Among other things, 2011 has been a year of death in my family. I've written plenty here about my grandparents, but two of my more distant relatives died as well. One, Richard White, I liked a lot and wish I had known better (incidentally, I believe my grandfather was one of his favorite people). My fondest memory is a day we spent together in December 1990 exploring the Queen Mary and the Spruce Goose in Long Beach, CA. The other, James Pufall, I really didn't know at all, though several times I stayed at a bed & breakfast he once had owned (the Colonial Rose Inn in Grand Detour, IL, currently closed and for sale).
When I was growing up, my grandfather's favorite drink was Absolut vodka on the rocks (before that he preferred scotch, and in his later years he drank Merlot). So in honor of those who died in 2011, this New Year's Eve I filled a shot glass with Absolut (sans rocks). Then I decided I may as well drink one for each of the departed. That was a few minutes ago. After four shots* of Absolut, I expect to be fairly smashed in the near future, probably soon after posting this.
Despite the pleasantly intoxicating potential of this new tradition, let's hope New Year's Eve 2012 is Absolut-free!
* I don't actually "do shots" -- whether it's in a shot glass or a snifter, I always sip my alcohol or at least spread it out over several gulps. Anyone can swallow booze like a pill, so doing shots doesn't impress me. If you don't really taste it, what's the point? (If the point is just to get drunk, why waste money on a brand name? Actually, vodka is a bad example because I recently taste-tested four brands (from four countries, even) and couldn't discern much of a difference between them.)