Before Bacardi Breezers there was Taboo and Mirage.
It was New Year’s Eve. I was about 14 and my best friend Ali was spending the evening with us. We were all – me, my brothers, Ali, my mum and dad – going to a house party with friends of my parents in the village.
It was a bring a bottle kind of a party and when we arrived, Rene waved us through to the kitchen. “Just dump everything on the table in there and help yourselves.” We followed her instructions. At first we drank non-alcoholic stuff or the little bottles of French beer that my parents had taken along. After a couple of those we got braver and started to check out the other bottles on the table. Ali and I and my eldest brother, Jim, looked at each other, a plan forming in our minds. I’m not sure who voiced it first, but we all had the same germ of an idea sitting there. “We should try *all* of these.”
I don’t remember now what else was on the table and how much of it we drank. All I know is that there was a red bottle of Taboo and a yellow one of Mirage – and we were going to drink them at midnight. Everything we did before then would lead up to this one, revealing moment when we finally got to try these glamorous, gloriously tacky drinks.
The evening went on. We drifted around in our little teenage gang of three, shuffling awkwardly whenever adults tried to talk to us and every so often heading back to the kitchen to whisper conspiratorially about the midnight plan. “Taboo and Mirage, yes? Yes.” Somewhere along the way we lost track of time. We were outside in the garden when somebody shouted that it was 11:55 – “Is everybody ready?!” Jim, Ali and I raced into the house as the countdown started. The kitchen table was covered in empty bottles and full ashtrays. We fumbled through them to the centre, where the bottles of Taboo and Mirage still stood, conspicuously untouched. Downing whatever it was that we had in our glasses, we unscrewed the caps of the bright yellow and red bottles. “What do we do with them?” someone asked. “Are they mixers, or what?” None of us knew the answer and we didn’t have time to debate. Besides, there was nothing left to mix them with even if that was what we were supposed to do. We poured hefty freehand sloshes of both into all three of our glasses. “10 … 9 … 8 … 7 …” We stood, poised, glasses to our lips, smelling the sickly-sweetness of the liqueurs under our noses. I don’t know about Ali and Jim, but I was already more than half-regretting this dare. There was no turning back now, though. “3 … 2 … 1 … HAPPY NEW YEAR!” We looked at each other, raised our glasses, and drank.
Jim managed to down his in one, but I made the mistake of sipping it first and all was lost. Ali, next to me, had dribbled it down her chin and was giggling so much that I started laughing, too. Every time I tried to knock my glass back I would choke with laughter again. To this day, I couldn’t tell you what Taboo and Mirage taste like, but I do know that they’ll always remind me of a night standing by a scarred, wooden kitchen table, giggling fit to burst.
This story was written as part of the Scintilla Project, as a response to the day one prompt, ‘Tell a story about a time you got drunk before you were legally able to do so.’