The truth is things aren’t always going to go the way you planned. It happens all the time. We, mostly, don’t notice when they go better than expected, but when things go downhill, it can shake your faith. When that happens, all you can do is step back, take inventory and find a way to move on from that new starting point; make the best of the situation and see if, maybe, you can salvage some lemonade from all those lemons. So, in the spirit of doing the best you can with what you have, won’t you join me now as we stand and make the Coco No Coco.
This drink was born from necessity and making do with what you’ve got. It comes from one of my favorite watering holes in Boston, the legendary, Drink. They have truly mastered the art of the craft cocktail and I love the vibe there. Descending into the dimly lit basement you are met with this serpentine bar that oddly feels both massive and intimate at the same time. There is no set menu, instead you discuss the kinds of things you are into or feeling with the bartender and they craft a drink especially for you. Much like Attaboy, your experience will depend on your bartender and how busy things are, but we have never been disappointed there. This drink is sort of unusual in its fairly simple build inspired not by what is in it, but what is not. Necessity being the mother of invention and all; general manager, Ezra Star described this as “a fun one we use quite often when we run out of coconut cream.” So, let’s see what happens when we have no coco.
Grab your tins and pop in 1 1/2 ounces of rum, I went with Havana Club Especial, because I was craving it, but a nice aged Demerara would be even better; 3/4 of an ounce of orgeat, 3/4 of an ounce of pineapple juice and 3/4 of an ounce of heavy cream. Add ice and give it a good shake to the beat of Daniel Merriweather’s wonderful “A Little Bit Better” from the entirely unnecessary 2011 remake of the classic movie Arthur. I mean I sort of love Russell Brand and Helen Mirren, but Dudley Moore and Sir John Gielgud own that space? Seriously? There are things that simply cannot be improved upon. Anyway, when well chilled strain over pebble ice into some thing cool, I went for a coconut tiki mug to perpetuate the subterfuge on our coconut-less coconut drink. We had just sliced some pineapple, so I tossed in a big chunk as garnish, grated a little nutmeg, cinnamon and tonka bean over the top before popping in a hay straw and serving.
That is fun. If I did not know this had no coconut in it, I would swear it did. The orgeat and pineapple team up to get something suitably tropical in the flavor department with the heavy cream delivering the mouthfeel, before that rum comes charging in as a closer. This one is just lovely all the way around and super simple to make. A good go to when folks want tiki but you are out of coconut cream or when you want to throw them a head fake while playing guess the ingredients.
This drink does a great job of making do, but it makes me wonder if we always should. It is easy to get locked in to goals, especially when your apple cart gets upset. While picking up the pieces it is very tempting to focus on the original plan and fight against the forces arrayed against you to win, at all costs. I get it. It is hard to adjust and even harder to give up on your goals when events conspire to take them away from you. That said, sometimes the best plan is to truly reevaluate and take a long look at what your goals would be if you were starting fresh, because you are. It is sometimes hard to see, but the biggest setbacks in life are also opportunities to view your world in a new way and to approach the next step differently. No one says you have to be the same you that you were. In fact, most folks seem to believe that we are put on this planet to grow and growth means change, sometimes painful change.
Kahlil Gibran said, “Even as he is for your growth so is he for your pruning. Even as he ascends to your height and caresses your tenderest branches that quiver in the sun, so shall he descend to your roots and shake them in their clinging to the earth.” He was talking about love, but I think it applies here. Maybe that is what we need from time to time. To have our roots shaken free, to feel the fear of loss, so we appreciate what is left all the more. I am not sure, but I do know that there is no use crying over lost coconut. So, pick yourself up and get to work making sure that tomorrow is a little bit better than today and stay safe, stay hydrated and stay sane, my friends.