Sunday, January 18, 2004

Edler Von Mornag versus Thunderbird

Donald Sensing's fond recollections of an Army wine tasting party at which German guests were served Mad Dog 20-20 and Thunderbird bring me back to the days when Edler Von Mornag was the only wine I drank and knew by name. This beverage is the German equivalent of Thunderbird. It comes with a twist-off cap and owes its legendary notoriety to its power to indelibly stain any carpet unfortunate enough to receive the nauseous discharges of the imbibers the exact color the potation. The lager in keeping with this vintage, in that phase, was of course Ngok beer. I remember it from Africa, served under a slowly rotating ceiling fan in the Congo, bearing the representation of a gape-mouthed green crocodile on a label which, without much effort, would detach itself from the bottle, as if held there by library paste.

As to mixed drinks, little can compare with the memory of  Marca Demonyo gin flavored with toothpaste. This formidable beverage, bearing the likeness of Saint Michael battling Lucifer on its label, is officially known as Ginebra San Miguel, and any regular drinker will unfailingly make the acquaintance of either of these two supernatural worthies in due course. The proper way to drink it, in low enough company, is to empty a bottle into jumbo-sized mayonnaise jar, slightly washed, into which some beer may be added. This normally causes it to froth up violently, and the foam may be laid by depositing one salteen cracker on the resulting compound. The cocktail is then passed around, after it has subsided sufficiently, to heighten the conviviality of a largely tattooed company.

Nearly everyone at a certain time of life will have such memories, as I would have known had I read Dumas. "You are young," replied Athos; "and your bitter recollections have time to change themselves into sweet remembrances."