So, this afternoon, I wanted nothing more than to come home and make a fancy new cocktail with some awesome ingredients I grabbed while out in the world getting stuff for the boy’s 10th birthday tomorrow. Not gonna lie, I kinda love curbside pickup. After I got back to the office, I discovered that I had messed up some scheduling that made taking tomorrow off to celebrate problematic. Tricky, when you work for yourself and have to be responsible. So, instead of running home to make a fancy cocktail for you, I worked late and came home tired and cranky not remotely interested in making anything. Then, I thought about the Boss and what would he think if I weren’t ready to go at showtime. So, I painted on a smile and hit my marks to make a Cuba Libre in honor of Butch.
I’ve known him since college, worked for him and with him off and on for most of my life and about half of his. I don’t think we have ever actually had one of these together. In fact, I don’t remember ever really having a drink with Butch, I know we have shared wine at dinner or an event and he was there when I was playing pretend bartender at the topless, I mean tapas, bar in Taos way back in the 90’s, so surely we have, but I just don’t remember it. A bunch of sundrops, coffee and cigarettes, sure, but we just don’t drink together. We always talk and laugh all night when we get together anyway, so I don’t guess we need it.
So why a Cuba Libre? One night when I was probably a sophomore or junior in college, a group was sitting in the theatre talking about drinks and he mentioned having them in his youth and I thought it was just the coolest thing. So I started ordering them, to be cool like Butch. It didn’t work, I wasn’t as cool as him, but I did find a great drink.
Why make this one tonight? Well, the Boss has been on my mind since he just had a birthday and it is stupid simple to make plus I’m just tired and phoning it in. This one is so easy, it is barely a cocktail, it’s just rum and coke, but with lime juice tossed in to make it fancy. So, set out a rocks glass and pop in 2 ounces of rum, I decided to be authentic and use my Cuban Havana Club Especial, 1/2 ounce of fresh squeezed lime juice, 3 stabs of 18-21 Havana and Hide bitters. Give that a light stir and top with 4-6 ounces of coke, I used Coke Zero, cause that is what I had. Garnish with a lime wheel and take a sip. You could reminisce about the last time you had one of these in the gardens of the Hotel Nacional in Havana, but I am actually thinking about the fella that made drinking one while looking north toward Florida a goal. The Boss expanded my horizons in a lot of ways, he’s been a friend and a bit of a father figure, well more of an eccentric uncle figure, but you get it. He taught me a lot about life and love, when it’s art and when it’s a job and how to keep what is important out front. He also introduced Laura and I, so I guess I owe him for that too. Without him and Kim, I wouldn’t be celebrating a decade of fatherhood tomorrow and I know for damn sure I wouldn’t be nearly the man or father that I am. Thanks Boss…for everything. Love you. And to the rest of you, thanks for being an audience for my ramblings, if you love them blame Butch, for showing me how to hit my marks and tell the truth. If you hate them, have another drink, it gets better in the second act. Stay safe, stay hydrated and stay sane, my friends.