Champagne Is for True Romantics – and Nurses
Victor J. Palagano III

Champagne Is for True Romantics – and Nurses

One night, around 10 years back, I slaved to create this fantastic Moroccan lamb dish. I was drinking wine in the afternoon when my date showed up. For once, I had a date with someone over 25 — in fact, she was over 40! With no kids, she had plenty of time to hit the gym and feed her cats. I love older women. They're empowered, experienced, and they know what they want. Like a good cook, they know what the final product is going to look like, smell like, and taste like (and it's nice to know that eventually you'll be the main course).

Just to loosen things up, I poured some tequila on the rocks with a few limes as an appetizer. The next few hours were filled with lots of laughs and listening. (Side note: Guys, nod your head when she's talking to you — at least pretend you're listening, and stop staring at her tits.) In short, we drank and ate our faces off.

We finished the meal by downing flutes of champagne and raspberries. Then things started to get steamy. My date was obviously ready for the real meal of the night: me. Down to boxers and a T-shirt, I started getting a little nervous about the amount of booze I'd consumed. I excused myself to run downstairs and "turn off the propane on the grill."


champagne as aphrodisiac

I know — I'm crazy. There she is, in my bed, in the mood, and I'm fleeing downstairs. Well, I had just turned 30, and had gotten a little ahead of my skis, and I thought slamming a Red Bull in the kitchen would be a great poor man's Viagra (and it's less painful then a tongue depressor and duct tape).

So I slammed the Red Bull and, lurching back upstairs, I burped and vomited red raspberries and champagne all over the front of my shirt. Talk about a buzzkill! I ripped off the shirt and brushed my teeth and she never suspected a thing.

But what a sad waste of gorgeous champagne.

I've since learned my lesson. When I was younger and less sophisticated, I spent more time abusing champagne then enjoying it. Please heed Don Ho's warning: tiny bubbles! Yes, millions of tiny bubbles trying to escape your esophagus, all at once. Drink champagne slowly or it will shoot out your nose, especially if swigged straight from the bottle. Pour it slowly; it should take two separate pours to fill a single flute. And whatever you do, don't drink more than two bottles for a nightcap. The hangover is bound to kill you. Tipsy with champagne is fine, but really drunk on champagne is another thing.

And my best advice: Practice often. Older and wiser, I've had an epiphany. To hell with reserving the bubbly for special events. I figure, if it makes you instantaneously happy and it's romantic, why not serve it more often? Why not increase your chances of ending up in love, even if only for a night?

A bottle of champagne should be in your refrigerator at all times. If you open any single person's fridge and they don't have a bottle of champagne inside — red flag. These depressing folks are not romantics and will not provide you with a spur-of-the-moment quickie anytime soon. And let's face it: If there's no champagne, who wants to spend the night knowing there won't be any mimosas in the morning? There's nothing sexier then champagne in a women's fridge . . . well, besides some Braunschweiger.

Start the date off with a few glasses. Oysters or crab legs are a nice side, but seafood's expensive, so suck down your champagne with buttered popcorn. Yes, drink your $30 bottle of bubbly with Orville Redenbacher! The champagne's flavors meld well with the butter and salt and, believe me, shabby-chic is in. I'll often have couples meet at my house before going out to dinner, just to share a bottle of champagne; might as well have some giggles on the way to the feast.

Drinking champagne is fun, but it also makes a nice palate cleanser just before your main course. A nurse friend of mine made me dinner once and served chilled melon and champagne soup as an aperitif. I was a little disappointed to find that it was just a pretty little bowl of balled cantaloupe with champagne poured over the top. We both had a good laugh over calling it "soup," but we weren't laughing when we spooned up those round juicy balls covered in golden bubbling nectar — delish! Later that night, she tried to give me a belladonna suppository for dessert (true story).

God, I love nurses — almost as much as I love champagne.


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