Hearing in paired: Aguardiente

Some people feel and taste colors. Other people associate feelings with sounds. Me? Well, I drink in music. In this blog series, I pour myself a glass and pair 10 sips to 10 songs. Today, I’m drinking aguardiente and it tastes like a rapid fire snare drum and a hard-edged guitar.

IMG_7268Why in God’s name am I drinking 10 sips of the infamous Colombian anise-based, firewater known as aguardiente? Because I’m training for a friend’s bachelorette party.

With the same fervor that thirty-somethings train for marathons (or sport injuries related to training for marathons), I am fully committed to increasing my tolerance of high-pitched squeals (the kind that happen during male stripper performances) and alcohol. Being the Samantha Jones of the group is a heavy responsibility, which is why I turned to the toughest trainer I could find, Aguardiente Cristal. Now, before I transform into a fire-breathing dragon for this experiment, some background on Colombia’s national drink…

Colombian aguardiente, affectionately called guaro, is derived from sugarcane and flavored with anise. Its alcohol content can start at 29 percent and reach upwards of 60. However, when it makes contact with your mouth, it’s closer to Premium 93 Octane gasoline. Cristal, the brand I drink, is the largest selling Aguardiente in the U.S. It is made with molasses from Colombia’s sugarcane fields, mixed with anise and alcohol. Then, after being transported, delivered and purchased it is placed in my mouth, where the powerful black licorice-taste will remain for seven days.

Without further ado, here are my 10 sips of aguardiente, each paired to songs that capture the essence of firewater.

Sip 1 – Break Stuff by Limp Bizkit This song opens with two ominous chords that sound like the guitar version of the theme from Jaws – perfectly capturing may stare into the clear liquid before my first sip. After I swallowed the liquid version of a great white shark, I screamed/grunted and sounded just like Fred Durst. Then my body shook out of anger, I imagined. I also mused about “accidentally” breaking the bottle. Would I have to continue with the experiment if I did?

Sip 2 – Steady As She Goes by The Raconteurs Deep breaths, precede the next sip. The first sip paved the way for the second one, but just like this mean guitar riff, it is a terribly jagged pill to swallow.

Sip 3 – Sour Cherry by The Kills This song opens with “Shout when you wanna get off the ride,” which was exactly what happened next. It was after my third sip when I shouted, “Oh my God, I think I’m going to die.”

Sip 4 – Wreckin’ Bar (Ra Ra Ra) by The Vaccines After my fourth sip, I exhaled fire out of my nose. I’m pretty sure I lit a candle from across the room. I can pinpoint that the fire was coming from the pit of my stomach, because it felt like I had eaten a ThermaCare Heat Wrap for dinner.

Sip 5 – Mrs. Robinson by The Lemonheads A sloppy walk from the kitchen to the bathroom (more sloppy than usual), confirmed that the potent alcohol was now coursing through my veins. And it was alright. The jumpy bass of this punk cover of Mrs. Robinson is the perfect match to this sip: happy, messy and sweet.

Sip 6 – All Day And All Of The Night by The Kinks It was at this sip, infamous number six, when I became obsessed with dancing. “Take me out,” became the mantra. Never mind that it’s cold and still early, I was overwhelmed with the urge to put on make-up and leather leggings.

Sip 7 – My Sharona by The Knack After my seventh sip, I raided my closet looking for a Sofia Vergara-like outfit. This was difficult as I kept bobbing all around the house with a terrible attack of adult attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Was it the sugar? Was it the alcohol? Was it that no amount of cover up would hide my bright red face?

Sip 8 – Waiting for the End by Linkin Park During my burst of energy, I thought it would be a good idea to brush my teeth. This was obviously a horrifying mistake, like Linkin Park’s attempt at a soaring ballad, which I discovered during my eighth sip. Now I really wanted this whole experiment over.

Sip 9 – R U Mine? by Arctic Monkeys I took my ninth sip quickly after my eighth. And with the same intensity of the masterful drumming in this song, I felt a pang in my stomach. No pain, no gain, right?

Sip 10 – I’m a Rockstar, Watch My Videos, Buy My Records, Make Me Famous by superGARAGE A few minutes after my tenth sip, I had fallen (on the couch) and there was no getting up. Half-dressed and with nowhere to go, my drinking supervisor informed me that the entire house smelled like licorice, to which I replied, “good,” for no reason. Then, without prompting, I also informed her that I was just sitting down for a second and that I was going to continue getting ready shortly. She appropriately responded by bringing me a glass of water with a heaping side of stink eye. It all felt very rock ‘n’ roll at the moment.

Not so much the next morning.

Below is a full list of the 10 songs for my 10 sips:

Click if you missed my music parings for whiskeygin, vodkabeer, tequilawine and/or brandy.

Published by Mari

I was born with a widow's peak and a thick accent. I majored in English as a second language. I work (marianeladearmas.com) and travel (alittlecubangoesalongway.com) and sometimes do both.

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