Sometimes you know things aren’t going to work out. Not to be a pessimist, but I have concerns about tonight’s drink. It won’t be the drink’s fault, I am just not feeling it. I realized halfway through that I had chosen a drink from my big list of possibilities that I wasn’t particularly excited about. It is almost like I instinctively knew to not waste any effort on making something I was looking forward to. Without considering things, I chose a drink that I was less likely to enjoy thereby setting up the conditions to make my prophecy self-fulfilling. It happens. So, in the spirt of unconscious self-sabotage, won’t you join me now as we stand and make the Ce Soir.
Honestly, this one has been on the list for a long time, maybe that has something to do with the selection. Perhaps some misplaced guilt for letting some letters languish so long on a constantly evolving list. That would totally make sense, if the words were sentient or deserving in any way of anthropomorphization. However, since those words are not particularly impatient or feeling any sort of emotion at all, I am going to set that useless guilt to the side to reuse in some other equally undeserving situation. Tonight’s drink was created by Nicole Lebedevitch from Boston’s, The Hawthorne. It’s a riff on the classic Manhattan made for a customer who preferred bitter drinks. Some say, this one has a bit of a Sazerac feel, probably from the cognac. To be fair, it is not really in line with either of them, but you’ll see where we are going with it.
Grab your mixing pitcher and toss in 2 ounces of Cognac, I chose Hennessy; 3/4 of an ounce of that artichoke based bitter Cynar; 1/2 an ounce of Yellow Chartreuse, 1 stab of Angostura Bitters and 1 stab of Regan’s Orange Bitters. Add ice and give it a good stir to the beat of Golden Earring’s “Kill Me (Ce Soir)” a song which always makes me think about the opening chapters of Douglas Adams’ “Long Dark Tea Time of the Soul” for reasons which should be obvious, but will remain private. It has a long intro, so you should probably stop stirring and pour this one up by the time he starts actually singing. Seriously, 30-45 seconds will be plenty to get a good dilution going on. Strain into a chilled coupe, express a lemon peel over the top and serve completely naked with no garnish at all to come between you and your drink.
I want to like this one more than I do. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed it. Everything works here, I just wanted a little more of something, or maybe less. The cognac and chartreuse thing is really nice and the Cynar brings a nice balance. There was a bitterness in the finish that I never quite decided whether I loved or hated. It has an amazing bouquet and color, everything was right about it, but we just did not make a love connection. It’s not the drink, it’s me. Maybe my head wasn’t in the right place for this particular drink tonight, maybe it is some deeper moral failing.
So, that went about as well as I expected. Which makes sense, considering I am literally in control of every single element involved. Well, every element except my own brain and its moods. It’s a shame really, that the one thing that should be firmly in my control is also the one that is most adept at eluding any influence. Oh well, where would we be without self sabotage and the curse of self-fulfilling prophecies, which we mostly write for ourselves in the dark corners of the night. A lot better off, obviously. No worries, that is how the cookie crumbles, as they say. At least time has taught me to recognize a mood coming on and I am able to, usually, adjust accordingly. This is a decent drink that I made on an evening when I was predisposed to be disappointed, it’s not a big deal. I have lost way more on many other evenings to this same toss of the chemically imbalanced dice. Indulging my mood and then being totally open about it to the world, may seem like a weird coping mechanism, but you do what you have to. This has been a strange year and some of the old tricks are showing a little wear, so we try new things. Besides, naming a problem robs it of its power, so call those suckers out. It’s perfectly ok to not be ok sometimes. Trust your old Uncle Monkey on this, name it, own it and move on from it, you’ll feel better and enjoy your drink more. Stay safe, stay hydrated and stay sane, my friends.