Whenever publicists inform me that it’s National (Insert the Name of a Drink Here) Day, I get suspicious. The first question that comes to mind is “what booze do they want me to plug?” followed by “and where the hell are the samples?” (Note to Editors: I hope you enjoyed that Bols yogurt liqueur they sent me.) So, when it’s suddenly, say, National Margarita Day, I just know there’s a breathless publicist pushing a new “agave spirit.”
The bullet points are always the same: Not only is it organic and sustainably-grown but it’s produced in small batches using the same traditional methods the company poster boy’s alleged ancestor used.
Then they take this “everything old is new again” pitch, dip it in some “fair trade” crap and claim it’s the most important part of their “brand story.”
It’s tequila. The only story worth telling is the one about what you did while you were blacked out.
This week, I received a press release promoting “National Piña Colada Day.” Mark your calendars, it’s July 10 – a Wednesday? – which is probably the least convenient day to throw back a rum drink. Unless Wednesday is the new Friday and being hungover is the new benchmark for productivity, which is why historians will pinpoint the 10th of July 2013, as the day the American economy began to drown in a pool of its own vomit.
In 1979, I was 7-years-old, which means I heard “Escape,” a.k.a “The Piña Colada Song,” on FM radio, freshly poured from the culture blender of softrock and swingers parties. As a so-called “story song,” it recounts the male narrator’s thwarted attempt at infidelity via a personal ad in a newspaper.
By today’s standards, the notion of relying on classified advertising to arrange an extramarital affair is so quaint it’s a shame Norman Rockwell wasn’t around to paint it.
The Digital Age analogue (the name of my new band) of the song’s main character would’ve been busted as soon as he was asked to send a “face pic” to his wife’s anonymized Craigslist address. Or better yet – when his spouse inquired about the recurring credit card charge to AshleyMadison.com, whose entire ethos is summed up in the six word slogan: “Life is short. Have an affair.”
Of note is the fact that “The Piña Colada Song” boasts a three act structure worthy of Aristotle.
The first act finds our protagonist with more marital hiss than bliss – then he finds the fateful personal ad. In the second act he replies and schemes to meet his newspaper paramour at a bar. At the third act (spoiler alert), he realizes that the woman in the ad is his own wife – a dramatic irony that ultimately bodes well for the couple. The song’s singer-songwriter, Rupert Holmes, interestingly, went on to become a celebrated playwright, with successes on Broadway and off, way off, including a production of his comedic thriller, “Accomplice,” that I savaged 15 years ago for another paper.
A sample: “the designers (names redacted) have devised an incredibly garish living-room set swabbed in a hue of jaundice-yellow seldom seen outside a hepatitis clinic.”
Incidentally, this is the same color yellow of the piña coladas. We can blame this on its inventor, Ramón “Monchito” Marrero, who, as a bartender at the Caribe Hilton in 1954, first concocted what would become the “official drink of Puerto Rico!” The exclamation point comes courtesy of the publicist, whose client, naturally, is Hilton.
This is how you make one:
Get yourself two ounces of white rum, one ounce of coconut cream, one ounce of heavy cream, six ounces of freshly squeezed pineapple juice and a fistfull of cruched ice. Put the rum, coconut cream, heavy cream and pineapple juice together in a blender.
Add the ice and blend until smooth. Serve in a 12-ounce glass. Garnish with a fresh pineapple wedge and a personal ad on a dating site of your choice.