Drink 22: Black Velvet

The Date: September 28

The Friend: Jeannette McGarry Riendeau

The Place: Shaskeen, Manchester, NH

The Drink: Black Velvet

JeannetteThe Story: I think it’s safe to say Jeannette stalked me just a little bit. At the time we met, we were both doing the same job for different law firms in town and I was president of the Manchester Young Professionals Network, so she had heard my name around town more than a few times. Apparently, she had been asking people she knew for an introduction but I seemed to evaporate at events before it could happen. We finally met at a MYPN event at Shaskeen in 2006 or 2007.

I remember the first time we spent time together just the two of us. It was at the crack of dawn and I’m surprised I made anything resembling a good impression. Jeanette and I were both attending a Legal Marketing Association event in Boston on behalf of our respective firms. Since driving into the city on a weekday is hell to begin with, we figured that taking one car would make sense. The conference started at 8:30 so Jeannette picked me up around 6. In the morning.

Those of you who know me will be surprised that I was actually up, showered and dressed by this hour. Being pleasant and sociable was definitely extra effort. (I was working for The Man at the time, so getting up and dressed in the morning was a more regular occurrence than it is now, but this was still awful early for me.) Luckily for me, Jeannette drove so I could concentrate on being conscious and pleasant. A morning person I am not.

From then, though, I think we were sort of destined to be friends. It turned out that Jeannette also became very good friends with Katie, who is one of the dearest loves of my life, so that reinforced our fledgling friendship, too. I also hoodwinked her into getting involved with a MYPN committee that I chaired so we go to know each other more while working together.

Jeannette is one of those people who has no idea how awesome she is. She’s one of those women who has it all – a successful career, a wonderful husband, a gorgeous daughter, a house, a pet bunny with a MySpace page (literally), friends, funny stories of her adventures – all the trappings of a life being lived well. And yet she is so self-deprecating that you’d think she was a slouch in every respect. If you ever meet her, don’t believe her propaganda. She’s pretty fantastic.

Jeannette and I have bonded over our shared Irish heritage and the particular skills that come with it. Drinking, to be precise. Like good Irish girls, we both enjoy the drink. Jeannette is my only friend who will admit that she wanted to drink during her entire pregnancy. She didn’t, of course, but she wanted to. Most of my friends with kids talk about how magical their pregnancies were and how much they didn’t even miss their nightly glass of wine or cocktails at a social event. Not Jeannette, which makes me like her more because, if I ever got prego, I am quite confident that’s how I would be. Jeannette is one of those people who is real and I think that’s one of the things I like most about her.

Last summer, as part of the festivities surrounding Katie’s wedding, we roomed together for a weekend at Foxwoods. When we were making the arrangements, Jeannette seemed worried at first, even though it made sense financially for us to stay together and we were traveling together to boot. “I snore when I drink,” she admitted to me. “That’s ok,” I said. “I sleep like the dead when I drink!” Never a more perfect roommate combination was made!

Black Velvet

The Drink: Since we met at Shaskeen, and it’s an Irish pub, we figured that was a pretty good place for us to have a birthday drink together. Coming up with the drink was a little more difficult. While we have bonded over our shared appreciation for drinking, it’s mostly been in the form of tall tales; we don’t really drink together that much. Add to that, we’re at an Irish pub and I don’t drink beer. So we enlisted the help of Nathan, one of my favorite bartenders of all time, and came up with the Black Velvet, a combination of Guinness and cider that was magically delicious.

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