If you don’t start anything, you’ll never have to finish it. That sounds a bit pithy and wise, does it not? I could probably drop a dash after that and make up a name and folks would think I was educated for quoting someone clever. Sadly, that’s not the case, they are just some words I wrote down while trying to figure out how to start writing. Some days it is harder than others. Like most of my life it is feast or famine. Either I have million things to say and I am having to edit ideas out to keep things on track or I live in an inspirational wasteland. It’s not quite that bad, but I do want things to be good and somedays, well, you can just tell that the good stuff is going to hang there like Aesop’s grapes, just out of reach. So, in the spirit of doing the work, even when you don’t feel like you have it in you, won’t you join me now as we stand and make Death By Morning.

I have not been sleeping well, a combination of an old injury bothering me and the ever-present anxiety of pushing 50 in the world of “are we post-pandemic or is this just a lull in the storm, things feel ok, but not like ok ok, if you know what I mean and oooh, was that a chest pain or just indigestion”. So fewer hours spent abed, means a certain mid-afternoon grogginess often descends upon me. I usually medicate with coffee or a cup of earl grey, but to day I am going a different route with this riff on the classic espresso martini. It was created by Dzu Nguyen of Horsefeather in San Francisco, as an unusual response to requests for an absinthe cocktail. I love the nod to the Hemingway classic Death in the Afternoon champagne cocktail and I look forward to trying this one.

Grab your tins and pop in 3/4 of an ounce of absinthe, I went with Corsair Red; 1/2 an ounce of coffee liqueur, I chose St. George Nola; 1/2 an ounce of Branca Menta, 1 1/2 ounces of chilled espresso, 2 stabs of Angostura bitters, 1 bar spoon of demerara sugar and a pinch of sea salt. Toss in some artisanal ice and give it a shake to the beat of Jill Sobule’s “A Good Life“. I know some of you are freaking out right now. What the hell do I mean shaking a drink that has no citrus or cream elements? Oh, ye of little faith, just shake the damned drink and know that all shall be well…eventually. When those tins are well chilled, double strain into a Nick & Nora, express an orange peel over the top and garnish with some freshly slapped mint. See that lovely faux crema rising to the top of the drink? Isn’t it pretty? Doesn’t it have a lovely aroma? Well, you aren’t gonna get that with a stirred drink. Yea, verily, that monkey with delusions of grandeur doth work in mysterious ways. Trust me, kid. I’ll show you things.

Yeah, but how is the drink? Well, it’s pretty good. I mean it’s a coffee beverage, so I am predisposed to like it. The absinthe came through a little hard, but that’s on me, Corsair makes a great, strongly flavored, anise forward absinthe, that was probably not the best choice. I more nuanced absinthe would make room for those lovely herbal and menthol flavors laying on top of that sweet coffee base. To be fair, this is an excellent drink and if you like absinthe it is wonderful. I am still trying to make friends with the old wormwood elixir. I mean we have come a long way and we are definitely civil now, but we still just don’t quite get each other. I am working on myself, though, so someday maybe we will finally make that connection.

Maybe that will keep me going for a few more hours. You know what goes well with mid-afternoon ennui? A nice shower. That’s the plan anyway. Some good tunes, a nice hot shower with a cold finish, maybe put on a pretty frock and go to town. Have a drink with friends at a bar where they will, presumably, know my name and let hilarity ensue, as it surely must. Maybe even sneak off to an undisclosed location for a long postponed reunion with the glittery folks of our local burlesque scene. That sounds like a good plan. Whatever it takes to get through to the other side, right? Stay safe, stay hydrated and stay sane, my friends.