Yesterday, we explored the world of Ferris Bueller and in my ramblings I realized that I had not yet introduced the boy to the film. Today, we rectified that oversight. It holds up, surprisingly well. The kid got it, understood why what he was doing was wrong and how that can be ok sometimes. He also seemed to understand the frustrations of the sidekick, perhaps a little too well. So in that spirit, won’t you please join me as we stand and make Cameron’s Kick.
I found this drink last night while leafing through Harry Craddock’s 1930 “The Savoy Cocktail Book” and kind of kicked myself for not having it on hand when I started talking about Ferris yesterday. Then, I figured why not just continue with the theme? Well, I couldn’t do that because I had decided to avoid themes as best I could, with the Thirteen Drinks of Halloween and the Twelve Drinks of Christmas, as exceptions. I was worried that if I started doing Tiki Tuesdays or Fernet Fridays that I would get bored with it and feel trapped. Of course, this is a self-imposed restriction that naturally followed the law of unintended consequences, meaning I was now trapped by my non-theme internal declaration. After a short meeting of my many internal voices, we voted to overrule ourselves and allow themes when appropriate, as dictated by a majority of whims present. I am sure that some form of anarchy will ensue. Point is, this is an old drink, actually older than the Savoy version, since it first appears in Harry McElhone’s “ABC’s of Mixing Cocktails” in 1922. Let’s mix it up and see how it has fared in the last 99 years.
Grab your tins and pop in 1 ounce of blended scotch, I chose Dewar’s 12 year; 1 ounce of Irish whiskey, I went with Dead Rabbit; 1/2 an ounce of freshly squeezed lemon juice, 1/3 of an ounce of Orgeat and, oddly, 1/2 an ounce of chilled water. You find that water addition in a lot of these old recipes, I am not quite sure why, perhaps they had shorter shaking periods in the days of yore. Speaking of shaking it baby, now; add some ice and shake hard to Wayne Newton’s wonderfully smooth, “Danke Schoen“. C’mon, what did you think we were gonna do here? When you feel that you have done your level best, double strain into a chilled coupe and garnish with a lemon peel flower on a pick, floated on a dehydrated lemon wheel, as one does.
That’s quite nice. I wasn’t sure how that middle of the road scotch was going to play with a heavier Irish whiskey, but it comes together well. The orgeat pushes through a bit harder than I had imagined but it still balances nicely. I don’t see me craving this one, it is good but not terribly interesting, but it is definitely worth making, especially if you need to work up a Ferris Bueller menu.
To be fair, the drink predates the movie by 60-something years, so the name is not a reference to the actions of Alan Ruck on screen, but if we know Cameron for anything it is for his kick. When he finally loses it and all that repression boils to the surface he kicks the bumper of that exquisite 1961 Ferrari 250 GT California Spyder, over and over. Cameron’s kick is what finally sets him free. Sure, he destroyed something invaluable and irreplaceable in a fit of anger, but that’s what kids do when they can’t handle their feelings. They lash out and destroy other people’s things. So, yeah, don’t do that, even if you are really mad at dad. When I read about the drink last night I figured that’d be the moral of the story. It made sense, Cameron couldn’t deal with things, so he boiled over and did something he ultimately regretted and could not fix. There’s a lot of that in the world, so it made sense to talk about it, then I watched the movie with the boy and I got slapped with another, much more personal, message.
The kid and I have spent a lot of time together, always. Even more so this last year since I proctor the one room schoolhouse he goes to everyday and we do stuff together most weekends. He sees the good, the bad and the ugly as I try to navigate the world. I figure he doesn’t always realize that as I am teaching him things about how to get through life, I am often still figuring it out for myself. As we were watching the parade scene he asked me to pause it so he could ask some serious questions about how that would even work. I very cleverly explained that is was easy, as long as you could get the screenwriter to include it in the script. He replied, “No, seriously. How do you do that?” I answered it was just part of the story, real life didn’t work like that. So he, patiently, clarified “No, dad. How do YOU do that? I’ve seen you in parades and on stage with the microphone and you are always leading us into doing silly fun things. How do you get to be like Ferris Bueller?”
Let me tell you. That’ll stop you in your tracks. I rattled off one of my stock answers. You know the type. “Well, son, you’ve just got to be open to the world, don’t be shy, be open to new experiences and try to have some fun. If you can share that along the way, even better.” That’s true, but it is not the whole story. How am I supposed to explain that somewhere along the way I missed out on something and the need for the approval of strangers led Dad to a path of attention-seeking behavior that has been mostly rewarded? How do I explain to the kid that my moods swing up and down and that the highs tend to be as showy as the lows are concealed? How do I make him understand that I have been Ferris and I have been Cameron and that somewhere along the way I decided that worrying about doing what was expected was not nearly as much fun as being free to not only explore the boundaries, but to help others get out there as well? That being around the people you love and being safe to make mistakes, makes you free. That we all enable each other, in the good ways. I wasn’t ready to think about how the hell I got here, to a place where my son thinks Ferris’ big day out looks like a pretty normal Field Trip Friday with his old man. I’m not sure whether I am proud or ashamed or a bit of both, either way, the boy has given me something to think about. It is hard to know how those around you really see you, and his insight was a bit jarring. I hope that my dubious example gives him the wings to express himself and that he doesn’t find himself kicking my existential Ferrari once he figures out that I don’t have all the answers, and I never did. I guess time will tell, until then the great experiment continues. Stay safe, stay hydrated and stay sane, my friends.