So last week was the beginning of Chinese New Years.

My mom took a flight back to China to visit family, extended family and the changes in her hometown of Beijing.

That means my dad and I had free reign for a week! A full 7 days with some extra hours here and there.

It doesn’t really mean much. We’re not going to host a 50 person + party at the house, and we’re probably not going to go do anything relatively fancy, even if it is the year new.

However that doesn’t mean we didn’t do anything. Since it is the new year, we went out to eat on the eve and the first. Pho and Japanese. Nothing new or exciting.

In fact, the most abnormal thing to occur was after the two nights out.

It was when my dad suggested we drink some beer.

Some context might be needed here. I’m 19, and almost 20. I’ve been legally allowed to drink since the end of April of last year, and have been ‘casually’ allowed to drink for like the last 3 years (not officially granted by parents but they always suggest it). During social outings with friends, the most I’ve ever drank is a sip from others drinks. I never order my own, because I’ve never drank any. It’s not that I hate or dislike alcohol, I just never really felt the need to.

That is until my dad suggested we try some.

We went for the beginner things, Budlight. It wasn’t even normal Budlight (because we don’t have any at home), it was the smooth edition. Coming in at 4.8% alcohol content, it wasn’t that bad of a starting point. My first sip was bitter. It started out tasteless and then slowly came in with a smooth and slightly sweet taste. Then afterwards it hit back with the bitterness that is alcohol, albeit weak. Not to bad. The blue can was quite pretty, and it was a fine meal.

The next day was Budweiser. It came in a larger, 16oz can and featured a slightly higher alcohol content. As it was only 0.4% higher (so 5.2% alcohol), the alcohol smell and bitterness shouldn’t have been too noticeable. However, the Budlight was smooth and not a normal kind. The Budweiser wasn’t as smooth. It went down with a bit of a fight, flaunting it’s bitter alcohol taste as it went down, but it wasn’t enough to even be remotely off-putting. It was a fine meal as well.

It makes me surprised how people can get red and even drunk off this. I didn’t even get the warm feeling, although that might have been because the beer was cold, as are most beers.

The following day was back to Budlight.

Then as if to repeat the cycle, we came back to Budwesier (the last can!). As there was only one can left, my dad decided to be the bigger man and give it to me. Just so that he could walk towards his alcohol cupboard and take out ‘Chinese white liquor‘ to drink. I was surprised to find out that it was called ‘Chinese white vodka’ in English, as the Mandarin direct translation would just be ‘white wine’ or ‘white alcohol’. It never gave me the impression that the wording would be ‘vodka’, although in hindsight it would have been the only word to use for this high-content drink. At 56% alcohol, it wasn’t something easy to consume like beer was. I only took one sip of it. The moment it entered my mouth, I instinctively questioned if it was a consumable liquid. The areas of my tongue it touched burned from it’s rich alcohol content. It left a long lasting warm sensation in my throat. Even after swallowing some food (unsurprisingly, it was rice), the warm, burning feeling resided in my throat, and that wasn’t to mention the lack of function my tastebuds were experiencing.

Before I went to bed, I could still feel the area it touched on my tongue. While the warm feeling had long subsided, my tongue couldn’t forget the experience. It wasn’t a pleasant, addicting moment, but the burning lasted much too long.

In the next few weeks, I’m hopefully going to try some more red and white wine. Of the few sips I had of it, the red wine was much stronger than it’s white brother (that sounds a bit racist, although it’s much more because of my awareness of it than it’s actually implications) who instead was more mellow and sweeter. The wines were both 11%-ish, which was only double that of the beer, but it was much harder to swallow. It actually smelled like alcohol, and it’s alcohol aftertaste was stretched forward to encompass both the passage downwards, and the lingering moment afterwards. Both were more upfront with their taste than the sample lime-flavoured Hensessy alcohol (it was probably the VSOP brand) I had in Taiwan, a story WordPress refused to allow me to have, whose alcohol bitterness was well hidden and never had a lingering after taste. I guess that’s why it is ridiculously expensive.

Now I’m just waiting for the day where I consume too much and end up drunk. It’s a good idea to learn your limits while you can, so you can refuse further drinks when you’re getting close to it in the future. No one wants to deal with drunk people (both in their behavior and actions).  Neither do the drunk people want to deal with the aftermath of the drunken ramblings.

I’ll be able to give alcohol as presents to my parents now. I never thought about it before as giving a social/party food-item that you’ve never personally tried doesn’t seem to be that good of an idea. Although I won’t be allowed to purchase any as the age to purchase alcohol in Canada is 21. I’m not even 20 yet, so there’s still a bit to go before then. Although I don’t think I have such a budget where I can walk into a liquor store and buy pricey alcohol to give away.

Maybe another time (more than a year).

Maybe another time.



Note: This is another blog that WordPress didn’t want to see published (I know because they send me their ‘Error’ webpage when I try to save or publish) for people to read. It’s not fun having to retype something you just typed. So if there’s any hint of frustration or lack of focus on the topic, it’s because I actually am frustrated and not focused. Thanks WordPress, you’re the best.


Update: Age to purchase alcohol is 19 in Canada. I’ve eaten way to much apple pie to realize. Whoops.