Ginger Ale in Manhattan

The first time I had ginger ale, I was nineteen years old. While I was growing up, we were primarily a Coke and percolated coffee family. I remember watching commercials for Seagram’s Ginger Ale and thinking it must be something for rich people. Like Perrier and Pizza Hut.

So, on that sunny day in The City, I followed my brother’s roommates up a narrow flight of stairs to an Indian restaurant just outside The Village. Square tables covered in white filled the open air dining space. Large, slow moving ceiling fans circulated above us as we were led to a table somewhere in the middle of the room. It was crowded but comfortable.

Our waiter was tall, wearing an impossibly white suit and an equally impossibly white turban. He pulled out my chair and seated me despite it being a casual cafe, and I felt like a princess transplanted from the Midwest to that magical, exotic rooftop.

My escorts for the day advised me on the menu, and I chose a fruity rice with chicken and nuts. I batted between ordering water or a Coke when I saw it on the menu. Ginger ale.

I asked Tod, “Have you ever had ginger ale?”

He smiled. “Of course. Haven’t you?”

I shook my head. “No. Do you think I’d like it?”

He smiled again. “Yes. It’s divine. You HAVE to try it.”

Okay.

The waiter brought our food and drinks. He set down a glass goblet, beads of condensation glistening like jewels along the sides. Ice floated in half moons as the golden nectar bubbled and churned – dancing.

I sat up a little straighter. I arranged the napkin a bit more neatly over my lap, and I took a sip.

Divine.

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