Today is brain scan day which I will celebrate in the traditional manner, lying very still on the cold table and keeping my eyes closed, as one does. You may have noted that I have mentioned having a headache a few times in the last month or so. You also may not have noted it. I don’t expect folks to read closely, after all there is no test at the end of the course. Not to worry, gentle reader, you will be graded according to the capricious whims of fortune and the insight of your benevolent instructor. Do not fear this fate, it frees you to focus on learning what you wish, taking some lessons and leaving others without fear of reprimand. Not being in control of things can be comforting, if you lean into it and just accept that some things are not going to make sense or be just. To be fair, my attitude is probably affected by my attempt to maintain a zen-like calm as they take a routine look under the hood to make sure that there is nothing more sinister going on in this already not quite normal collections of impulses that serves as my brain. So, in that spirit, won’t you join me as we stand and make the traditional drink of brain scan day, the Menta Wray.

This one comes to us from Jenner Cormier, Williston Irvine and Cooper Tardivel of Bar Kismet in Halifax, way up in Nova Scotia, by way of Imbibe Magazine. On the surface this is a riff on an Old Jamaican Highball. It’s definitely got an island feel, but not the kind I would expect from Nova Scotia, which I realize is not an island, but a peninsula with a metric ton of coastline, so I feel they get the whole island vibe, in cold weather gear, admittedly. Anyway, this one would be just as at home in Ocho Rios as it, presumably, is in its windswept and frozen birthplace. It is a fairly simple shopping list, but I am betting on a seriously complex flavor from those few ingredients.

This is a built drink so grab a Collins glass and pop in 3/4 of an ounce of Overproof Rum, I went with Wray & Nephew, naturally; 3/4 of an ounce of the wonderfully herbal and minty Branca Menta, 1/2 an ounce of fresh squeezed lime juice, 2-3 dashes of 18-21 Havana & Hide Bitters. Add ice and give that a good stir to the beat of Thomas Dolby’s, “My Brain is Like a Sieve” off his “Aliens Ate My Buick” album. It’s got a good reggae beat perfect for stirring and has some of the best cover art, ever. When you feel the drink is blended, top it with 3-4 ounces of grapefruit soda, my preference would have been Ting, but my pantry had Squirt, so that’s where we ended up. Garnish with a lime wedge and pop in one of those cool reusable glass bamboo straws from Surfside Sips.

This drink is lovely. Seriously lovely. Complex, but nicely balanced, everything just works. That herbal minty Branca Menta thing opens right up and then tucks into the overproof rum with the lime and grapefruit bringing it all together. I built this one to recipe, but I think next time I will pop it in a tiki mug and do it over crushed ice with a mint crown, because it has a definite tiki vibe going on, in the best possible way.

It is strange going for any sort of treatment or procedure during the time of Covid. While you wait for the medical wonder machine to take a polaroid of your thinkmeat, you get to feel the usual creeping worry. I mean they decided they to take a look at your brain, which seems like a thing that one does not do casually. I understand that in our great modern future that the Doc might just really enjoy looking at the pictures or perhaps he heard stories of my vaunted thinkabilities and wanted to see if there was something special about my apparatus Most likely, they saw that my insurance would pay a lot for the shots, so they decided to take some for their portfolio. Still, one can’t help but slip out of the zenstream a little bit while lying on the cold table, head in a sling. That would be a bit worrying under the best of circumstances, however, thanks to “these unprecedented times” you get the added anxiety of wondering if the woman coughing in the corner of the waiting room was here for a Covid test or if  she is just suffering from one of the standard winter sicknesses we all know and love. I hear that the added paranoia is part of the fun of a pandemic, of course, your mileage may vary.

The good news is the technician did not seem to have any difficulty finding my brain, proving at least one former professor wrong. Extensive testing back in the spring confirmed that I have a reasonably functional heart and now there is evidence of a brain, a very mediocre commodity, indeed. So, it looks like I am just a bit of courage away from the Wizard’s Trifecta for 2020. Something to look forward to, I suppose. Y’all stay safe, stay hydrated and stay sane, my friends.