I really didn’t want to make a cocktail tonight. Driving home from work I heard the sobering news that today the US passed 100,000 deaths from Covid-19. It is hard to imagine. 100,000 people who won’t come home tonight. 100,000 families, many in isolation, mourning the loss of a loved one. I came within a hair’s breadth of photographing an empty glass to honor a football stadium full of people who cannot enjoy a frivolous cocktail tonight. I struggled with what would be appropriate, what could mean anything at times like these, there has to be some good that comes from this. So, tonight we are making an unusual cocktail from Theory Bar in Athens, Greece, the Look for the Silver Lining.
That’s what we do right? When faced with inexplicable loss we look for meaning, for a bright side, we look for the silver lining to all those clouds. We’ve all been affected by this virus, whether through our personal health, our work or our loved ones, everyone is dealing with the fallout of a global pandemic that threatens many of the things we hold dear. So what good has come of it? Well, I feel like a lot of us are seeing things more clearly. Taking better account of what really matters in life. Appreciating just how important seeing our friends really is, not just on a screen, but face to face. Hugs, oh my gods, I miss hugs. Want has made us appreciate a lot of things. It has made us think a little deeper too, finding some empathy. When was the last time you really thought about what it means for the server bringing you dinner to miss a few days of work? I’m woke AF and I never “really” gave it a thought. Things change when the stakes get upped. So, if there is a silver lining, maybe it is that we will come out of this with a better appreciation for all the good things we have. I hope that is the case.
Another silver lining is the things we have discovered while away from the world. I’ve spent a lot of time with my family, sitting, talking, sharing stories across generations. We have gotten a lot done around the farm. I’ve found time to work on projects with Liam that kept getting put off. For me, one of the real silver linings has been making these cocktails. Exploring flavors, learning new techniques, I can stir and shake and pour like a practiced amateur now. My friends at Corsair are gonna be so proud of me. I’m writing stuff again, even these little alcohol infused shouts into the storm are like exercises, stretching my wings, remembering what it was like to say the things I think. So, I’ve learned a lot, about me, mostly and as the Viscount du Valmont said, “Education is never a waste.”
Alright, enough pontificating, let’s get to mixing. This drink is weird. When I read it, I nearly didn’t even try to make it. These ingredients don’t work together, but it was so weird that I had to give it a shot, figuring that even a failure is better than moping. So grab your tins and pop in 1 1/2 ounces of rum, I used Havana Club Especial, cause I was curious about that bottle. Add 1/2 ounce of orange liqueur, a heavy 2/3 ounce of fresh squeezed lime juice and 1/2 ounce of honey simple syrup. Pop in some ice and give it a good shake. So, some of you astute readers noticed that we don’t have enough volume for a cocktail? Ok, strain the drink into your smaller tin and toss out the ice. Now add 1 ounce of Irish cream, I went with Five Farms from County Cork, and shake again with no ice. This is called a “dry shake” you do it to whip up a foam on a drink often, but this time it’s not only whipping the drink but it’s keeping the cream from curdling in that lime juice. After 20 seconds or so strain this all into a chilled coupe and garnish with some fresh rosemary and cracked black pepper. I know…I told you this one was weird.
Take a sip, you don’t have to look far to find the silver lining. This drink is wonderful. Kinda of an orange creamsicle sort of thing with a heavy vanilla rum base. Seriously, this drink is way better than it has any right to be. And maybe that should be the lesson. Yeah, things suck and there is no getting around that. We’ve got economic problems, far more frightening societal divides and we just passed a sobering milestone in lives lost and families suffering. But we move forward, we do our best and we try to be our best. To see each other, fellow humans, all struggling, sometimes in opposition because none of us know what to do, how to make it better. No matter what you believe or which team you root for remember, we are all struggling in our own way. We can be kind, we must be kind. Perhaps we will finally find a way to do that and that’s the ultimate silver lining. Stay safe, stay hydrated and stay sane, my friends.