Something dark and fizzy

Last night—or actually, at 2 AM this morning, thanks to the magic of time zones—I had the pleasure of hanging out with the Pynchon in Public podcast crew for their upcoming 100th episode, reprising my role as token podcast drunk. Having previously inflicted Hpnotiq and vodka with vegetable soup on those fine people, I this time brought something nice and friendly and open—“something dark in a glass that fizzed.”

In chapter sixteen of V, Pappy Hod is ashore in Valetta, Malta with one Fat Clyde. They’re in a bar called the Four Aces and another sailor, Pinguez, is on the floor spewing, an early drunk. A bartender approaches with a mysterious drink and the equally mysterious belief that it’s a good idea to serve it to the already bilious Pinguez:

A bartender approached with something dark in a glass that fizzed. […]

“Here, you drink it,” the bartender said. Pinguez lifted his head and moved it, mouth open, toward the bartender’s hand. Bartender got the message and jerked his hand away: Pinguez’s shiny teeth closed on the air with a loud snap.

V, p. 432

It somehow only now occurs to me that the dark fizzy thing may not have been another rum and coke but actually something meant to settle Pinguez’s stomach. It may not belong on our list. But too late now! I will continue under the irresponsible barman reading.

For my own specific expression of the platonic ideal of inky effervescence carried in by the Four Aces bartender, I have selected an Australian sparkling shiraz. This is probably not highly likely to have been often served in Malta in the 1950s. But (as Aug pointed out on the podcast), Pynchon’s never laid fictional foot (laid pen?) in Australia, so I’ve gotta take these chances to squeeze in the local product where I can. It’s the Tuesner M.C. Sparkling Shiraz, and it’s bloody lovely, as well as undeniably dark and fizzy. I would not bite the hand of any bartender offering it.

Bo and Michelle also brought some dusky bubbles to the recording. Michelle made a dark and stormy, and Bo mixed cherry coke with rye whiskey for an actually not awful sounding drink he christened the “One Hundred.” Look out for the episode in your podcast feeds soon, and mix yourself a One Hundred to listen along with!

Heartiest congratulations to all the PIPcast panelists present and past on their high service to Pynchondom. May they not tire of the endeavour for many hundreds of episodes more!

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