Asimov said, “Education isn’t something you can finish.” In fact, he wrote a great deal on the subject and the ridiculous idea that formal education was a rite of passage and that once you have passed beyond it you should leave reading books, having ideas and asking questions behind with other childish things. When I found myself with a surplus of experimental smoky scotch and banana based tiki drinks, rather than laying them aside, I opted to delve a little deeper into this bit of nearly forgotten lore. So, in that spirit of continuing education, won’t you join me now as we stand and make, The Banana Stand.
Last night, I got a video call from a dear friend who I had not spoken with in far too long. We caught up on the events of this crazily uneventful year. We marveled at how the kids and grandkids, in her case, have grown. We laughed about past adventures around the world, and began to plan, tentatively and optimistically, for the trips to come. It was a really nice surprise and made the whole family happy to get to see each other and chat and feel kinda normal for a little while. So, in the spirit of those old friends who keep you sane, won’t you join me as we stand and make, the Wildest Redhead.
It is winter. Not the picture postcard, Currier & Ives variety, but the honest to goodness, dark, dreary snow on top of the mud, howling wind and early darkness kind. A time of year that makes you want to stay indoors. A time for quiet reflection by the fire, which often leads to thoughts of mortality. Somehow, that specter seems a little closer when the winds blow outside, icy fingers reaching through the cracks and all. Those of you who live in modern houses may not get that, but in our old farmhouse, you can always feel a bit of a draft when the cold winds blow. So, we are making a hot cocktail to try to warm things up a bit, even if the mood is darker than usual. Won’t you please join me now as we stand and make, Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night.
Luck is a funny thing. When it shines on you, nothing can stop your efforts, when it turns away, even the simplest plans fall to ruin. I’ve always been a contrarian when it comes to the traditions here. 13 is my lucky number and I have a certain fondness for black cats, which makes today’s final thirteenth drink of Halloween so fitting. Won’t you please join me now as we stand and make a tribute to the tiki classic, Black Magic.
Call it kismet. Sometimes, the drink sneaks up on you. Well, to be fair, often drinks will sneak up on you if you forget your moderation in your other suit, but in this case it was one that just showed up out of nowhere. Seriously, I had never heard of this drink, but there it was in a sponsored post. Please join me now, as we stand and make the classic Lion’s Tail.
Oscar Wilde said, “Experience is simply the name we give our mistakes.” That may be true, he was a clever fellow who said lots of witty but true things, so we will give him the benefit of the doubt on this one. Experience is also about managing expectations. Sure, we all want to experiment and try new things, but we use our experiences to guide that exploration. For good or for ill, the things we have done help decide what we will do next. That’s a big part of why we learn or, more accurately, why we keep learning. One of the most interesting things about these last few months of daily cocktails, is how much I have learned along the way. Sometimes, it is a new technique or flavor or tool that I discover. There has been a cumulative effect that is way cooler than any eureka moment. My approach to drink making has evolved as I have learned more. I choose different tools now, as I upgrade from my basic kit, to things that fit me and my style better. Which couldn’t happen early on, because I did not have a style. I have noticed that my shaking style now is far different than it was when I started taking classes at Corsair, my pours are different, my attention to detail much more clear. This did not happen overnight and I am still learning and continuing to evolve, but I can see a real difference. That difference is experience and as we learned way back at the beginning of the paragraph, we get experience by making mistakes and I have made a lot of them. I am going to continue making mistakes, that is important. My grandpa always said that the only people who don’t make any mistakes are the ones who don’t do anything, so in that spirit I ask that you, please, join me once again as we stand and make the Donna Maria.
You know what day it is! You know what time it is! You could’ve been anywhere in the world, but you are right here, on your couch watching the premiere of Hamilton. In honor of this auspicious occasion I typed Hamilton cocktail into google and this is what they sent back. So join me as we stand and make My Shot: An Alexander Hamilton Cocktail.
In case you thought I was doing all this alone, I’m not. Like most things, ok everything, I have ever done in my life, these daily cocktail posts are only possible because I have an incredible amount of help and support. Sometimes, it is Liam offering to shake the tins for me, sometimes it is Laura picking up alcohol or making syrups and suggestions. Other times it is my mom or grandma loaning glassware, my brother or dad offering “constructive” criticism, or you, gentle readers, suggesting cocktails. The thing is, without buy in from family and friends this would have been a really short trip. So tonight’s cocktail comes at the request, nay demand of my long suffering wife, my numero uno partner in crime who not only wanted to try, but put in the leg work to bring you the Navy Grog.