Season of the Drink

One could argue that Minnesota boasts several drinking seasons--like summer, with its beer and Malibu rum and headfirst dives into the shallow ends of swimming pools. But it is winter that reveals the mettle of the true alcoholic. Once the snow arrives, encasing everything in bleak, muffling fur, the flag goes up on despair, along with its wounded offspring: crying-into-the-elbow, black soul intoxication.

Doctors urge against winter drinking, and for good reason. Booze dilates blood vessels near the surface of the body, which steals warmth from internal organs. Not to mention that it interferes with the sort of good judgment that keeps one from doing things like sledding down an icy hill in Powderhorn Park, slitting open your chin, and then standing around at a party with a bloody clot of snow pressed to your face.

Drinking in winter is a practical necessity, mostly because the desolate months are so utterly lonely. One night you find yourself sitting in your car at an abandoned intersection, thinking you might stop off for a shot or two, and the next thing you know you're arm in arm with some other gin-soaked, Thinsulate-wrapped salt of the earth, celebrating the good times you might have had together if you'd ever laid eyes on each other before that moment.

But even if it's false and fatuous and you won't remember it tomorrow, the fact remains that such warmth is difficult to come by and always to be treasured. So, pour yourself a glass of courage and drink a toast to another fucked-up Minnesota winter.

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