Weevy has taken an interest in spirits and cocktails lately. This should come as no surprise, given that her father writes about spirits and cocktails, has bottles and barware liberally festooned throughout the apartment, and talks about booze with some frequency, especially with our down-the-hall neighbors whose 16-month-old daughter has frequent playdates with Weevy. Lately, though, I’m wondering if I’m encouraging her a bit too much.
I wasn’t upset in the slightest when Weevy rediscovered — without my prodding, mind you — a copy of “Baby Mix Me A Drink,” a book which a thoughtful friend had bought us for the baby shower and which Weevy had ignored since birth. The book is pretty basic. Each page says something like “Mommy wants a martini,” “Daddy wants a Manhattan,” that sort of thing, and then has a drawing of all the ingredients you need to make said drink. No orange bitters for the martini, sadly, but at least the drawing has a bottle of gin and not vodka. Anyway, Weevy has me read it to her, and I helpfully point out all the ingredients: “That’s a bottle of gin, and that’s vermouth, and there are olives, and you put it into that big glass which is called a mixing glass and add ice and stir. Then you pour it into that neat looking little glass.” Something like that. She finds it fascinating.
Last week, I got a big bag of booze and barware messengered over for an online cocktail seminar in which I was participating. The wife was away on a business trip, which meant that I had Weevy all to myself for three straight days. And basically, when it came to finding stuff to keep her entertained, anything went as far as I was concerned. Of course, SHE was interested in the big bag: “Daddy get a present? Me? Present for ME?” “Sure, kid, let’s open it and see what we’ve got.” We were both acting like it was Christmas morning. I’d say something like, “Oh, a very nice Hawthorne strainer! And hey, that’s a bottle of Dale DeGroff’s new pimento bitters — Daddy’s been wanting to try those….” You get the point. And she’d examine every bottle and bar tool (except the citrus peeler, which I wisely kept out of her hands) like she was studying for a test. She was RIVETED.
Weevy likes the little airline bottles of booze the best, because they’re not only airline-sized, but they also fit perfectly into the hand of a two-year-old. Thank goodness they’re not easier to open, that’s all I can say. So she grabbed one of the airline bottles and said, “Daddy, what’s this?”
“Oh, that’s Scotch.” Famous Grouse, actually, a very nice blended whisky.
And I swear to you, this is exactly, word for word, what she said, “Oh, I like Scotch! I like it so much! Daddy’s supposed to drink it! Drink it, Daddy!”
Now, lest you think I’m a bad influence on the kid, I responded like the mature and responsible father I am: “No, sweetie, Daddy doesn’t drink Scotch until you go to sleep. It’s tough enough keeping up with you when Daddy’s not drunk.” And to her credit, she seemed to understand.
The kicker came a few days later, when we were at a family function (the wife’s family; my family doesn’t have functions, God bless ’em). I was holding Weevy and talking about booze (naturally) with a couple of cousins-in-law, and I happened to mention Scotch. Weevy, without the slightest bit of prompting, helpfully chimed in, “Whis… ky!” Well, I was floored. My bosom swelled with pride, and, well, I got a little misty. “Yes, my darling, Scotch IS whisky!” I replied, before quickly adding, “But not all whisky is Scotch.” You’re never too young to learn that little fact, as far as I’m concerned.
As I said up top, my fatherly pride has become tempered with just a smidgen of concern. The other day, I picked up the mail with Weevy in tow, and an airline bottle-sized sample of one of my favorite single malts was among the bills and catalogs. Weevy immediately yelled out, “I want it I want it I want it!” and proceeded to grab it out of my hand and gnaw at the top like she was Foster Brooks with a case of the DT’s. I’m all for the little angel taking an active interest in her daddy’s career. But getting spittle and tooth marks all over my little whisky bottles is another story entirely.