I don’t generally follow the news of “royals” whether they are from Kansas City or the UK. I wish them both well, I just don’t get the fascination. I’m not knocking it, just saying it’s not my bag. That kind of luxe just ain’t for us, as the kids say. Apparently, there was some hullabaloo over an interview between Oprah, Meghan and the Harry formerly known as Prince. Some family business was addressed publicly, some feelings were hurt and the gods of ratings rejoiced. Honestly, I am only marginally aware of this because it seemed to dominate the morning news cycle, perhaps when I learn more, I shall care more deeply. Perhaps not. The point is, my choice of drink today has absolutely no bearing at all on this coincidence. I saw something that looked nice, I wanted to try it and I indulged my desires, with agency. So, in the spirit of going ahead and doing your own thing, even when circumstances conspire to make that unnecessarily confusing, won’t you join me now as we stand and make Her Majesty.

This riff on the classic Sherry Cobbler was created here in Nashville by Ellen Talbot of Fable Lounge. While I have been in the building where Fable is located, I haven’t actually visited this bar, yet. An oversight I look forward to correcting as our world begins to reopen a bit. I took a look at their menu and I was salivating in my seat, seriously. Today’s positive news about the reduced risk to fully vaccinated folks of contracting or carrying Covid gives me some hope that before too much longer, I will be able to pop in to spots like this to cure a mid afternoon thirst. As much as I love making drinks and sharing them, I am about ready for a drink made by someone else and their selection looks truly amazing.

This is a shaken drink so grab your tins and pop in 1/2 an orange slice and muddle it. To that add 1 1/2 ounces of an amontillado sherry, I went with Bodegas Yuste Aurora; 1 ounce of rye whiskey, I chose Crater Lake Reserve 96 Proof; and 1/4 ounce of rich Demerara simple syrup. Add some of that artisanal ice and shake to the beat of Peter Gabriel’s “Shaking the Tree“, but be sure to use the Secret World Live version, so you get Paula Cole rocking those callbacks. When your tins are well chilled double strain over crushed ice into a rocks glass and garnish with a dehydrated orange wheel, one of those amazing Luxardo cherries and maybe some fresh mint, if there is any left in the garden.

You knew this was going to be awesome when you read the ingredients and it is. Obviously, amontillado is wonderful, people get walled up in dungeons seeking a particularly nice cask all the time, allegedly. It really pairs nicely with that rye to add a nice spice to the nuttiness of the sherry, but I think it is the citrus element that really makes this one sing. A very nice cocktail from the shadow of Centennial Park.

Part of the impetus for making this one today, besides the fact that I scored some new amontillado this weekend, was the fact that it is International Women’s Day, and an article about the origins of “Shaking the Tree” and the changing roles of women in Senegal when it was written in 1989. Which reminded me of a conversation over the weekend about the, sometimes surprisingly, thin line between empowerment and exploitation and the challenges of being an ally in that climate. Like most things, it comes down to intent and if you are genuinely trying to be decent and respect people, you will be on the right path, even if you make missteps along the way. To be fair, I don’t know what it is like to experience life as anything but what I am. I try to empathize, but I have no true understanding of other folk’s reality, but that doesn’t mean I can’t try to make things better. That is always a good and lofty goal.

Today, we honor women’s struggles in particular, but everyday, we should try to remember that lots of folks are working to overcome barriers that have been thrown in their way for no reason other than to make some folks feel better about their inherited accomplishments. Surely, we can all agree that making the world an easier more equitable place for all, is something worth working toward. That instead of finding ways to make it harder for people to be heard, we should be trying to get more voices into the conversation. After all, there is no them, only us and we all deserve dignity. We can and will be better when we learn to see the other in ourselves, “souma yergon, sou nou yergon” as they say. Stay safe, stay hydrated and stay sane, my friends.

*”Souma Yergon, Sou Nou Yergon” is a Senegalese term meaning, “If we had known, if we had only known” in the Wolof language.