Here we are, the lilac is blooming in the backyard once more and I am standing in my kitchen making a drink. A lot has changed since this time last year when I poured the first of what would become our daily cocktail from quarantine. In those days you were lucky to get a full paragraph detailing how to make the daily drink, delivered Joe Friday style. I know more and I tend to say more now. It took me awhile to discover that it wasn’t about the drink, it was about the ritual and finding a space for my voice, whenever I had something to say. So, in honor of those lessons learned and so many words along the way, won’t you join me now as we make the White Negroni Piña Colada.
You win some. You lose some. Some get rained out. This is the way of life, in three simple, easy to swallow sentences. What it doesn’t tell you is how to deal with things depending on the vagaries of fate and weather. Today, it rained. I couldn’t do anything about that. I could, however, control my response, so I walked on in the storm with my head held high and when I got home I dried off and made a drink. In the spirit of not letting your conditions control your attitude, won’t you please join me now, as we stand and make the El Coronel.
Today marks one year of official pandemic life. It is hard to believe. In some ways it feels like it has been forever since we lived “normal” lives, on the other hand it feels like just a few weeks ago when we were freaking out trying to find masks, hand sanitizer and toilet paper. It is amazing how much life has changed in the last 365 days. How much more we know about the disease that changed all of our lives. How much we have lost over that time, how many friends and family members are no longer with us. How much we have gained in appreciation of each other and the things that really matter in life. How much we have learned in how to be self sufficient or maybe I should say pod sufficient. I know that my zombie apocalypse team requirements and expectations of who would make it have changed significantly. It has been quite a journey and now we can finally see a safe harbor on the horizon, if we can just stay the course a little longer. This is the toughest part, holding on when every part of your fiber longs to be with friends again. When that temptation calls out to you from the shore, beckoning you to come visit, after all you deserve a break, right? So, in the spirit of doing the hard things, especially when you don’t want to, won’t you join me now as we stand and make the Song of the Siren.
It is funny just how much of life hangs on split second decisions. The ones’s that don’t seem to matter at the moment, you just take a chance and suddenly you are on a different road. You turn left instead of right and end up in an unexpected place, you hold the door for someone and share a smile or you decide to fill out an application, you speak up in a meeting or take the time to fix something you see that is wrong. Most of the big changes in my life can be traced back to something that seemed inconsequential at the time. We all know the big ones, deciding which college to attend, though, to be fair, in my case that was a snap decision made in a moment of frustration, that seems to have turned out ok, but if I look back, that decision was only made possible by a much earlier decision to sit back in a chair, light a cigarette and tell the truth to someone who cared enough to let me. So, in honor of those low probability, high impact events that shaped us, won’t you join me as we stand and make, The Wild Card.
We still have snow. Lots of it. We still had hours. Lots of them. So, we walked, in the snow. We kayaked down the hill, in the snow. We got the mail, in the snow. We built a set of shelves to hold our abundance of cocktail glasses, in the, well, that was in the basement, but we had to trudge through the snow to the barn to get the lumber and then through the snow back to the basement to work. When afternoon came, we cleaned the snow off the car and went to the store, leaving the property for the first time since Sunday, in the snow. To be fair, there was a lot of sun as well, luckily I was wearing shades, pretty sure the dog went snowblind, though. It is what it is, as they say. Might as well have a drink, so in honor of our newly northern existence, won’t you please join me as we stand and make the Spruce Moose.
I am feeling a bit contrarian and stubborn this evening. I don’t know why, it just happens sometimes. They are calling for an ice storm later, but it’s been warm all day, so I want a treat. I figure I deserve it. I mean I got through the day. I didn’t have a treat yesterday or the day before. Honestly, I am not sure if I have been good enough to deserve a treat, but I am having one anyway. So in the spirt of delayed pleasure and finally getting something sweet, won’t you please join me now as we stand and make La Vida Nola.
I said I wasn’t going to do themes, but here we are with our third Ferris Bueller’s Day Off inspired drink in a row. This was not my plan, but the kid really enjoyed the movie and it inspired a bunch more conversation about all kinds of things. One of our realizations is that somehow he has never been to Chicago, which is weird considering how much time I have spent there and the fact that we announced his impending arrival from the Windy City. He was also very curious about the cars in the movie. We do a lot of car stuff together so that made sense. When he asked me about that cool looking car in the movie, I immediately launched into why the ‘61 Ferrari 250 California GT was important only to have him stop me. “Not the Ferrari, I know about that, what was that cool car his sister drove?” So, in honor of Jeannie Bueller’s sweet ride, won’t you please join me now as we stand and make the El Fiero.
What the actual fuck, y’all? This is not fine. It seems kinda silly to make a drink, even though I feel we may need it more than we ever have. The funny thing is, I have known what drink I was going to make tonight, for a while. I assumed that today would be kinda crazy and full of grandstanding politicians, but who could imagine this horrible result? So, please join me as we stand and make the Scorched Earth.
Lagniappe is a French term that means “a little extra”, that little something that you weren’t expecting. Today a friend shared a little lagniappe with me. A couple of actual months ago, or three relative years in pandemic perception time, I discovered “sal de chapulin” or “grasshopper salt” and its relationship with mezcal. I shared some with a friend who’s family is from Oaxaca to test the quality. I have zero experience in ground grasshoppers mixed with salt and citrus, so she served as my guide. Well, today, she continued my education by bringing me a sackful of chapulins. A whole little bag of grasshoppers salted and covered in citrus and spices. Turns out they are super tasty, but all that salt makes a fella thirsty and makes him think about that delightfully smoky, Oaxacan mezcal. So, won’t you join me now as we stand and make the Mezcalita.
We are going to have some fun with our seventh entry of The Thirteen Drinks of Halloween. Think of this as an “after dinner” drink because it’s on the sweet side. Let’s be honest you can’t even see the dry side from where this drink stands, but what would Halloween be without some tricks and treats? So, please join me now as we stand and make The Eternal Kiss.