Life Is Like A Box Of Chocolates

SeesToday is my birthday, and honestly, my ideal birthday present is a pound of Sees chocolates with a custom assortment of my favorites, all for me!

It turns out that there is actually etiquette for chocolate boxes if you are inclined to share them (I am not inclined)

  • Don’t poke holes in the bottoms of the chocolates so you can see what the flavor is (apparently this a thing people do. I have heard about it. These people are MONSTERS.)
  • Obviously, also don’t bite into a chocolate and then PUT IT BACK if you don’t like it.
  • The little frilly papers. These are a problem. Generally, I will say that you should take the frilly paper when you take the chocolate and throw it away. HOWEVER, with boxes of chocolates that have a little map on the bottom telling you what the flavors are, it is apparently better to leave the wrappers in place so you don’t mess up the placement of the chocolates.
  • When a box is passed around for sharing, don’t take too much time to deliberate. Just chose a chocolate and move the box on to the next person.

What are your favorite kinds of chocolates?

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It’s 5 O’Clock Somewhere

Always be Ryan Gosling or Emma Stone

Always be Ryan Gosling or Emma Stone

So you think you know about cocktails. They have alcohol and you like them.

But there is so much more to it!

Technically a cocktail is a drink with sugar, water, spirits, and bitters. Though a more modern definition is a spirit a mixer, and bitters or other flavoring. Whereas a rum and coke is a highball, or just an alcohol and a mixer. They are called highballs because they are served in a tall, highball, glass.

Other ways to take your alcohol are neat (just the spirit, in a glass), “on the rocks” (just the spirit, over ice), straight (just the spirit, chilled), or up (in a stemmed glass- a martini “straight up” would be a chilled martini in a stemmed glass). A fun way to refer to a measurement of alcohol is by fingers. If you put your finger up to the bottom of the glass and pour enough alcohol into the glass to reach the top of the finger, it’s about one ounce of alcohol, then you can ask for one finger, two fingers, etc. If you are a jokester, you can put your pointer finger and pinky finger out and call THAT two fingers, ha-ha.

There are generally two designations of spirits: top shelf and well. Top shelf is the premium expensive liquor and well is the least expensive. It took me a couple of years of going to bars in college to figure out what well meant. Usually any happy hour specials will note that they apply to well drinks. And that is generally what you will get if you ask for a whiskey and ginger or whatever. If you have a preference, you will have to specify it, or the bartender may ask.

 

How to stock a bar

To create most basic cocktails, your home bar should have:

  • Vodka
  • Rum
  • Whiskey
  • Gin
  • Tequila
  • Vermouth (both white and red)
  • Bitters
  • Mixers (should include plain club soda or seltzer, coke, 7up, ginger ale)

Barware:

  • Short glasses (rocks glass)
  • Tall glasses (highballs)
  • Wine glasses
  • Stemmed cocktail glass (a martini glass)
  • Champagne flutes
  • Cocktail shaker
  • Ice bucket/tongs
  • Jigger (you can use a regular shot glass too)

Good beginner drinks

Highballs are a great introduction to drinker liquor because they are fairly sweet and diluted. Rum and coke, whiskey and coke, whiskey and ginger ale, 7&7 (bourbon and 7up), cranberry vodka, pineapple vodka, etc are all good choices.

When you want to move up to something a bit more sophisticated, whiskey sours and margaritas.

It’s also a great idea to have something fancy and mature in your pocket for when you might be taken out to a really nice cocktail bar. Of course, it’s great if they have a menu you can pick off of, but a Manhattan, Old Fashioned, or French 75 will impress.

Etiquette:

Knowing what everything is and knowing what you like to drink is the cornerstone of drinking etiquette, but there are a few more tips to keep in mind:

  • Don’t whistle at or snap your fingers at a bartender. Be patient and they will get to you.
  • Have your order ready when they do get to you.
  • Running a tab means that you hand over your credit card and they keep track of what you are drinking and then you settle up at the end of the night. Many bars have a minimum you have to spend to run a tab. When you run a tab, you add the tip at the end.
  • If you are paying in cash, you pay when you receive each drink. Tip a dollar or two per drink each time.
  • Don’t get belligerent. If the bartender cuts you off, accept it. Relatedly, just don’t get THAT drunk anyway (but these things happen, I know.)

Etiquette In The Apple Orchard

Fall means it’s apple picking season, and apple picking season means it’s war. Oh, you thought you’d have a photo opportunity with your toddler where you can get them to wear a fuzzy coat and sit on barrel? That’s cute. Have fun with that while you’re left with all the mushy McIntoshes, loser. We pick to win where I come from. But you do have to be subtle, lest some helicopter parents accuse you of making things not “fair” and you’re banned from all the apple cider donuts.

  • Plan ahead. If you’re going just for “fun,” whatever, but if you actually want the good apples that means knowing which weeks are their peak seasons. Being prepared is never rude.
  • Get one of those picker sticks that looks like a lacrosse thingy. I don’t know what they’re called but you know what I’m talking about. They give them out at the orchards so it’s totally fair game.
  • Learn to climb for those apples on the insides of the tree no one can reach.
  • If you see a child reaching for an apple, let them struggle. It’ll build character. But do tell their parents the kid is adorable so no one gets suspicious.
  • Know how much you need, and don’t take more than that. Apple picking is about quality, not quantity. Okay, it’s a little about quantity, but be careful otherwise you’ll end up with 20 pounds of apples, which turns into 20 pounds of applesauce when you can’t eat them in time, which turns into 20 pounds of applesauce that stays in your freezer for a year because applesauce is sorta meh.
  • Don’t cut the cider line.

The Second Episode of 3rd Rock From the Sun is All About Etiquette

This has nothing to do with this episode, I just thought it was great.

This has nothing to do with this episode, I just thought it was great.

3rd Rock from the Sun is on Netflix, and if you missed it’s original run in the 90s, it has held up pretty well and is worth going back and watching.

I (and my giant crush on Joseph Gordon Levitt <3<3<3) did watch it regularly when it was on, but due to being a fairly young child at the time, much of it went over my head.

Then it came on Netflix, and I was watching it while folding laundry, and realized that aliens coming to Earth is the perfect foil for talking about etiquette. And the second episode is especially full of it.

In this episode, Mary’s date for a wedding cancels, so Dick agrees to fill in. He is excited because it is the first wedding any of the aliens have attended and he is eager to observe an important human ritual. It sounds ridiculous as he describes it:

Dick: It’s really a very fascinating ritual. The ceremony begins with the bride being given away.

Sally objects to the idea of a woman being given away like an object, because she is the best.

Unfortunately, all the aliens come down with a cold. Dick decides to attend the wedding anyway, after taking quite a lot of cold medicine, and hijinks ensue.

  • He asks questions all throughout the ceremony and engages in a shushing war with other guests
  • He battles the maid of honor to catch the bouquet
  • He steals a present from the “prize table” and gives it to Mary
  • He stands up and proposes a toast, not to the bride, but to Mary
  • He then tangos Mary around the room, pushing other people out of the way

However, Dick is so endearing that Mary forgives him for embarrassing her and has a great time at the wedding anyway.

While this kind of behavior wouldn’t fly normally, the aliens in this show are show charming and innocent about human culture that we are really rooting for them to succeed in their mission to study us, pointing out how weird the human experience is along the way.

*Martha Stewart guest stars on this episode, in a dream Harry has, so it’s basically perfection.

In which I have a breakthrough in music-without-headphones-in-public etiquette

Put those headphones on!

You guys. I figured it out. Last night on the bus a woman sat in front of me and was trying to listen to a audio of Fun Home on her phone, without headphones. For the record, I’d estimate she was in her 40s or 50s, so shut up about millennials. She held the phone’s speaker directly to hear ear, but everyone within about 15 feet could hear the audio.

A younger man leaned across the bus aisle and asked if the audio was coming from her, and when she confirmed, he asked her to shut it off. She did, but rolled her eyes, and gestured to my husband and I that that man must be the unreasonable one. “I can’t believe him,” she said. “Well,” I said, “generally you should be using headphones for that.” She responded “If I have to hold it up to my ear I don’t think anyone else can hear it.”

DID YOU HEAR THAT, DEAR READER? PEOPLE WHO DON’T USE HEADPHONES GENUINELY DON’T THINK ANYONE ELSE CAN HEAR THEM.

I sort of refused to make eye contact for the next two stops as she continued to grumble, but my mind was racing. This is the problem! I sort of understand it. I’m extremely guilty of eating/crying/picking dead skin off my lips on the subway, assuming no one outside of my personal bubble is aware of my actions. It’s easy (maybe) to see how that attitude can extend to noise. So let us make it perfectly clear in case you were operating under this assumption: everyone can hear you, cut it out.