“While we acknowledge your point, that time is just a construct” he began, “we also recognize that this construct has certain tenets and even measurements that have been agreed upon by all who conform to this construct. Seconds begetting minutes, minutes leading to moments and hour and days, weeks, so on and so forth.” It was clear that the headmaster had heard this argument from first years who had not yet discovered their own ignorance and still thought themselves quite clever, not realizing that the staff had trod this way many times before. Clearing his throat, he continued tiredly, “Over what we agree to call “time”, these, admittedly, abstract increments have become so ensconced in our culture that they have taken on the weight of actual concrete existence, to such end we have created mechanisms to measure these purely imaginary periods. My point being, that implements are now readily available to even the most backward of young men that will awaken their bodies if not their spirits at any time prescribed, even those drowsy enough to believe that a philosophical discussion of the concepts of time and space will somehow excuse their habitual tardiness.” With rising passion he intoned, “Well, not in my class, sir! I strongly recommend that you avail yourself of one of these modern horological devices known as an alarm clock and never again arrive in my hall even a moment after the appointed hour!” As he took his seat, he continued quietly and even kindly, “Am I understood?” I just nodded and shuffled to my place in the back of the class, happy that once again, I had escaped actual repercussions with only mild injuries from the public scolding. So, in the spirit of punctuality and never again being late for an important date, won’t you please join me now as we stand and make the Follow the Black Rabbit.

I was tipped off on this one by Fernet-Branca, but it was created by a Danish bartender, Kristian Kramp for San Francisco’s amazing Whitechapel. It was included on their “Honor Among Thieves” menu, which is basically an exchange program for exceptional drinks created by industry friends. To make it onto the menu in this London Underground inspired gin forward venue created by some of the top names in the California cocktail scene is quite an accomplishment, so I am looking forward to trying it out. Let’s give it a shake and see how things go.

Grab your tins and pop in 3/4 of an ounce of Fernet-Branca, 3/4 of an ounce of gin, I opted for Corsair; 3/4 of an ounce of fresh squeezed orange juice, 1/2 an ounce of lemon juice, 1/2 an ounce of maple syrup and 2 drops of 18-21 Prohibition Aromatic Bitters. Add some artisanal ice cubes and shake to the beat of “I Wish I was Sober” by Frightened Rabbit. When well chilled, strain over ice into a rocks glass and garnish with half an orange wheel, pierced all about with cloves.

This is unusual, but I like it. The sweetness from the OJ and the maple helps balance the fernet and the lemon acidity makes it interesting. I can see where this one would change quite a bit depending on the gin choice. Corsair is good here, but I’d like to try it with Gin Maré or Plymouth, just to see how much of a difference it would make. Don’t skip out on that garnish either, the aroma of those cloves with the orange is key. I like this one, I think I may have another.

Actually, maybe I should skip the second one, after all, I have another engagement this evening. I am guessing I should take my own advice and follow the black rabbit, who I can only assume is habitually punctual. If the white rabbit is always late for his important date, it only stands to reason that the black rabbit would leave home in plenty of time to arrive 5-10 minutes early. After all, if you’re not 5 minutes early, you’re late. In Watership Down, the Black Rabbit of Inlé appeared as a grim reaper of sorts, appearing at the appointed time to help the transition into the next stage. So the metaphor checks out, one would expect the inky, stygian bunny of death to be right on time. I may want to rethink that 5 minutes early thing. When death comes at last for me, with it’s whiskers twitching in the breeze, I hope to get at least five more minutes, because, like the Doctor, I don’t want to go. Unless it is for one more drink with friends. Stay safe, stay hydrated and stay sane, my friends.