyard,  I just want to mention that while I love my backyard and all the delicious things that grow in it, I’m also a little miffed at it these days. This is mainly because the dogs keep coming in from the yard with little burrs stuck in their fur, and I can’t quite figure out where the little devils are coming from.

In fact, just last Thursday I spent a good half hour pulling a handful of burrs (and of course a good chunk of hair) off of my thirteen year old Westie’s head. He was so dirty, because when its hot outside, he has a tendency to burrow into the dirt. He’s basically just creating a cloud of dust, but I suspect he thinks he’s digging down to some cooler dirt beneath the top layer of dirt. He could always come inside to chill, but he chooses to wallow in the dirt instead, and come in dusty and covered in burrs. That particular Thursday after I’d drained my club soda and plucked the burrs from Casper, I brought him and my favorite glass into the kitchen and placed both of them on the counter with intentions of giving them each a good washing by hand in the kitchen sink.

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OK, let’s head back to that cocktail. I grabbed my stainless steel shaker, and filled it with ice. I poured a healthy slug of vodka over it, followed by a splash of coconut liqueur (maybe two splashes), some raspberry lemonade and a squeeze of lime. I shaked it like I was doing the hokey pokey, grabbed my glass which was still next to the sink (well, to be honest its always by the sink if its not in my hand), poured my martini into it, and took my Tropical Lemon Drop into the living room where my favorite show was waiting for me.

I grabbed the remote and pressed play. I grabbed the glass and took a sip. And gagged. And coughed. And may have peed my pants a little bit as I ran to the sink retching and retching and retching.

Friends, don’t do what Valerie did. When making your favorite martini in your favorite glass – the one that is so precious it has never seen the inside of the dishwasher – always look inside the glass first to make sure there are no unwanted guests lurking at the bottom.

I know you think there was a tomato worm or cockroach in my glass, but no. The upside of this episode – what Doni would call a cautionary tale – is that I did not have a tomato worm nor a cockroach in my mouth. But there was definitely something in my mouth that should not have been there.

When I took that sip, here’s what I experienced. First, a delicious, coconut tinged vodka washed over my tongue. Followed by an unexpected slight hint of earthiness. Then something that felt like a spider web settled into my mouth. All over my mouth. It covered my tongue like a vodka soaked cotton ball, and tried to force its way down my throat like a bad first date. Then I crunched down on something soft, yet spiky. Like a seed. Or a burr. A burr attached to a lot of dirty dog hair. It took me a second to realize what I’d done, but as soon as I did, I ran for the sink.

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It was then that I remembered that as I was picking burrs off my dog a few days earlier, I had placed each burr (and the tangle of hair that came with them) into my empty goblet, knowing that I was about to wash it. At least I intended to wash it. Only I decided to wash the dog first, and then promptly forgot all about washing the glass, and there it sat, until I returned home Sunday evening. If I wasn’t blinded by my contact lenses, I might have seen the clump of stuff in the bottom of my glass. Instead, I was completely unaware as I took that first sip of the dirtiest martini of my life.

Hair of the dog indeed.

This dog.

This dog.

After you’re done shaking your head and finished being grossed out (I’m still not over it), you might want to make sure there’s nothing already taking up residence in the bottom of your glass before preparing your favorite martini, and hitting the play arrow below to stream today’s Hair Of The Dog playlist on Spotify. Also, I’m curious to hear your favorite summertime cocktail recipes, or your best gross out tales (which are always a hit at our family dinners)!

Valerie Ing
Valerie Ing-Miller has been the Northern California Program Coordinator for Jefferson Public Radio in Redding for 14 years and can often be found serving as Mistress of Ceremonies at the Cascade Theatre. For her, ultimate satisfaction comes from a perfect segue. She and her husband are parents to a couple of college students and a pair of West Highland Terriers, and Valerie can’t imagine life without them or music. The Mistress of the Mix wakes up every day with a song in her head, she sings in the shower and at the top of her lungs in the car.
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9 Responses

  1. cheyenne says:

    Sunday Morning Coming Down-written by Kris Kristofferson, sung by Johnny Cash.  Both had their hair of the dog moments.

  2. Beverly Stafford says:

    Do I Feel High – Kingston Trio; Rum and Coco-Cola – The Andrews Sisters

  3. Your cocktail recipe helped balance out the gross factor of the part of your column where I gagged a little myself. 🙂

    Delightful column, as always, Mistress Val.

  4. Alexa says:

    That recipe sounds gorgeous.  I’ll choose not to reflect too much on the rest of the story…

  5. Adrienne says:

    YUM….and …YUCK. Sounds kinda like a Chinese restaurant.

    • Beverly Stafford says:

      This is completely off the subject but your Chinese restaurant comment reminded me of it.  When we lived in Anchorage, a new Chinese restaurant opened.  Its name was Yat Din How.  My husband “renamed” it How ‘Bout Dat.

  6. Joanne Lobeski Snyder says:

    You are a great story teller Val!  Thank you for this one!

  7. jackie says:

    Val, I can’t wait to make a Tropical Lemon Drop in my favorite hand-blown goblet (minus the spiky burrs and dog hair)! I love your story telling because you always make me smile. Xo

  8. Mistress of the Mix says:

    Thank you so much Jackie & Joanne!!

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