I dropped my phone this morning and had to crawl under my desk to retrieve it. Huddled there in the dark I was taken back to the school drills of my youth which always seemed to ramp up during tornado season or whenever Comrade Brezhnev, Andropov or Chernenko decided to rattle their sabers. Duck and cover, that was the answer. Do that and you will be just fine; we can worry about the fallout later. We believed in preparedness. In the case of global thermonuclear war, jump under your desk, duck and cover. If it is a tornado, head into the hallway crouch and place your head against the wall in a position similar to, but not branded as ducking and covering. Was it effective? Well…it turns out that there were a lot of lessons that we learned while growing up that were not quite be true or at least not for the reasons advertised. While looking for my phone, I saw through the propaganda of childhood and found a bit of an existential crisis that I was definitely not looking for. I guess that is how it happens some days. So, in the spirit of misplaced nostalgia, won’t you join me now as we stand and make the Eye Opener.
This is an old drink, first recorded by Harry Craddock in his 1930 The Savoy Cocktail Book. It is not really clear whether this is a riff on one of the many Corpse Reviver’s or vice versa, since they show up in the same book by the same barman, but they are both interesting ways to start the day. This entire family of drinks was touted as hangover cures, but this ones ingredient list makes a little more sense to me as a stomach soother. Which also makes it a lovely, smooth nightcap.
Grab your tins and pop in 1 1/2 ounces of dark rum, I went with Appleton Estate Signature; 2 dashes of absinthe, I used St. George Verte; a fresh egg yolk, a short 1/4 ounce each of simple syrup, Creme de Noyaux and orange curaçao, I chose Pierre Ferrand. Toss in a couple of artisanal ice cubes and shake to the beat of “Truth Hurts” by Lizzo, because why not? When well chilled, double strain into a Nick & Nora and garnish with a dehydrated orange wheel.
That is not what I was expecting. It is good, just different. Obviously, the rum choice here is going to make a huge difference. I recently made the First Time Caller where I used Ron Zacapa 23 instead of Appleton and wished I had swapped those, so I was doing penance here, but I really think that the smoother aged Guatemalan rum would have been a better call. Also, I expected the orange to push through harder on this one, for no good reason. Maybe I saw that egg yolk and got to thinking about breakfast, but it was more subtle than I expected. All that said, this is a damned fine drink. That egg yolk gives this one a wonderful mouthfeel, super smooth, almost like a thin custard kind of thing. I don’t want this one every night, but it is a lovely twist on an after dinner nightcap that won’t weigh you down, too much.
When I crawled under my desk I wasn’t looking for another existential crisis, there have been too many of those lately. Maybe that is part of getting older. It has certainly been eye-opening to discover that some of the fundamental, bedrock truths I had based my life on were just so many words. I mean, rationally, we all understand that our early education and upbringing has a certain amount of propaganda in it. Society is built around a ton of constructs that make it easier for parents, teachers and preachers to more easily manage their flocks. A big part of growing up is learning how to navigate your new reality every time another of those scales is peeled from your eyes. It really is surprising just how much of who we become is built around how well prepared we were for learning the “hard truths” that are hidden from us as children.
As a proud, but confused, member of Generation X, by the time we hit middle school, we were all able to do the math on just how far we were from probable targets and population centers. Depending on where we lived, we knew whether we would either be incinerated in the initial blast or we would have to wait in a bunker for the radiation to wash over us on the way to starving during nuclear winter, whether we ducked and covered or not. That was the case for so many of those truths that we were not supposed to know, but children listen and they are always there watching. Most of us knew way more about the world than our parents ever realized, and I guess that is a good thing. That’s how we grew up, playing along, participating in the lie, so the adults would feel like they were accomplishing something positive for the youth. It is ironic that after several years of relative peace, we find ourselves once again living in the shadow of armageddon, with our old foes threatening nuclear aggression. Like I said, it is eye-opening, but not terribly surprising. Some people grow and break those generational curses, while others repeat the mistakes of the past over and over. Me? I am trying. Trying to be better, trying to overcome the less palatable aspects of my programming while holding on to the good stuff, trying to leave a more positive place for those who come after. I may not succeed, but I am trying and if I survive long enough, maybe I will get it right. If nothing else, I don’t live near a major target and I have a lot of practice ducking and covering, so I figure my chances are pretty good. Stay safe, stay hydrated and stay sane, my friends.