Mountgay Black Barrel Rum 2007
Deep, smooth, intense.
We began with delirious dark Jamaican rum-soaked kisses in searing heat. Wantonly our mouths exchanged toasted sugar and spice under velvet skies with a moon you said was gibbous. You promised we’d go to places I’d never imagined. I ached every time I left your house.
Bandol Rosé 2008
Delicious ice-cold with supper on the rocky little beach near Sanary-Sur-Mer. Crusty bread, pungent Banon cheese. Bastille day fireworks, giggled skinny dipping, lying on damp towels, licking fig juice from salty bodies. Watching Orion guide the fishermen safely home, your hand ice-gentle, sailing across hot tanned flesh.
Home-made Sloe Gin 2009
Glorious autumn days, talking, laughing, tramping footpaths, pockets stuffed with blue berries. Each one to be painstakingly pricked for steeping in gin, sugar and almonds. Recipe found in a newspaper. Improved with age.
Bourgogne Pinot Noir 2010
Restorative after tramping miles of Parisian pavements looking for the bistro you’d read about in some magazine a few years earlier. The one my complaining feet chose was fine. You grudgingly agreed the cassoulet was delicious, although the waiter in the other shop might have been less surly. The next time we visit Paris we use the Metro and I read the guidebooks.
Laphroaig Single Malt 2010
Funny that your Scottish parentage didn’t give you the taste for whiskey. You insist that the tiniest hint of it on my morning after lips makes you queasy and unsteady. Your brother’s betrayal, sharing a half bottle with me one night, may have been deliberate.
Accompaniment to a fruits-de-mer lunch at Le Crotoy. We pick at shells, slurp shucked brine, crack lobster limbs. Your eyes are set on some invisible horizon while I am shaky after days touring battlegrounds, some of them recent. The shellfish’s revenge left you weak and puking on the Calais-Dover ferry.
Home-made Sloe Gin 2012
From over a hundred recipes you decide this is your favourite. Your obsessive attention to detail trumps my relaxed attitude to measurements, although my Victoria sponges are to die for.
Home-made Elderflower Cordial 2013
You drag me out for apologetic post-argument foraging. Your hand is unfamiliar as we walk at an unsuitable pace. We return with industrial quantities of elderflower heads. The house reeks of cat’s piss and tastes squabbled sour.
Laurent Perrier Champagne Brut NV 2013
I’m birthday party tipsy, happy, loose-bodied. You recoil at my wanton advances with cork-popping rage. Our last guests dissipate at your door-slammed exit. While I fight fearful insomnia, you spend a remorseless thundery night under a bus-shelter. My hungover resistance wavers at your shuffled return.
Home-made Sloe Gin 2014
How many fucking sloes are necessary? My hands are shredded. I find seven demi-johns of the stuff in the garage after you move out.
Rose Vodka Cocktail 2017
Midnight dancing at my niece’s wedding in a dress you’d hate. Flirting. Laughing.