I bought this mug for the wife way back in September, when he was still just “the child” or Baby Yoda, set adrift among the stars with the Mandalorian. I had planned on making a drink in it for her birthday, but things change as they so often do. This little fella languished in a box for a while, not forgotten, but not getting any love either, even after he revealed himself as Grogu. Last week, during the Snowpocalypse my son and I built new shelves to showcase our cocktail glass collection, with a special area for the tiki mugs and this guy took center stage. Even since, he will not stop subtly reminding us that he still has not had his moment in the twin suns and that he sort of needs that. He’s got abandonment issues. So, in honor of late bloomers everywhere, won’t you please join me now as we stand and make The Castaway.
It is Valentine’s Day, which seems like the perfect opportunity to make a nice sweet drink with some depth and complexity then follow it up with an even sweeter story of incredible depth and levels of complex beauty only dreamt of by mortal man. I could do that. Sondheim would have us believe the “opportunity is not a lengthy visitor” that can be missed before you even realize it has arrived. Of course, he would take at least an hour and a half before revealing that wisdom just after intermission. So, in the spirit of cutting to the chase and not beating around the bush, won’t you please join me now as we stand and make the P.S. I Love You.
Cocktails don’t have to be complicated. They often are and I dearly love something with lots of ingredients and techniques, but there is a lot to be said for simplicity. Simple drinks are often even more challenging to build correctly than the complicated ones. When you have lots of ingredients, some of the details may get lost, but when you only have three components, a heavy hand with one of them or poor quality in another will reveal itself immediately. I was looking for something light and easy on the palate this evening, so I took a nod to one of my wife’s favorite spirits to make a riff on one of the early cocktails. Won’t you please join me now as we stand and make the Amaretto Fizz.
One could argue that it is a historic day, as the second impeachment trial of the former president begins in the Capitol. You’d be right, of course. While that is certainly interesting, I don’t much care. I mean, I care more than many of the Senators present do, but not enough to dig into it, when there is something much more serious happening today. This is National Pizza Day. Admittedly, I do not hold with these manufactured holidays, possibly because I have been involved in helping to craft a few of them on the state and local level and I know their value. However, pizza. Yes, that is the crux of my entire defense. A defense at least as valid and stated far more succinctly than any other I have heard today. So, in the spirit of symbolic gestures full of sound and fury ultimately meaning nothing, well, nothing more than a full tummy, I invite you, honored members of the audience to join me now as we stand and make, The Godfather.
It was a clear day, we were on the playground, playing handball or lounging under the shelter. We had the option of watching in Mrs. Cerniglia’s room, but a bunch of us would rather be outside, besides you could always see the smoke trail going up, which was cooler than watching on TV anyway. The launches had become fairly mundane, the only reason this one was being played in a classroom was because our teacher had been involved in the program, and had a vested interest. Not us though, we were outside in our Guess jeans and Swatches, listening to Mr. Mister cassettes on the Walkman. Looking off to the north we saw the smoke trailing into the sky and then it stopped, expanded, almost like a bloom opening, at that distance. We did not get it, and went back to gossiping about who liked who and whether Dave and Maddie were finally gonna do it. A bell rang and the loudspeaker instructed us to make our way to the cafetornasium, for a special assembly, where we learned that the bloom we had seen, was the Space Shuttle Challenger being lost. In the spirit of those who went before us, won’t you please join me, as we stand and make the Explorer Martini.
Sometimes you just want to take a break, maybe slip off into dream and awaken after all of the excitement is over. I get that. In years gone by, depression and/or chemistry has helped me nap my way through uncertain times. I don’t miss that, but honestly, I could do with a little less uncertainty. Wouldn’t that be cool? Remember those days when things like the peaceful transfer of power were boring events that most people did not even bother to watch? Seriously, when was the last time, well since Reconstruction, that people waited with bated breath for the certification of the electoral college vote? We need less reality tv manufactured drama before the commercial break and more boring adults doing boring adult things. Or at least, I do. I am tired of this lack of a cohesive narrative that is so crazy that people are deep diving into conspiracy theories just grasping for straws to try to make sense of it all. I guess we shall see if we come together and work on that better world everyone says they want or if we continue to devolve into more of that old time division. So, in the spirit of just wanting to wake up when it is all over, won’t you please join me now as we stand and make the Sedation.
It is about more than giving and getting presents or spending time with the one’s we love. It is about more than street corner Santa’s or the spirit of charity in the air. In many ways, for me, it is about the smallest things. A single lit tree in the yard of the same house I have driven by for the last twenty years. That tree was decorated by someone I have never met, in front of a house I have never visited, but it always makes me smile the first time I drive by and see the lights are there once again. How many of the things we love, those signs of the season that mean it is Christmas, are done each year by strangers? How many of our own decorations or rituals signal that same thing to people we have never met? Like Clarence said, each of us affects so many others, without ever realizing it. It gives one pause. So in that spirit, please join me for the fourth of The 12 Drinks of Christmas. Sing along at home, if you like, because, “For the fourth drink of Christmas, Uncle Monkey made for me, a Peruvian Christmas”.
I was looking for something smooth. Something that goes down easy. So, it makes perfect sense that I chose a drink that shares it’s name with a knife, sexy heels, a Marvel villain famed for his use of the blade and a rebadged Hillman Imp. Of course, one of these things is not like the others, because no one has ever, in the history of the world called the Imp, or perhaps any Hillman automobile, “sharp”. So, while looking for something smooth, I chose the sharp drink. Sounds like something I would do, let’s see how it turned out. Won’t you please join me now, as we stand and make, The Stiletto.
We are going back to the basics today. There is a reason classics are classics. It’s like a blue blazer, oxford cloth shirt and khakis, it is never the height of fashion, but it is never really out of style. It is easy to overlook them. I know I am guilty of that. I see something shiny and suddenly I am down a rabbit hole of liqueurs I had never heard of a year ago and bitters crafted my monks atop a mystical mountain using techniques whispered to them by the raven when the world was young. Not today though, today I am making one that your grandpa might have ordered as he bellied up to the bar in his seersucker suit and straw boater. So, won’t you please join me now as we stand and make the Amaretto Sour.