I am not a huge fan of orthodoxy, at least not according to Webster. The idea of “authorized or generally accepted theory, doctrine, or practice” seems alright on paper, but in practice it feels a lot more like stagnation and acceptance for acceptance sake. Still, I had a wonderful drink in my back pocket left unused after the Easter holiday, so why not embrace orthodoxy and celebrate Orthodox Easter a week later, which kind of flies in the face of accepted theory, doctrine or practice. Life can be funny that way, so won’t you join me now as we subversively stand and make the surprisingly unorthodox Follow That Black Rabbit.
Even the name of this drink turns expected conventions on their head. I can only assume that the Black Rabbit is remarkably chill and extremely punctual, if not early. Of course, I am serving it in a red rabbit, so I guess all bets are off. The drink was created by Kristian Kamp for Gaz Regan’s Bartender’s Gin Compendium in 2009. It can be found on the menu at Whitechapel in San Francisco where it is presented in the usual highball format, but I am feeling kinda tiki and I had this awesome Freaky Tiki mug from Dead Rabbit Grocery & Grog just sitting there waiting for fulfillment, so that is how we are going to handle this one. I mean it is not remotely orthodox, not an according to Hoyle Easter Bunny, but I think we can make do.
Grab your tins and toss in 2 ounces of gin, I went with Botanist Islay Gin; 3/4 of an ounce of Fernet Branca, 3/4 of an ounce of maple syrup, 3/4 of an ounce of freshly squeezed orange juice and 1/2 an ounce of lemon juice. Drop in some of that artisanal ice and give it a good shake to the beat of “When I Was Drinking” by Hem off their album Rabbit Songs. When your tins are well chilled strain into a freakishly anthropomorphized rabbit vessel filled with pebble ice and garnish with some fresh mint and maybe and orange peel or two.
That’s got an interest, doesn’t it? I like it. Nice orange base, really great botanicals from that Islay gin, just enough sweetness from the maple and almost medicinal herbal thing coming in from the Fernet, this drink has got it all. Is it tiki, I’m not quite sure, but isn’t it pretty? I mean it looks the part and I love the way that the nose from the mint pushes this one toward the herbal side, but maybe it wants for some sprinkled cinnamon in this format. Honestly, I have had way less tiki things sold under that orthodox label so, I am declaring this one tiki adjacent and calling it a day. Anyway I like it and having it in this cool mug just adds to the experience for me.
Maybe I am railing a little too hard against doing things in the orthodox manner, but that is just my nature. I don’t think the drink is hurt for trying something different here. Life is mostly the same way. Sure, there are a lot of things we do a particular way because that works best, but there is also a ton of stuff we do just because it has always been done that way. Our parents did it that way, it is how we learned and why mess with things, right? I don’t know, the older I get the less well that sits with me. Maybe we should take a minute to make sure we are doing things with intention. There might be a better way, there might not, but I think we can all agree that we will be better off for considering the possibilities.
Someone wise once said that the unexamined life is not worth living, so I guess we should look into ourselves, especially our motivations. Someone else said ignorance is bliss and they were probably right too. Ignorance is certainly easier, but I am not sure that bliss should be the goal, at least not at that cost. Looking at the how’s and why’s of what we do is rarely comfortable, but it is one of those things we have to do if we want to grow, to be better, to break those chains that have bound the generations that went before us. So have a drink and give it some thought. What are you passing on to those who will come after you? More importantly, are you doing it on purpose? We are all going to make a mark on the world, for good or ill, so make sure you are being intentional with what you leave behind. Help where you can, accept where you can’t and do your best to not only be decent now, but to inspire those who come after you to take care of one another, that is a difference worth making. So, look out for each other and stay safe, stay hydrated and stay sane my friends.