All of the Gin: A Story of My Dad.

DSC_0167 copyThis is how I hook all you gin-lovers. With a super sexy photo of Hendrick’s.

Once upon a time, almost two and a half years ago, I wrote a story about how I got my cousin so drunk while wine tasting that she made a fool of herself in front of the entire family. It is one of my greatest accomplishments. Ok, that might be a slight exaggeration. But I am very proud of it, and it’s a story the family will never forget.

(And before you stop reading because you think I’m a terrible person, please read that other story for some context. Because me getting her drunk was payback for her getting me so drunk I almost missed her brother’s wedding. All is fair in love and war.)

Now back to the point. I never thought I would ever one-up myself on that fun little escapade. But I DID. Because a couple of months ago, I got my Dad so drunk at a gin festival that he made a complete fool of himself. I only wish my cousins had been there to witness the glory, but that is why I am writing this blog. So they can relive it with me!

So here’s how it all went down.

In May, my parents came to visit me in Amsterdam. (For those of you new to blog, I live in Amsterdam! I had only moved a few months prior, so my parents’ visit was their first to Amsterdam and very exciting overall.) They were here for a whopping 9 days, and because my Dad had a conference in the middle of their week here, we couldn’t really take any big side trips. 9 days is a long time to vacation in the same city, so towards the end of their time here, we had already seen and done a lot. So we needed a fun family activity.

Enter: the Amsterdam Gin Festival.

DSC_0160 copyI promise that server isn’t creepy, he just happened to catch me right as I shot this photo.

For the entire week, my mom was completely on board with this plan. “The Gin Festival sounds really fun!” she said. And DUH, of course it would be fun. There would be drinking involved! Also, my mom is amazing and excited about most things that I suggest. She’s the best mom ever.

But I intentionally failed to mention it to my dad for most of the week because I feared he would not be excited. For my whole life, I have never known my dad to be into gin. He loves wine. He loves scotch. He loves cognac (ask the family about that story). But gin? Not a thing he loves, as far as I knew.

But boy was I WRONG.

My dad apparently LOVES gin. Also rum. And jenever. And vermouth.

The whole thing became dangerous very quickly.

So I don’t want to bore you with too many details, but I must set the stage here. Because, honestly, this story only gets better the more you know.

The plan began as follows: We were going to meet my friends, Bex and Luke, at the Gin Festival. We would go early (around 2pm), so we could drink in the middle of the afternoon, and then have dinner and sober up in the evening, so as not to have any hangovers. Because we are pros and know how this works.

So we headed to the ferry terminal. Because it’s Amsterdam, and sometimes you get to a gin festival via a (free!) ferry across the IJ. (It was actually really amazing. First we got on a boat. The boat ride was lovely. And then when we got off the boat, there was gin EVERYWHERE. Fucking YES.)

Bex and Luke were running a little late, so we decided to do some reconnaissance and wander around the festival a bit. There were so many stands, so it was worth taking a few laps to discover what was what.

But that’s where things went wrong. Because my father has the patience of a 5-year-old. So as soon as he saw something he liked, he had to try it. And then he saw something else. And something else. And before Bex and Luke had even arrived, my dad had tried 3 different gins. My mom and I had managed to limit ourselves to just one taste, but somehow my dad wandered off, and when he came back he was babbling about some dude from Brazil who had served him “this incredible rum, seriously you have to try it!”

Oh no.

My mom and I tried to remind him that we were going to be here for several hours, so he should probably pace himself. To which he just waved us off and wandered into the crowd again.

Once my friends arrived, things only got worse. Because of course we all got excited and wanted to try things, and then we completely lost track of my father. At one point, after probably 3 or 4 shots of alcohol in his system, he realized he should probably eat. So he tried to make us all stop drinking and come get food with him. So we went to the food trucks. And we ate. And everything was fine, for a short while.

But then the gin-tasting recommenced. And by that point, all of us were feeling a bit buzzed. But not as buzzed as Dad. I mean, just look at this goofy man:

DSC_0171 copyWhy is he holding up that juniper plant?! We will never know.

Those of you who know my dad know he’s a pretty strange guy. But somehow in spite of this, he manages to charm people. He charmed the “magical Brazilian rum man” so much that he opened a super special-edition rum just so my dad could taste it. And then, even though the gin-makers weren’t actually allowed to sell bottles at the event, he got one of the guys to sell him a bottle completely under the table. So he could take it home to America. “How else am I supposed to get it?” he said.

*Facepalm* (Although to be fair, he had a point.)

By the time we finally left, I think we’d been there for over 5 hours. Which is a long time when you’re drinking straight liquor all day. (Side note: I really love gin, actually, and this festival was DOPE. I am absolutely going back again next year.) So we hopped back on the ferry, where even more hilarity ensued.

First, let me tell you: my dad was quite drunk at this point. In fact, I’ve never seen him in such a state. He was slurring his words so thoroughly that I wasn’t sure we’d even make it home.

So his first move was to try and get Bex and Luke to come over for dinner. They respectfully declined, because they are very smart. Also, they were exhausted.

His second move was to get involved in a ridiculous conversation with an American guy on the ferry who was living in the Netherlands, but planning his wedding to his “true love” back in Kentucky. And they were going to get married this summer and she would move to the Netherlands with him. And it was a really strange story, because they had no money, but they were going to do it anyway because they were so madly in love (I think he may have been reciting a movie…). And at this point, my dad tried to give him €50. My mom and I had to forcibly prevent him from doing so. Because, c’mon dude, that shit is WEIRD. You don’t just hand out cash to strangers!

And his third move was to promptly pass out on the couch in my living room when we arrived back at my apartment. And I mean PASS OUT. He was snoring heavily. It was amazing.

Given that it was only 8pm, and I was hungry, I offered to run to the store for some dinner fixings. When I returned, my mother and I began to dine on a lovely meal of bread and cheese and salami, with a side of salad and even a glass of red wine. (Because she and I were actually not that drunk.) We kept trying to wake up Dad to get him to come eat. After swatting us away multiple times, he made an attempt, took one bite, and went back to the couch to pass out again. It was after 10pm before we could finally get him to actually eat dinner.

The entire day felt like a drunken fairytale. And then we all went to sleep.

This may seem like an anticlimactic ending, but for those of you who have met my dad, you know this entire story is completely unbelievable. I mean, I’ve hardly ever seen the man drunk, let alone slurring-trying-to-give-strangers-money-passed-out-on-the-couch drunk. It was incredible.

And Mom and I will never forget it.

And, dear cousins, if you still don’t believe me after reading this, just ask my mom. She and I still laugh about it. It was absolutely AMAZING. (And maybe let’s pretend I just recounted this story to you instead of putting it on the internet… I don’t think Dad will be very happy with me.)



[Next time: I went to an insane festival in Ghent, Belgium. INSANE, I tell you. These Belgians are cray.]

Los Angeles: That time I got my cousin so wine drunk she passed out in front of the whole family

[This is Part 1 of the Series Where I Catch You Up on My Drinking Doings Since December.]

So between Christmas and January 10th, I actually traveled to L.A. twice. It’s a little disheartening, considering how much I dislike that place.

But I think this latest set of trips may have given L.A. a bit of an upgrade in my book.

The first of my recent L.A. visits was for a family Christmas, the second was for a beach ultimate frisbee tournament. You might guess that the latter was a more fun and shenanigan-filled trip, but you would be wrong.

Family Christmas is the best thing that has ever happened. EVER.

(Reminder: I use an unnecessary amount of hyperbole when I’m drunk. And yes, I’m a little drunk right now. So shush.)

This year, for the first time in 15 YEARS (<–that is actually true), my entire dad’s side of the family got together. The last time ALL of us were together at the same time was my grandfather’s funeral in 1997. And at that time, my cousins and I were far too young to consume alcohol or have any manners. (For example: My cousin Ron tried to get us all to go to Six Flags. During the funeral weekend. This is how young/immature/unaware we were.)

So anyway. This Christmas was a big deal. Family. Togetherness. The whole family in the same place at the same time! It was going to be magical.

And of course, I went into the trip with just one important mission: Get my cousin Evangeline really, REALLY drunk.

You are probably wondering why this was my goal. No, it’s not because I don’t like her. And it’s not because I was trying to prove I am a better drinker than she is (because, in fact, I am not).

No. I wanted to get Evangeline drunk as payback. Sweet, sweet payback for the time she got me so drunk I nearly missed my cousin Ron’s wedding ceremony because I couldn’t stop vomiting. (Fun fact: I made it through the ceremony! But then I missed the reception. Dammit, E.)

This drunk-getting plan was made all the easier by my goofy father, who doesn’t really like people, especially family. Because of this, he planned a variety of “activities” for us to do so we wouldn’t have to actually hang out together in my Aunt’s house all week. And one of those activities was wine tasting.

My plan was unfolding perfectly.

The night before we went wine tasting we went to a birthday party for my cousin’s wife’s younger brothers. They were turning 25. We drank a fair amount at that party. I mean, we drank as if we weren’t about to drink for the entire next day. Because why should I censor myself?

The next morning, I managed to wake up feeling pretty peachy, while Evangeline spent most of the car ride to Temecula, CA trying to get rid of her hangover. In fact, she took it so easy at the first few wineries that I was mildly concerned that my plan might totally fail.

But fear not. The day wore on and the wine drinking continued. Now I’m not trying to say I wasn’t drunk (I was). And I’m not trying to say that I didn’t make a fool of myself (I did). And I’m not trying to say that I didn’t run back into a nearly-closed winery to buy two bottles of Cabernet Franc because it was the best wine ever and I held up the whole car but who the fuck cares. (Yes, I did do that.)

What I AM trying to say, however, is that Evangeline was far drunker than I was. She was so drunk, in fact, that she somehow managed to sprawl across the entire backseat (she was sitting in the middle) and completely pass out on me and my mother.

When we got back to my Aunt’s house, I assumed she would wake up. But she didn’t. Like, she just would not wake up. So we got some photos. You know, for posterity’s sake.

DSCN2997(Her older brother Ron took this photo. I wish I could replicate the glee on his face. It was amazing.)

My mother managed to extricate herself from under Evangeline’s legs, and I eventually managed to escape the car myself, and then we had a comatose cousin in the back seat. My mother objected to leaving her there, so we managed to wake her up and get her inside, where more hilarity ensued. I don’t even think I remember what she even said, but she was black-out drunk for the rest of the night and has no recollection of any of it. And considering the entire family was laughing at her, it’s no wonder she got so defensive and hilarious. It’s also probably for the best that she doesn’t remember any of this. I’m not sure I’ve ever laughed that hard at someone else’s expense. It was incredible.

Now, before you go thinking I’m a horrible person, consider this: I will forever be remembered as the cousin who vomited 2 minutes before her cousin’s wedding in order to barely drag myself through the 20-minute beach ceremony without vomiting again. I will forever be the cousin who missed the reception. And sure, Evangeline may have been blamed slightly for my state, but I was still the one who missed the party.

And now Evangeline will be remembered as the cousin who passed out after wine tasting and then drunkenly tried to defend herself afterwards. And sure, we all laughed. But it’s a family story we’ll never forget, and hell, we love her all the more for it.


P.S. Dear cousins, if you are reading this, much love to you all. And sorry if I hyperbolized too much, but hey, I’m drunk and this is my blog anyway. xoxo