Most of Glasgow takes to the streets at New Year—or Hogmanay, as we call it—and the partying goes on well into the next day. My girlfriend and I, still wrapped up in honeymoon love, had no interest in the company of others. We stocked up on straight-to-the-oven lamb chops, DVDs of true crime documentaries, and a small forest of alcohol bottles. It was going to be a good night.
By 8pm the lamb chops were sizzling nicely in the tiny kitchen of my girlfriend's studio flat. Outside the window we could hear the combination street party, multi-band concert, and drinking fest in George Square. The petty actions of strangers did not bother us: we had warm bodies on a December night, and that was what mattered. That, and cocktails.
We were (and still are) classy ladies, so as well as copious amounts of alcohol we also had a cocktail shaker, little paper umbrellas, and a selection of fruit for garnishes. As it was December in Scotland the supermarkets were mainly stocked with bananas and apples, but we'd managed to snag a styrofoam tray of kiwi fruits. There were six to a pack—too many to be used as garnishes—so we decided to eat a few as an entrée to the lamb.
This was when I had my first shocking revelation: my girlfriend ate the skin of the kiwi. The hairy, fuzzy, chewy, repulsive skin. She bit right through it. I stood there, halfway through slicing off the skin of my kiwi, and stared at her. She stared back, chewing on the skin and clearly wondering why I was dumbstruck. She said it tasted nice and was a good source of fibre. I replied that it was utterly repulsive. She laughed at me, still chewing the skin, and decided to name her cocktail The Hairy Kiwi. I, of course, called mine The Shaven Kiwi.
As the kitchen of her flat only had two cupboards for storage (and as we both earned minimum wage), we didn't have a huge selection of alcohol. We had no Goldschläger or Chartreuse or Passoã or Cointreau or Chambord. We had no Crème de anything. What we did have was cheap rum, cheap vodka, and a bottle of extremely expensive Glen Spey single malt that my girlfriend had won in a raffle at work. Although we were no connoisseurs, we still felt bad about mixing such fancy whisky with paint-stripper vodka. We drank the whisky neat as an aperitif then got down to the serious business of inventing a cocktail.
This was not as complicated a process as it could have been; a small variety of booze meant that the only real difference between the Shaven Kiwi and the Hairy Kiwi was the nakedness of the kiwi. Still, we varied the vodka-to-rum ratio slightly in each.
The lamb chops were ready by this time so we propped ourselves up on my girlfriend's bed, each of us with a glass in one hand and a fork in the other. The batch of Hairy Kiwis lasted all the way through the lamb and a documentary on John Wayne Gacy. The room was getting a little bit blurry around the edges and the noise from George Square was getting louder. We turned up the TV and got stuck into the Shaven Kiwis. I could fool myself into the health benefits of this one, as I also ate my kiwi garnish—surely that counted as one of my five a day. The Shaven Kiwis lasted through all of The True Story of the Mafia (though the abundance of badly-acted "true re-enactments" made us suspect their definition of the word truth) and the beginning of Vampire Killers of History.
We still hadn't had dessert and the floor was getting distinctly wobbly. I heated up the sticky toffee pudding in the microwave, slapped the resulting hot goop on top of a few dollops of ice-cream, and mixed up a new batch of Shaven Kiwis. Or possibly Hairy Kiwis; it was hard to tell by that point as we had run out of kiwis.
That feast lasted all the way through Vampire Killers of History, something about Ted Bundy, and something else that might have been about some other person. I could make something up, but to be honest I really can't remember.
I wish I could provide you with a satisfactory conclusion to this story, but the fact is that the night ended blurrily in a haze of crappy cocktails and true crime re-enactments. Basically, the moral I'd like to leave you with is that cocktail recipes should be left to professionals who do not drink the entirety of their creations and then tell a series of terrible make-up jokes and then fall asleep on top of their girlfriends halfway through kissing them and telling them what an awesomely sexy time they're about to have. Not that I did.
THE SHAVEN KIWI
(feel free to use your own quantities of everything, depending on the strength of your constitution)
- Cranberry juice
- Pineapple juice
- Slices of kiwi (with the skin cut off) rubbed around the rim of the glass.
(Note that the Hairy Kiwi is essentially the same, except that you can change the booze quantities slightly and the kiwi garnish must still have its hairy chewy repulsive fuzzy disgusting skin. Not that I have a preference.)
- Shake it all up in a cocktail shaker, pour into tall glasses, then garnish with the kiwi, paper umbrellas, plastic hula girls, and any other kitschy things you have lying about.
Kirsty Logan lives, writes, edits, studies, and waits tables in Glasgow, Scotland.
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