The assignment seems fairly easy. Make a drink, write some words, call it a night. I did that everyday for the better part of two years with little difficulty. To be fair, I had a significant amount of spare time to fill and lots of things to say. The world seemed to call out for commentary just a little more often during those unprecedented times. Still, I find myself unable, or unwilling, to just go through the motions lately. Some days you have a thirst; some days you don’t. It is that simple. Well, not quite that simple, so let’s dig a little deeper as we stand and make the First Time Caller.

This drink comes to us from the good folks at Charleston’s Citrus Club, located atop The Dewberry right downtown. I haven’t been there yet, but I bet you can see Fort Sumter from there, or at least Jimmy’s house. This is a tropical inspired riff on an Old-Fashioned that makes for a lovely nightcap. It has a simplicity that really appeals to me, especially tonight, so let’s get to building.

Yes, I said building, because we are going to build this one right in the glass, in what I presume is the Carolina style. No point messing up our mixing pitcher for a single drink, allegedly. So, grab a rocks glass and pop in one large artisanal ice cube, add 2 1/2 ounces of aged dark rum, I chose Ron Zacapa 23, 1/4 ounce of creme de cacao, 1/4 ounce of banana liqueur, I chose Tempus Fugit Creme de Banana; and 2 stabs of Dr. Elmegirab’s Aromatic Bitters. Give that a good stir to the beat of White Lies singing “First Time Caller“. I know that is a bit on the nose, but the song came to mind immediately and would not go away, besides, it is a solid tune that doesn’t get enough play. When well mixed, garnish with an orange peel wrapped Luxardo cherry on a cocktail pick.

That is very nice. Surprisingly accessible, even though it is entirely alcohol. The chocolate and banana add a lovely depth to the molasses forward character of the rum. It is almost too pleasant for me, if that makes sense. It might be more interesting with a less smooth rum choice, maybe a Meyer’s Dark or a Smith + Cross to lean into the banana funk of the Jamaican style rums. Still, this is a seriously solid after dinner drink. A little sweet, but that works for dessert, especially when looking out over the city from a rooftop bar.

I wish I could talk to the creator of this one and get the story behind the name. Sure, we have all heard it “Long time listener, first time caller.” Though I guess it applies to any genre, it makes me think of the old late night call in talk shows. You know, the ones with a doctor or psychiatrist or random crank with a microphone who would hand out advice to the lovelorn, the politically agitated or the sexually frustrated. Come to think of it, most of the callers were some mixture of all three of those things. I never quite got it. I am not a terribly private person, but the last thing in the world I want to do is discuss my problems with a stranger while thousands more listen in, but I can see where it was cathartic for some.

Speaking of sharing your problems, I haven’t had a thirst lately. Not quite sure why, I just have not wanted alcohol. Haven’t really enjoyed it when I did have it. It happens, I run hot and cold on things. I also have not wanted to talk about stuff. There is a lot going on in the world right now that probably deserves comment. Seriously, Russia invaded Ukraine last week. A real honest to goodness invasion. Not mean words, not saber rattling, but the real tanks in the streets, bombs dropping in neighborhoods, children hiding in shelters kind of evil. So far, it is not going great for the Soviets, I mean Russians. Shockingly, that Wolverine style resistance has been as effective as it was in the movie, which seemed pretty unbelievable at the time. Still, I am not sure the world needs for me to add my voice to the din or cares what I think of things in Eastern Europe. I am usually better at talking about more personal stuff anyway, but I am just not feeling it lately. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been dealing with some heavy things, but I am actually talking to friends, working through stuff, just like I always advise everyone else to do. So, maybe I am learning, just maybe I am getting better, maybe not. I guess, I could dial up Dr. Everything’ll Be Alright and get his take on things. After all, I am a long time listener…y’all stay safe, stay hydrated and stay sane, my friends.