My friend Nick Ng is visiting Denver, the city where I reside. I had plans to have him over to my apartment to cook him dinner, but circumstances forced a change of plans and so we agreed to get together later for a drink or two. And right away, I knew this would be fun.
That’s because Nick is always fun. He is a very positive guy. But it is also because Nick has a famously low tolerance for alcohol.
Now, before I go any further, I realize you might be asking ‘what does this have to do with massage research or education?’ I admit there is no direct connection. Alcohol is a dangerous recreational drug that you should not abuse and I should probably not celebrate it in this blog. But there is an indirect connection, in that Nick is the Founding Editor of Massage & Fitness, an online magazine that seeks to elevate the practice of massage therapy with professional and scientifically-accurate content. Are you a member of the profession? I urge you to subscribe. (And to be clear, that’s coming from me – Nick doesn’t know I’m making this post, a fact that I think will become evident from the photographs that follow.)
I decided to take Nick to Stem Ciders. I like the product and the atmosphere and thought that cider would be more agreeable to Nick than other alcohol-delivery systems.
Stylish etched glasses at Stem Ciders, Denver CO.
In addition to full-pour servings, Stem also serves ‘flights’ that allow one to sample four different varieties of cider. I handed Nick a menu and glanced over his shoulder as he perused the ‘Flights’ section. And, somehow, I accurately predicted that he would choose the ‘Fruity’ flight over the others. Did I mention Nick isn’t much of a drinker?
The Fruity Flight. OD is off-dry, R is raspberry, PC is a pear cider, and HS is scented with hibiscus. We’re not talking rocket fuel here.
I ordered the first of several ‘La Chene’ ciders for myself (“Red Zinfandel barrel aged. Smoke, caramel, and vanilla on the nose, smooth velvet mouth feel and slight oak tannin astringency on the finish.” Alcohol by volume = 6.4%.) and wondered to myself how many of the little sample tumblers it would take before there would be noticeable signs of intoxication in our subject. Nick himself declared that the flight, rather than serving as a tool to help him make a later selection, would be all that he could drink…
“I don’t like selfies.” -A still sober Nick Ng.
Nick started in on his flight from left to right, just as you would expect of a writer and editor. And, remarkably, before he had even finished the first small tumbler, his face started turning red and his forehead beaded with sweat. And he began laughing. A lot.
Nick Ng, Founding Editor of Massage & Fitness magazine and the world’s cheapest drinking date.
About halfway into the flight, Nick was drunk enough to express astonishment that the establishment had a dishwasher behind the bar. I reminded Nick that this was the 21st century, after all. What will they think of next?
I ordered myself a second La Chene and paced myself so that I would complete it as Nick reached the end of his Fruity flight, which would likely be his limit. (He didn’t know it yet, but I planned to push him a little bit beyond that limit.) Eventually Nick progressed to the rightmost drink on the board, a cider scented with hibiscus. I cannot find a flavor profile description of this one on the Stem Ciders website, so I’ll just note that it is pink, floral, and a ridiculously low 4.4% alcohol by volume. Nick, who was now quite drunk, loved it.
That hibiscus cider is a monster.
Nick completed the flight as I downed my second La Chene. I waited a few minutes and then ordered a third, at which point I indicated to Nick that it was time to use his newfound cider knowledge to select which one he would now have as a full pour. In my mind I made a bet as to which one it would be, and instinctively knew it was safe to bet it all on the hibiscus. I was not wrong.
As Nick and I drank some more, we discussed the high-level challenges confronting massage therapy and his long-term plans for Massage & Fitness magazine. (Did I mention you need a subscription? Honestly, if you’re serious about your work in this area, do it now.)
Actually, I’m kidding. Mostly, Nick laughed. A lot. If you’re ever out with Nick Ng, want to have a good time, and have eleven or twelve bucks to spare, take him drinking. It’s an incredible value.
Eventually, after Nick had finished his hibiscus-scented cider, we made our way to the car. Nick was WAY too drunk to drive, so it is good that I was still nearly stone sober, of course. I teased Nick, in a good-natured way, for getting bombed on 4.4% ABV pink cider scented with flowers, and he made me promise to never mention this to Sarah Haag or Sandy Hilton of Entropy Physiotherapy. Your secret is safe with me, buddy.
No more pictures!