The early period of Southern writing gave us Thomas Jefferson, Mary Randolph, and Edgar Allan Poe, as strange a trio as befits the region. (And that’s just Virginia, where one of my ancestors landed in 1611, nine years before the Mayflower made it to Plymouth.) Poe’s brilliant short story, “The Masque of the Red Death,” inspired this traditional drink of The Mallet Assembly at the University of Alabama, which at the time I lived there, was officially the men’s honors dorm (It’s co-ed now, as girls are allowed to go to school currently. That’s a joke, in case you didn’t get it). Here’s what honors dorm guys make for a party.
Water (some idiots say this is optional)
Grain Alcohol (such as Everclear)
That’s it. Consume with extreme, and I mean extreme, caution. There’s a cautionary tale to go with this recipe, as told in the style of Ben Franklin.
“As an undergraduate in college, I did not partake of intoxicating beverages, as I only drank water and tea, and the tea had to be without sweetening. Due to this strict regime, I became something of a Scholar concerning Intoxication. Many of my fellow students fell victim to this vice of drinking alcohol, and I witnessed their eventual downfall.
“Alas, one young gentleman drank more than his fair share at one of our celebrations, in the typical red Solo cup that graced such receptions. He became so inebriated he collapsed head first in the hallway afterward. His reward was a broken nose, which bled profusely.”
Enough of that. Said undergrad was taken to the infirmary by a couple of guys, but not until some jackanape had chalk lined the shape of his body where he fell. He was fine, but we left all the blood on the floor to dry, as a reminder.
Everyone on campus was talking next week about “that party where that guy died.” This is how legends are born.