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.
Anyone else feeling a little lazy today? Maybe a bit tired of it all? Or, perhaps, overstimulated by the unending barrage of noise and trauma from all sides? There seems to be this sense of foreboding hanging over us. A collective state of “What next?” To be fair, there is a lot going on out there today. No matter what your poison, there is something for you. Want natural disasters? We’ve got hellish wildfires, tropical depressions in the gulf, snowstorms out west and if you’d prefer wildlife there’s a tiger loose in Knoxville. Political intrigue more your thing? How about voter suppression, interference from foreign powers in our election, nearly five hundred bills still stalled in the Senate, whistleblowers exposing DHS malfeasance, or a president who totally did not say those things he is on tape saying during interviews where he agreed to be recorded. Oh, you prefer social unrest? We’ve got protests over police brutality, we’ve got riots that devolve into looting being crashed by extremists looking for an opportunity to use deadly force to defend other peoples property, we’ve got fans booing at the first NFL game because the teams stood together with their arms linked in a moment of silence. That just barely scratches the surface of today’s news and all of this against the backdrop of a global pandemic with over 192,000 deaths in the US and nearly 1,000,000 deaths worldwide. So I’d say we deserve a drink here on the 19th anniversary of 9-11, a day when we are reminded not only of the terrible events, but of the unity that followed them. A unity that seems more like a dream now of a forgotten America than something we actually lived through and experienced. So, yes, I think a drink is in order. Won’t you please join me now as we stand and make, the Donn Day Afternoon.
Remember Schoolhouse Rock? This drink is an absolute melting pot. A couple of things that pair naturally plus a couple that shouldn’t work at all but it comes together to make something unexpected and great; just like in Lady Liberty’s recipe. Won’t you join me now as we stand and make the Artichoke Hold.
Some days things just come together and it all works out, through no fault of your own. The right ingredients, meet the right glass and with a little inspiration, magic happens. A lot of folks would say that the time you spent learning made it possible, but I know the truth, magic happens. Things work out in spite of anything you may have done. My dad would say “it’s better to be lucky than smart, cause you aren’t always gonna be smart enough, but you can be lucky enough.” He’s right, you just have to learn to not count on the luck, you can hope for it, but when it becomes a central part of your plans, you get to meet Lord Hubris and his partner Lady Karma. So, with a modicum of preparation and a great deal of luck, I ask you to join me now as we stand and make, the Cable Car.
Three years ago today, we were chilling in Havana, celebrating my buddy Michael’s birthday. It was an amazing trip. Finally getting to visit that forbidden paradise, seeing the beautiful city, meeting new friends, cruising in classic convertibles and sampling all the rums, Hemingway style. As the hot August sun beat down on us, we made our way to La Bodeguita del Medio, where today’s drink was born. So, please join me now as we stand and make, the Mojito.
As the bands of Hurricane Laura pass over us bringing winds and warm downpours, I think back to all of the storms we have ridden out over the years. Growing up in Florida you kind of get used to them. I remember the evolution from being terrified and covering windows at the first sign of a storm to blithely laughing off anything under a Category 3. It’s amazing what you can become accustomed to. Let’s have a drink and think about that. Please, join me now, as we stand and make The Hurricane.
I am straight up tired y’all. I mean I want to do this drink justice, I want to rail against the dying of the light, but it’s been a seriously long day and my bed is calling. So, let’s skip the foreplay and jump straight into this one. I’ll make it up to you later, promise. Join me now as we stand and make the Tuaca na nÓg.
I had to buy it, how could I not? I had never even heard of Deadhead Rum, but it wasn’t terribly expensive and it came in a shrunken monkey head. It turned out to be decent stuff, not that I have used it much. I poured a bunch for folks a couple of years ago at Bash, but then the bottle came home to gather dust. A couple of weeks ago I ran across a recipe that called for it, so here we are. Won’t you join me now, as we stand and make the Sun-Kissed Simian.
Last week Laura infused some amazing Banana Liqueur. I even made a label for her fancy bottle and everything, so it made perfect sense to make a banana based drink today. That was the plan. That’s not quite what happened and honestly, I only have myself to blame, but we will get into that after the jump. If you would please join me now as we stand and make the Banana Farmer.
I had today all planned out. I had bananas I need to use, a hankering for something chilled, some new rum I wanted to try, an impassioned rant about the present state of local school systems and what you are not hearing about on the news, but then I had to throw it all out. Why? Well, it is all Alicia’s fault. She decided she had to be born today, well today, some indeterminate number of years ago, probably in Texas. I am not even sure how long ago she arrived on the scene. I mean it is easy to love her as a friend and supremely decent human, but do I have to respect her as an elder? Chalk up her excesses to youthful exuberance? I do not even know. It is all very confusing for me and, par for the course, now that she’s involved in the day things are getting complicated, but infinitely more interesting. So, let’s make a drink for her, something I can reasonably justify as being chosen especially for her on her special day, as one does. Won’t you join me now as we stand and make, the Tia Mia.