If we believe in anything at uglY cOUsin, we believe in two things: 1) always be a good host, and 2) people named Jimmy are always good guests. We’ve never met a Jimmy we didn’t like. This weekend, at the ugly house, as we continued the longstanding Midwestern tradition of porch sitting, we failed as hosts and taxed the Jimmy rule. This post serves as a portion of our penance. If we can open one eye to the social faux pas we committed and potentially prevent it from happening elsewhere, maybe some good can come from this terrible situation.
Jimmy and his movie star wife, who has something of a negative fixation with her own knees (story later in the week), stopped by to sit. As is the custom of most guests, they brought their own cooler. People around here do that out of politeness and from the fear that the host won’t have anything good. Everyone carries a little cooler with them, giving the impression that they might be transporting an extra organ in case the evening goes south.
The conversation was predictably lively, and without prompting, we all found ourselves in a captivating no-phone zone. We sipped and chatted. Cheese was eaten. Longing for Taco Bell grew. Then, Jimmy mentioned that he might like a mint julep. After a great deal of spousal negotiation and alcohol mathematics, it was decided that he could have one. Just one. I scurried into the house to make two, since it would be impolite to allow anyone to julep alone.
I wanted to be a great host to impress the porch Jimmy. Who wouldn’t? So, I pulled down two authentic Kentucky Derby glasses from the shelf, prepped some ice, grabbed some bourbon and simple syrup, and headed outside to pick some fresh mint. The drinks were beautiful. I knew he would be impressed. One sip in, though, Jimmy politely said, “there’s a stink bug in my drink.”
Words came from every direction–some consoling me, some telling Jimmy to stop drinking, some saying to flick it out and continue, some speculating about how the stink bugs entered the glass. I think the birds nesting in the fern above us offered their opinion at one point. I felt terrible. Jimmy didn’t want me to feel terrible, so he pulled out the dead bug and flung it into the landscaping. “I’m fine,” he said. Then he took another drink. “There’s another one.”
Involuntary stomach convulsions began to spread among the group, and I think I noticed an excess of saliva
beginning to form in the mouths of two.
Someone–it may have been a bird–said “urp.”
It is probably important to note at this point that my drink contained no bugs whatsoever. It appeared as if I had set him up. Some sort of sick prank. I am not above pranks, but I would never joke with a Jimmy or with bourbon. Those sorts of things are sacred. I grabbed the glass from him (it was half-way offered at this point anyway), and made a fresh drink. The problem was solved, but the guilt lingered. Who knows what bad hosting thoughts were stuck in the minds of our guests. Would they ever ask for a drink again? If they did, would they constantly check the glass for bugs, or eels, or glass shards? What else might we slip into drinks?
My theory is that the bugs had fallen in his glass and died, and I failed to notice. They were display glasses, not cabinet glasses. I’m a clean person. Really. But now I know to check. I mean, I love stink bugs, but it is still not socially acceptable at this point in our evolution to serve them. So, let this be a cautionary tale to guide your future drink making. If, however, someone requests an avant garde cocktail at your next porch sit, may I suggest the following:
THE YARDLY STINKTALE
1 1/4 oz. cheap bourbon–the kind with at least one reference to “old” in the title.
3 oz. expired sour mix
3/4 oz. simple syrup
2 stink bugs
Fresh lawn weeds
Muddle 1 stink bug with the simple syrup. Fill glass with ice. Add the bourbon and sour mix. Stir gently. Garnish with lawn weeds and remaining stink bug.