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Sunday, October 23, 2005

Getting my 'mojo' back

Nearly everyone has a drinking story from their younger/wilder days that they tell with a mixture of nostalgia and nausea.  Such stories invariably recall a particular liquor/mixed drink by name... and usually end with words to the effect of "... and I haven't been able to even look at [insert name of liquor/mixed drink here] since!"

I consider myself lucky in that my first real experiment with drinking took place with my best friend, and involved mixing a shot of nearly everything in my parent's liquor cabinet into a soda bottle.  I call this 'lucky' because when one embarks on such a right of passage alone with a close friend, there is none of the false bravado that normally accompanies drinking in a more public setting.  I also use the word 'lucky', because there were so many competing flavors in that soda bottle (everything from bourbon to kirschwasser to rye to banana liqueur) that when the inevitable happened, I had no single culprit at which to point my finger and say "I'm never going to even look at that again!" 

I am fairly sure that this childhood friend will read this here, so I'll play it safe with the details.  Suffice it to say we each drank about 14 shots of this vile mixture... insisting the entire time that neither of us felt any different... and then decided that it would be a good idea to take a break after said 14 shots for a brisk walk in the newly fallen late-evening snow (he was sleeping over at my house that night).

I lived on a dead-end street in the middle of the woods, so we had the honor of walking through the virgin snow in the silence of a snowy New England night.  I don't recall either of us talking during our walk up the street... we simply walked side by side... straight up the middle of the snow-covered street.

On the way back down the street I noticed that our tracks in the snow were far from straight.  There were several places where one or both of us had either fallen down or perhaps tried to execute an impromptu face-down snow angel.  There were also a couple of steaming splashes in the snow that looked amazingly like asterisks where one or both of us had successfully purged our young bodies of the poison. 

When we were nearly back to my house my older sister drove down the street from wherever she had been for the evening and stopped to ask us what we were doing.  It was only while we stood talking with her that I realized I had no shoes on!

If you believe in the axiom 'G-d looks after drunks and children', then we benefited from double protection that evening. 

The only reason I am sharing this story with you is because that evening taught me a very valuable lesson about over-indulgence, and I can count on two hands (OK, maybe toss in a foot) the number of times in my life that I have gotten 'shouting at my shoes' drunk. 

Not bad for 44 years.

I was hugely impressed/scared by the almost total loss of control which came with large-scale alcohol consumption, and I can honestly say it has tempered my behavior ever since.

From that time to this I have never had to swear off a particular beverage/concoction.  I went through a period of over two decades where I couldn't even look at pineapples (a story for another time), but the rum with which the offending pineapples had been mixed never bothered me. 

In fact, one of the more memorable drinks (one that was responsible for at least 5 of the fingers mentioned in the paragraph above) was one I discovered while I was in the Navy (in the Philippines, to be exact) which was a mixture so wicked that I actually bribed a bartender for the recipe before finishing up my last tour through the Western Pacific.

The name of that drink was 'Mojo'.

As far as I can tell, Mojo was invented at a bar called Jolo's in Subic Bay (on the famous/infamous Magsaysay Drive in Olongapo).  A lot of sailors called Mojo 'the sitting sickness', because you could sit and drink it for hours and not feel any the worse for wear.  But the moment you got up and tried to walk...

A few years after I got out of the navy I tried out my recipe for Mojo on a bunch of college friends at Yeshiva University.  Not only was it well received, but many of the guys from the dorm immortalized the recipe on a t-shirt that closely approximated the color of the drink. 

Making up that shirt was one of those childish things that college boys do... and for years most of us cherished that t-shirt.  Long after mine had started to come apart at the seams, I couldn't bear to throw it out... so it sat in my dresser drawer.  But during one of my many moves it either got lost or tossed [looks accusingly towards wife]. 

So, imagine my delight when an old college friend (and recent addition to the treppenwitz roundtable) sent me an e-mail to tell me that he still had his Mojo t-shirt... and even sent along a picture of his lovely daughter Meital modeling the shirt:

... and of course, the recipe on the back (click to enlarge):

For those who can't make out the recipe:

6 oz. Gin
6 oz. Rum
6 oz. Vodka
4 oz. Whiskey
16 oz. Cherry Liqueur
2 bottle San Miguel Beer
16 oz. Pineapple Juice
16 oz. Orange Juice
12 oz. 7-Up

Serve Chilled

It speaks volumes about this beverage that my friend managed to hold on to the shirt for almost 20 years... through college, medical school, residency, marriage and kids! 

Perhaps you also have a fond (or not so fond) memory of youthful overindulgence you carry around with you.  Care to share?

[Note:  This post is not intended to encourage or sanction drinking to excess.  In fact, if anything... I would hope it would do quite the opposite!  Please keep your health - and your sense of humor - intact.]


Posted by David Bogner on October 23, 2005 | Permalink


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You might be surprised to learn that I have not one, but several moments that I could share.

For that matter you might have even seen me one night at Ritchies in which I remember speaking perfect Hebrew with many interesting people. However I have some friends who claim otherwise.

I do know that when I returned to the dorm I was wearing someone elses shirt, someone of a different gender. To this day I haven't any idea whose shirt it was or how I came to be wearing it.

Posted by: Jack | Oct 24, 2005 2:35:31 AM

I guess I am the first brave one to speak out with today's post. : )

The drink I have avoided since I was 18 is The Long Island Ice Tea. I was visitng my relatives that I had just met, and they set me up on date with their close friend's son. We went out dancing, I got hammered and then everything else after that was a blur. I remember embarassingly trying to kiss him, and then getting very sick (fortunately outside his car.) He said I passed out in the car and then he fell asleep. The next thing I remembered was arriving at my cousin's house early in the morning, very sick, and trying to explain what happened.

My scariest experience was being so drunk I kept losing my date at the pub we were at. I would walk off or he would go to the bar, and then I would totally panic because I couldn't think clear enough to find him. The next day when I was complaining to him about my hangover and he told me that he was as drunk as I was. That's when I really realized how lucky we both had been. It was the middle of winter, snowing, and stupidly, we left the pub, got into his car, and drove home.

Posted by: jaime | Oct 24, 2005 3:06:22 AM

Oops, I see Jack beat me to it.

Posted by: j | Oct 24, 2005 3:08:00 AM

Wow, what a story! I never drink - ever - so I've never been drunk, unless metaphorically speaking, but I certainly love drinking stories, because they are funny yet disgusting! : D

Posted by: Irina | Oct 24, 2005 4:52:32 AM

Great post! I don't have any particular story I can add here, sufice it to say two things that I've never done: 1) Smoked a cigarette ever...
2)Never got drunk
Although I have gotten a bit tipsy. One of my most typsiest moments was actually on simchat torah where I must have had between 7-10 shots of scotch.

Posted by: Jewish Blogmeister | Oct 24, 2005 4:55:07 AM

Come to think of it... We're coming up on the eighteenth(whew) anniversary of my introduction to Mojo at my(and JAH's) apartment on E 14th st. That Simchat Torah with gang all there..Most of us still in touch and good friends after all these years..who'da thunk it.Moadim Lesimcha and " A gutten Kvittel" to the whole family...

Posted by: Shmiel | Oct 24, 2005 5:36:37 AM

How important is it that it be San Miguel beer?

Just, uh, curious... But I'm sure I could find it somewhere...

Posted by: Tara | Oct 24, 2005 7:22:27 AM

Jack... Surprised? No, that's not the word that comes to mind. :-) Although I don't remember and cross-dressed teens slurring their order for pizza at Richie's either.

Jaime... Yikes. As I'd hoped, the comment section here is turning into a nice cautionary tale on why not to drink to excess. Thanks for sharing.

Irina... Smart choice.

Jewish Blogmiester. If you can only narrow it down to the 7-10 shot range, chances are it was the latter. :-) BTW, I've never smoked either.

Shmiel... That was one of the reasons I was thinking about mojo at this time of year. The batch at your place was one of the last I ever made.

Tara... Not important at all (except for the authenticity of using Philippino beer). San Miguel is wonderful stuff but you can really use any beer for mojo without damaging the delicate bouquet. :-)

Posted by: David | Oct 24, 2005 11:34:23 AM

Years ago I found that I can't get drunk. The reason is simple: it hurts. A lot. If I drink even enough to become slightly tipsy, the area of my heart and lungs feels like someone put a match to it. Combine that with the fact that when I'm in serious pain (and the pain can get very serious indeed), I morph into the Horribly Ill-Tempered Bear from the Nethermost Regions of Hell. So I'm very careful what I drink, when I drink it and how much. I do like to have a bit of wine with my Shabbat meal, and on occasion I have tasted minute amounts of whiskey to find out what whiskey tastes like, but since I'm not into pain, recreational drinking is out of the question for me.

David, if you want a cautionary tale about alcohol, here it is. Some years ago, my host spiked the iced tea at a meeting at her house without telling anyone. She had no idea that one of her guests would react so badly to alcohol, and I had no idea I was drinking alcohol because it was so well disguised (and I didn't know what it tastes like because in my whole life I've hardly drunk anything alcoholic except wine or beer). I think that spiking a drink without warning one's guests is pretty close to a mortal sin, not to mention horribly stupid ... what if one of us had had a serious medical condition? I shudder to think what might have happened. ... Still, I think that the fact that our host then had to deal with the Horribly Ill-Tempered Bear -- who was not only in serious pain by then but also furious at having been given alcohol without being told -- was punishment enough.

Not to mention terribly embarrassing for me, even though it wasn't my fault.

Posted by: Rahel | Oct 24, 2005 11:59:28 AM

Of course you would write this post just before Simchat Torah...

Posted by: Elisson | Oct 24, 2005 12:20:20 PM

Elisson, as someone who has no idea what the pleasurable "buzz" of alcohol feels like, I have to get my Simhat Torah high the natural way.

Posted by: Rahel | Oct 24, 2005 12:26:49 PM

Memories...la la la la la la la...The shirt survived 20 years, but Chedva did dispose of my fishing hat. As Simchat Torah begins in Eretz Yisrael, just remember David, we don't need know stinkin' badges. It is 6:30 AM. I have to grow up and go to work.
Chag Sameach from Alan and Meital and the rest of us. (Now that Meital can read, I may have to throw away the shirt).

Posted by: Alan | Oct 24, 2005 12:34:20 PM

ah, so embarrassing to share these little stories... at the age of 12 (yes, 12...), best friend and I begged my parents to let us test drive the new 5-person tent by sleeping out in the back yard during summer break. My friend then did something similar to your experience. Emptied out most of a 16 oz bottle of Pepsi and refilled with a little of everything from Dad's liquor cabinet so he wouldn't notice. We plugged our noses and guzzled... I have very few memories of the night. I do recall thinking that there was something wrong with throwing up all over one's stuffed animals...I also had burn marks all over my fingertips from trying to light matches to smoke cigarettes swiped from her grandfather... I had to hose down my backyard at 5 am and figure out how to do laundry very quickly...but the tent made it through unharmed! And, you are right, now I am one of those who says..."I can only drink gin, so it must have been the one thing her father didn't have!" And although it was difficult to explain being hung over for 2 days at the age of 12, I am thankful that I got it out of my system early...

Posted by: nrg | Oct 24, 2005 12:47:11 PM

The old 16oz, glass bottles of Pepsi are what we mixed our liquor in... just a little bit from all the bottles in the parents' liquor cabinets. We called it Weed Killer. But...

It was the Martinis mixed in one of those same bottles, complete with a handful of olives stuffed inside, that still keeps me from gin. It even kept me away from olives for over 10 years.

Posted by: Ocean Guy | Oct 24, 2005 1:57:21 PM

Reading a couple of these stories reminds me of drinking Everclear during a Thanksgiving away from home.

It was in Georgetown and there was a group of us who for whatever reason were all stuck there in the snow over the holiday.

And just let me say that Everclear brings in an inordinate amount of holiday cheer.

Posted by: Jack | Oct 24, 2005 2:53:06 PM

Yes, I remember that night well, David. However, you guys were missing more than your shoes that evening, but that, too, is probably not an appropriate story for here and now (especially since Meital can read now!).

Posted by: val | Oct 24, 2005 2:56:17 PM

My immediate "ewww, it has beer in it?" reaction reminded me of this Irish pub in Moscow. (The russian bartender had been there so long, he had an Irish accent) Their 'black russian' was kahlua and vodka over ice, filled the rest of the way with coke, and then topped with Guinness. So I presume yours is also better than it sounds...

7-10 shots of Scotch counts as "tipsy?" I clearly need to drink with the Blogmeister. :o)

Posted by: Tanya | Oct 24, 2005 4:17:11 PM

oy ...with teenage boys...:)

Posted by: lisa | Oct 24, 2005 6:18:46 PM

I normally just lurk here occasionally, but the post and Tara's comment force me to write. When I was a freshman at YU, we looked up to the guys dorming on the 2nd floor of Morg -- most of whom were proud wearers of Mojo T-shirts. Of course, in those early days of alcohol experimentation, we had to mimic our idols and we were determined to manufacture our own batch of the elixir without deviating from the printed recipe (which we had memorized from the shirts, not daring to ask for a copy -- we were terrified of Trep b/c of the student court testimony -- whole 'nother story -- ask him to blog about it). I cannot even remember how many hours we spent roaming the streets of Washington Heights in the middle of the night, asking every bodega owner for San Miguel beer. We returned to the dorm exhausted, soaked, and demoralized at the prospect of sullying this sacred concoction with substitute beer. I will just say that all this was soon forgotten by morning -- the stuff is as potent as advertised. Thanks for the memory! Chag Sameach

Posted by: cb3 | Oct 24, 2005 6:53:00 PM

On my 21st birthday I went bar-hopping with my college friends and work friends. But first I stopped at the liquor store to buy my first legal purchase (yeah, I had a fake ID for a while).

I picked out Cinnamon Schnapps and went on to meet everyone at the bars. I drank so much....people kept buying me different things: Long Island Iced Teas, BJ's, Sex on the Beach's, Whiskey Sours, etc. that I got so sick and all I remember is waking up the next morning and my black hair was no longer black....it was...ummm, RED...and smelled like....cinnamon puke.

Needless to say, it took me another 10 years before I could even chew Big Red gum again.

Posted by: Stacey | Oct 24, 2005 6:54:05 PM

Holy shlamoly what a drink!
And what is that above the blender, a liver imploding?

Posted by: fran | Oct 24, 2005 8:56:25 PM

I thought it was a brain being wrung out.

Posted by: Tanya | Oct 25, 2005 3:21:13 AM

I notice that a few years after you got out of the Navy, you started studying at YU. I would say you were probably not your average freshman. I'd love to hear how you got from the Navy to YU.

Posted by: houseofjoy | Oct 25, 2005 9:22:55 PM

I thought that thing above the blender was ET's head....my drink of disgust is a B-52 shooter. My friends had to stop at a rest stop on the highway so that I could puke in that toilet.

Posted by: ac | Oct 25, 2005 11:58:55 PM

Rahel... Someday I'll share a story about someone slipping something illicit into something I was drinking. For now, let's just say you have my complete sympathy.

Elisson...Yes, that was planned... but not for the reason you might imagine. I've found that sharing drinking stories among friends tends to produce more cautionary tales than actual fun stories that one might want to deliberately try to replicate. Mission accomplished.

Alan... If she can read then let her read all the horror stories! That should scare her away from this kind of behavior. :-)

nrg... Just so long as you really got it out of your system!

OceanGuy... Shaken, not stirred, I'm assuming. :-)

Jack... That stuff can kill you!

Val... Thanks for your discretion.

Tanya... It actually tasted pretty good, but that's my hindsight talking. :-)

Lisa... Yeah, mark the bottles... trust me.

Cb3... Glad to have you d-lurk. Now if only I could figure out who you are. :-)

Stacey... Thanks for that mental image! Yum!!! I happen to love Cinnamon, but that could have put me off it for a while.

Fran (and Tanya and AC)... It was simply bad hand-drawn artwork sent to the printer in a hurry. I think the original intention was that it should look like a mushroom cloud. . :-)

House of Joy... Definitely a story for another day. :-)

Posted by: David | Oct 26, 2005 11:44:17 AM

hi david & zahava - finally took a break and checked out the blog. have'nt had a chance to do that in a while. the story about photo friday made me smile lots. i could just hear the exhange playing out in my mind's eye......what i want to know is what happened after the pics were posted :) i can only imagine based on past experience w/you two. love, stacey

Posted by: stacey | Oct 31, 2005 6:01:15 AM

Stacey... Glad to see you stop by once in a while. No physical harm resulted from the pictures... but I haven't seen the camera lately either. :-)

Posted by: David | Oct 31, 2005 9:34:19 AM

You have NO idea how much I am your bestest buddy. I have been looking for YEARS for a recipe for MOJO... BEEN THERE DONE THAT... OMG it is the best stuff.. and BELIEVE me...when he said "because you could sit and drink it for hours and not feel any the worse for wear. But the moment you got up and tried to walk..."...PLEASE dont think he was joking... This is the BEST tasting drink... but there was MANY a sailor that spent some time in a gutter because of this...

THANKS so much...


Posted by: Denise | Nov 1, 2005 4:07:11 AM

yep, thats the mojo i remember (78 to 79 west pac uss vancouver), i remember the girls putting 7-up in it, and glad to see one of us was smart enought to get the recipe, been looking for it. san miguel..god that stuff gave me a hang over..even if i drank one bottle, mojo was great, never got use to the ba-lut though!

Posted by: scott | May 26, 2009 9:51:54 AM

Thanks for this. I had something close to this saved on a hard drive that crashed. I kept finding recipes that didn't have the OJ and it doesn't taste right to me. Thanks for making this old Oki vet happy.

Posted by: Darius | Jul 17, 2009 3:18:35 AM

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