A Whiskey Sour for Mum! Chloë Arnould
Cocktail parties were common gatherings and well attended when Mum and her pals were in their prime. She’d dress up, squirt perfume in selective places and head to the party. She continued to enjoy the cocktail hour always, and to this day is still up for a party.
Mum is now 88 and in a nursing home. I’m sometimes there during the morning or afternoon snack when a staff member with a trolley pops by. When asked what she would like, Mum’s response is always some cocktail combo…whiskey sour, martini…very dry, rum and coke, surprise me with a delicious alcoholic beverage…you get the idea. She’s actually only being offered tea, coffee or juice, but she makes the staff smile.
Mum doesn’t respond well to alcohol anymore. It’s not a matter of quantity. Even the tiniest bit affects her. All the colour drains from her face, much to my alarm, and it makes her want to lie down almost immediately. It’s become a real party stopper.
Mum associates drinking with having a good time with friends and family and I didn’t want to take that away from her, so I tried to create the same effect but without the alcohol.
For as long as I can remember our family has had picnics, so these days, we often have picnics in Mum’s room. Just before she asks if I brought wine, I whip out the de-alcoholized bottle and pop the cork. Mum’s happy, and it actually tastes great!
When we go out for a meal to one of her local restaurants, Mum always orders a drink. I, then, quietly go up to the bartender and ask them to make it a virgin, and to make it really tasty or she’ll send it back…which she has on occasion, stating that it’s bland with not nearly enough alcohol in it!
They really rise to the moment! They whip the egg whites for her whiskey sours, add a sweet green syrup for colour and taste, add one or 2 other beverages to fill the glass and even top it off with a little umbrella from time to time. Whatever Mum happens to order, they make it interesting and flavourful enough to disguise the fact that it is alcohol-free. She loves whatever they make her, and usually orders a second.
There are a few restaurants in Mum’s neighbourhood where we’ve been to several times, so the staff know her well. At her favourite pub, as soon as the bartender sees her now, he calls from across the room, “A Whiskey Sour for Mum! The special one. Coming right up!”