Last night I experienced the 'Cartagène effect'. Cartagène was originally developed by the Gardois vignerons to serve as their aperitif, from fresh grape juice.
It's made according to a recipe that's been transmitted down through the generations - adding one litre of 90° alcohol to 6 litres of the day's grape juice (moût) and basically leaving it for 5 years or so.
It's deceptive stuff because you think of it as fortified wine - no big deal - but in fact it's a liqueur at 22°. Served frais, it's incredibly drinkable but packs one helluva punch later!
Yesterday at our lunch time neighbourhood party, we had been drinking rosé wine, pastis, muscat and so on - the usual stuff. Then, when we were way past the desserts, one of the neighbours brought out a bottle of murky Cartagène made by her grandfather, for a teatime delight...?
Ever eager to try new things, I proffered my glass for a finger or two's worth, and was warned about the deceptively deadly nature of the stuff. Naturally, as it tasted delicious, I ignored the warnings although I didn't have more than a couple (or was it 3?) helpings...
I felt fine, up until about 10pm, when I was very glad to be merely 4yds away from the downstairs loo... The Cartagène had obviously been whipping up a revolution in my stomach which had had enough so ordered it out, along with its friends the rosé wine, pizza, salad, sausage, uncle Tom Cobbly and all...
I did feel better afterwards!
I learned this evening that I was not the only one to have had revolutionary tendencies ejected forcefully from my stomach. I was heartened by the matey rapport that I now have with my fellow piss-head neighbours. We will be undoubtedly getting on like a house on fire from now on.
The chances are, however, that I'll be keeping off the Cartagène, just so the others can share more amongst themselves...
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