HOW MY SISTER TURNED ME INTO THE MARTINI DIVA
The first Sunday in August is always National Sister's Day. It's a day to celebrate your sisters, whether they be sisters in blood or sisters in your heart. My sister was both for me. She was my only birth sister and she was also my friend. Having lost Patti in 2005, I pay tribute to her memory here today with a little story about how she is the person responsible for the very existence of The Martini Diva.
First, you have to know that Patti was my older sister by seven years and ten months and I drove her crazy when we were growing up. Our family lived in a small little brick house in Wichita, Kansas and she and I shared a bedroom. As a teenager Patti was horribly taxed by having a little sister in her personal space on a daily basis. I did not help the situation by being curious, rambunctious and always under foot - or under the bed, but I'll get to that in a minute.
I idolized my older sister. She had lots of friends, she went fun places like formal dances and toga parties. She got to wear pretty dresses, make-up and high heels PLUS she worked in a movie theater and could eat all the free popcorn she wanted! She was always pretty, always with friends and always doing something interesting and I wanted to be just like her, so I followed in her footsteps - literally. I was constantly on her heels trying to butt into her life and desperately trying to become part of her world.
I not only dogged her every move, I once hid under her bed while she entertained one of her boyfriends (with the door open of course, this was the fifties). I was constantly hunting for her diary to read so I could get all the private dish on her life. I was relentless in my pursuit, I was clever and sneaky and I was a royal pain in the ass. I tried to copy her outfits, I imitated her mercilessly and whatever she had I wanted to have, whatever she did I wanted to do.
This included wanting to have a cocktail like the one she was drinking at a small party she gave. Of course I wasn't invited but that didn't stop me! I surreptitiously crashed the party, snuck up to where Patti's glass sat and sneaked a little sip of her daiquiri when she wasn't looking. I loved it! It was sweet, it tasted like a peach and it was frozen like the slushies I loved from Dairy Queen! Patti caught me in the act and, instead of smacking me upside the head and chasing me out of the party, she grabbed a small shot glass and poured me my own little drink! (Yes, she was underage, yes, our parents were gone and yes, my sister probably let me stay at the party so I wouldn't tattle on her!)
That little tumbler of my sister's daiquiri was my first taste of a cocktail. As a result of having that little shot I went and set up a "bar" in our basement the next day with table leaves, boxes and my little tin glass and tray set. I then charged all the neighborhood kids a dime for Kool-Aid cocktails which I made with 7-up instead of water and garnished with Maraschino cherries I had copped from the party leftovers! Yeah, I was kind of a pill.
Daiquiris were not the only cocktails my sister introduced me to. My first taste of a Tom Collins, and Drambuie can also be attributed to her. Like I said, whatever she did or had I wanted to have or do.
I crashed that party the same day Patti had caught me playing with a music box of hers that played "Love Letters" by Pat Boone. So, either she was trying to get me sick with my mini-daiquiri or she was bribing me or she had simply forgiven me for my trespass. Sadly, I will never know which because I never got a chance to ask her. Patti died before my life as The Martini Diva began and it wasn't until I got hooked on martinis then began creating my own original and bespoke craft cocktails that I remembered that time from my past.
Patti was not here when I began my journey into mixology and the world of martinis and she is not able to share The Martini Diva lifestyle with me now, that is something I regret every day at cocktail hour. I would love to be able to sit down at five o'clock, place a couple of martinis in front of both of us, share a drink and have a conversation with my sister. If there was anyone in my life who would have truly enjoyed a fun martini and an hour or two of yakking - and deserved to share in them - it was my sister.
As a result of these childhood events I shall always consider Patty to be the inspiration for my fascination with all things happy hour. That first sip of daiquiri was my initial step towards becoming The Martini Diva and I have my sister to thank for it.
Patty, I hope you're enjoying a nice cold cocktail up there with the angels.
"My Sister is laughter even on the cloudy days of life." ~ Lillian Gish
Updated January 2016