30 things before 30

I’m trying thirty new things every day for a month before I turn 30 . . .

#19: Sip a surly smurf

with 3 comments

Over the years, I’ve become a responsible adult.  Or at least that’s what people try to tell themselves around this age.  For some time now I’ve been able to stick to my personal goal of being home and in my jammies before midnight on “school nights.”

Tonight I went to the Red Derby in Columbia Heights to celebrate another fabulous friend’s terrific thirtieth.  The bar doesn’t provide much to write home about—bottled but no draft beers, decent fries, and plastic chairs that look like they’re straight out of your 5th grade math class.

Apparently on Wednesday nights the happy hour special is $4 White Russians . . . with rail vodka.  Pass!  I played it smart and had a Natty Boh.  In a can.  (Yeah, remember those!?)  I haven’t spent much time with most of the birthday girl’s pals so I was glad to catch up with a great guy friend I haven’t hung out with much lately.  Now, back before I was a responsible adult, he and I made lots of mischief.  He’s still “on the varsity team,” as he calls it.  I’m solidly “on the bench.”  He’s a great friend and a blast to be around . . . but sometimes having so much fun can really make your head hurt the morning after.

I told him about my challenge to do 30 new things in the 30 days before I turn 30.  And he wanted to help.

You’ve never been to this bar before,” he offered.

Yeah, but that shouldn’t count or else I’d just go to all the metro stations I haven’t disembarked at before and call it a day.”

He needed a refill so we moseyed up to the bar.

You could do a shot of something you’ve never done before.”


We eyed the choices.  Frangelica?  I can’t say I’ve done a shot of it before but I’ve had my share (my mom loves it too).  Whiskey?  Done and done, yuck.  Jagermeister?  (Come on, I went to college.)  The bartender saw that we needed some help.

You want a surly smurf.”

I do?  What’s in it?  Sounds scary.”

Blue curacao and some other stuff.”

Um.  Okay.  Two please.”

The surly smurf is very . . . blue

The surly smurf is very . . . blue

And that was the end of me. It was sickeningly sweet like a foofy-chick-drink and, yet, strong like a manly scotch on the rocks all at once.  I don’t know what was in it and I probably don’t want to know.  The closest recipe I can find is for a “Smurf Fart,” which involves cream and doesn’t sound toxic enough, believe it or not.  All I know is it made me want to scarf down a cheeseburger to erase the taste of it.  It was greasy and salty and meaty and fabulous.  A perfect complement to the Guinness I also ordered with the aim of getting rid of the memory of the surly smurf.

On the way home my friend and I stopped at another bar.  We ate a pineapple slice soaked in vodka.  That was a good idea.

(Too) many hours later, I found myself contemplating life on my metro ride home.  It was 11:45 p.m.  I thought about how good it is to see old and true friends.  (Smile.)  About how awesome that cheeseburger was. (Yum.)  About my bar tab. (Bleh.)

I got home, put on my PJs, and crawled into bed just as the clock hit midnight.  Shockingly, I didn’t turn into a pumpkin.

Lesson learned: When a bartender tells you that one of the ingredients is “other stuff,” say no.

Written by danamuses

October 22, 2008 at 8:58 pm

Posted in turning 30

3 Responses

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  1. I was at the Red Derby for a 30th birthday party on Saturday! I wish I had read this first, I would have tried a Surly Smurf.

    This story reminds me a little of my birthday and drinking too much on a school night. At least in this case you didn’t wind up passed out on my couch with your poor husband in a panic.

    Mary O

    October 26, 2008 at 11:32 pm

  2. As one of the guys who was around for the night of the Surly’s genesis, I do feel a need to defend the drink – its lead to one too many blackouts, its true, but made well, its really quite tasty… even if that “other stuff” is a liquor I’d never otherwise drink and a mixer I generally disdain as a “way of covering up the taste of good liquor”… but you’re right. Every DC resident should, at least once, stop by the Derby and try one before they turn 30. Or 40. Or 50. As the case may be. 🙂


    November 13, 2008 at 8:20 am

  3. oh right – and the brilliance of it all! it’s not only very blue – but it also has a white cap!


    November 13, 2008 at 8:22 am

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