When I was a kid the town I grew up in, Westmount, which was nestled in the heart of greater Montreal, was dry. Dry, white and English. The perfect cocktail to breed future drinkers. (Me).
To get liquor, a near daily excursion in my household, you had to cross over into the next town, which luckily for my parents, was three blocks over. There sat, if I remember correctly, an unmarked building, whose storefront led onto an empty room save for a long counter behind which worked an army of dour-faced men with bulbous noses wearing filthy red jackets. Queuing, in messy lines, those needing a bottle of vin ordinaire or a 5th of scotch, would wait their turn to order. There was no discussion of what wine might match one’s planned meal of lobster bisque or a lousy meatloaf. Red, white, or spirits, all of it was wrapped in brown paper and roughly slid across the counter, the conclusion to a joyless exchange. I will say this for the women of Westmount, they often rose above this province-controlled bleakness by standing about the grim anti-camber, their wrapped prize in hand, chatting away as they caught up on all the gossip. Continue reading “Blue Drinks”