There are all kinds of things in life we judge without thinking about it. It sucks, but we have certain prejudices. It’s not necessarily our fault, we are hard-wired to take shortcuts when it comes to some things. Our brains use a sort of shorthand that almost forces us to extrapolate opinions from past experiences and impress those feelings onto things we haven’t actually experienced or gotten to know. Some times, this is really good. Once you have had an experience with spoiled or rotten food, the mere scent of it tells you to run away. You don’t have to suffer it a second time. Other times it really sucks, when it makes us lazy. When we let our preconceptions or societal norms drive us to make snap judgements, without really considering the individual merits of the case. We do this a lot, making the easy, “I don’t want to think about it calls” about things or way worse, about people. We are born with some of this, we learn most of it, but the important thing is we have to recognize it, and that is hard to do. I ran into this today when I was making a drink and I guess we ought to talk about it. So, join me as we stand and make, The Grasshopper.
Full disclosure, I only made this drink because I realized I had the ingredients on hand and I thought it would be pretty in this cup. It is a super simple, dessert drink thrown back from some Midwest Supper Club, presumably with cedar paneling, a live dance band, and Prime Rib on the early bird special. I’m big enough to admit that I kinda love these places, the ones that are left anyway. They have a certain vibe and a propensity for the lake raised Pike Platter, that you just don’t find anywhere else. One of the hallmarks of these spots is the dessert drink menu, with frothy, often ice cream laden classics, like a Brandy Alexander or the inimitable Grasshopper. Drinks I would never order. Drinks that should not be that color…or consistency…or sent down after a shrimp cocktail. I have watched them go by in all of their unnatural mint green glory, toped with whipped cream and chocolate jimmies. Don’t get me started on the jimmies vs. sprinkles debate and its correlation with modern society. Anyway, that’s a lot of words to say that I am predisposed to dislike this drink, though, I have never actually had one. So let’s make it.
Grab your tins and pop in 1 ounce of Creme de Cacao and 1 ounce of Creme de Menthe, I used Dekuyper’s for both of these because that is the only way to get the old unnaturally green stuff and they are super cheap. Modern more “upscale” craft versions of creme de menthe are clear, cause there is no need to bring food coloring into this. Add 2 ounces of heavy cream and one big ice cube and a couple of small ones and shake. I went with the big cubes cause we aren’t looking for a lot of dilution here, but we definitely want this one very chilled and frothy, so shake hard. Double strain into something fancy, I used some antique crystal, on loan from the collection of my Mom. Use your microplane to grate some nutmeg on top and serve with a fresh mint garnish.
Is it too sweet? Yes. Is it too green? Certainly. Is it stupid good? You’re damned right, it is. Now, I don’t want one of these every day, or even every week, but it is certainly deserving of a place at the table. I had totally written this one off, because I thought I knew what I was getting into. I judged it, using my preconceived notions and prejudices. I didn’t think, I just went on misinformed instinct.
So how is it? It’s a heavy drink, but with a light feel. The mint and chocolate work together like a sippable Andes after dinner mint and the nutmeg, just elevates it. Judged on its own merits, for what it is and what it is supposed to be, this little drink is nearly perfect. Here is the kicker, I had missed out on that. Hell, if I had not gotten a bottle of creme de cacao for a different drink, I still wouldn’t know what this one is about. And that is the thing, isn’t it? How often do we let our little shorthands to decision making, our prejudices make our decisions for us? How often do we miss out on new things because of it? How often do we not get to know new people, explore different cultures? All because somewhere along the way we learned some bad lessons and just incorporated them into our psyche without ever stopping to ask that most important question, “Why?”
It happens to us all and I guess what I am trying to say is, we need try to make sure we make our decisions honestly, and not based on some preprogrammed crap. This is serious stuff, most of the harm we see in the world can be traced back to folks not recognizing each other as fellow humans and most of that comes from these stupid little shortcuts we have ingrained into us. I missed out on a drink this time. I am sure I have missed out on friends in the past. I fear that I have missed out on respecting different viewpoints, all because I couldn’t see past prejudices I did not even realize I had. We really are all in this together and I have not always kept sight of that simple fact. But, I am trying and I hope you will too. Stay safe, stay hydrated and stay sane, my friends.