I was stung by a bee today. Twice. It’s been quite awhile since that happened and I do not care for it, not one bit. I know that this does not affect your life directly, but I just felt like it is a thing that should be known. My hand is all swollen and itching, my shoulder has a big painful bump on it and my mood is, well…did I mention I was stung by a bee? I suppose these things happen, but that got me to thinking, how a moment can change the entire trajectory of your day. How one careless decision can change the path of a life. So, with an eye toward making better mistakes tomorrow and dulling the pain of today, won’t you join me now as we stand and make the Baie Du Galion.
Yesterday, we kept it simple with the three ingredient classic Caipirinha, so we are gonna stick with that theme and explore three different ingredients and another truth. This one was created by a true legend of the modern tiki movement, Martin Cate of San Francisco’s, Smuggler’s Cove. I could paraphrase all day about this drink named for the waters of the bay off Martinique’s east coast, but why not quote the man himself who described this one as “a contemporary stirred cocktail where all the ingredients have grassy or herbaceous notes.” Sounds good to me. let’s make it, for medicinal purposes, naturally.
Grab your mixing pitcher and toss in 2 ounces of Rhum Agricole, I chose Rhum J.M. Blanc; 1/2 an ounce of Green Chartreuse and 1/4 ounce of Drambuie, because a bee sting antidote should have a scotchy heather honeyed herbal liqueur, always. Toss in 4-5 artisanal ice cubes and give it a good stir to the beat of “Fragile” by Sting. Yeah, you see what I did there. I used the song to remind you that simple cocktails are often the most difficult to make well. With only three ingredients, there is nowhere to hide if you pour too heavy and break the balance of the cocktail. So, yeah, they are fragile. When you have gotten a decent dilution and chilled the drink, strain into a fancy coupe and garnish with a lemon twist.
It’s herbaceous, it’s green, it’s got deep, complex vegetal notes and it is definitely booze forward. This is not surprising, it’s all alcohol. This one took me a moment. My first sip was a no, but not a hard no. My second sip revealed more layers of flavor. At first I thought the Chartreuse was stomping on the other flavors, but then the honey peeked out from behind a corner, before stepping into sight holding the rhum’s hand. There is something really lovely about that Rhum agricole from Martinique. It is made with pure sugarcane juice, instead of molasses, just like the Cachaca we featured yesterday. I did not think I liked this one, but it grew on me and by the time I emptied the glass, I was wishing for another sip. A very nice drink that works exactly as advertised.
It was my fault. I admit that. I was harvesting some wood from our old barn that the wind took a few years ago. When the bee began buzzing around me, I did not give it a lot of thought. It was big and furry, probably a carpenter bee or a bumble bee, both species I assumed did not sting anyway. I went with the whole, “don’t start none, won’t be none” policy that I use for most interactions. When it landed on my shirt, I figured it must like my cologne. When it flew up to crawl around my beard, I figured it was a bee of discerning tastes. After all, who would not want to crawl around and run their antennae through my freshly oiled beard? I just kept to my work, pulling off boards and piling them in the truck. Having done a bit of research, I now understand that the wee bee was doing its best to warn me that there was going to be some, if I did not change my ways. Naturally, I mistook this adorable aggression for adoration. I do that. A lot. To be fair, it usually comes back to bite me, just not in such a literal fashion. That was when I discovered that those fuzzy buzzers can not only sting, but unlike honey bees they don’t leave the stinger in you and run off to die. Oh no, they just fly off to have another go. After the second shot, I decided to retire and leave the yellow and black attack in possession of the field.
So, I’ve been whining about it all day. I do that too. A lot. My son who was valiantly assisting, from a distance, kept asking why I did not kill the bee, especially after it stung me. That’s fair. My first thought was that there was no reason to kill it. I had come into its neighborhood, poking around. It made sense that it wanted to check out the big monkey doing human things in its yard. It was annoying me a bit, but that’s not much reason to kill, especially since it had not done anything to hurt me. Which is funny, because after it stung me, I still had no real desire to kill it. Well, not beyond wanting to lash out at something that hurt me. What good would that have done, though? One less bee? How does that help? It was buzzing around solo, even if I completely decimated it with my overwhelming power, who would tell the story to the other bees? Who would sing the songs, or perform the intricate dance, of the monkey man who no bee should cross, lest they suffer the final pollination? No bee would stand witness, so I showed mercy as I bravely ran away. I suppose there is some sort of nobility in that, well, that’s my story anyway. Stay safe, stay hydrated and stay sane, my friends.