Sometimes you get lucky and things just fall in to place. That happened to us last week as we made a quick stop on the road home from Atlanta for lunch and some cocktails to go. We got a great meal, some local ciders to bring home, a drink for later and I scored an ingredient I needed for this drink and a few others. So, in the spirit of things working out, won’t you please join me as we stand and make The Brooklyn.
One of the greatest difficulties we face today is a growing gap in cultural literacy. In addition to basic history, which we hope against hope will be covered in the kids curriculum, there are also thousands of fandoms, movies and music that a person needs to have at least a working knowledge of, in order to be a clever productive-ish member of society. Nobody told me that helping to educate the next generation would be so daunting. Just today I found myself explaining concepts I barely understand myself as the lad asked “What is a hollaback girl?” That shit was bananas, b-a-n-a-n-a-s. So, in the spirit of seeming clever by staying one step ahead of the class, won’t you join me now as we stand and make the Bananarac.
Truth is, I just felt like making a tiki drink. You ever just get that urge? It may not be for a tiki drink, it could be for a Kit-Kat or a smoke or some Persian poetry. Who knows where those impulses come from, where our desires live when they aren’t driving us. It is funny how you can go for weeks or months or years and never once think about quiche or scuba diving or the company of a friend from long ago, but once they cross your mind, they just seem to linger there, an inexplicable, but gnawing hunger to feel those things again. That’s where I find myself this evening, with an uninspired, yet insatiable want for something tiki. I had an unused glass and the ingredients, so I decided to indulge. In the spirit of nearly forgotten appetites, won’t you please join me now as we stand and make the modern tiki classic Lorikeet.
One of the cool things about this “Cocktails from Quarantine” journey has been the discovery of new ingredients and techniques. While I have no practical, real world way to use these new skills, unless someone is looking for a guest lecturer to teach their cocktail classes, I have really enjoyed expanding my horizons and trying new things. I was already digging on bitters and liqueurs, but over the past year, I have learned way more about the bitter amaros than I ever expected to. For the most part I did not like them. I understood the concepts and I got why other people enjoyed them, but they just weren’t my thing. It is kind of like wine, I often enjoy wine, but I don’t really understand it the way true aficionados do. I get why terroir matters, in all things, but I am lost when it comes to the nuts and bolts of pairings and why this grape brings that flavor. My early experiences with amaros were mostly centered around bartending buddies who all seem to eventually gravitate toward the bitter side of the table and delight in creating “handshake” drinks made to turn the tongues of unsuspecting dilettantes inside out. My own tentative steps into amaros have only served to show me the depths of my ignorance, but I am beginning to get it. There is something really lovely hiding just beyond the sorrow in the depths of bitterness. So, in the spirit of expanding our horizons, won’t you please join me as we stand and make the Braulio Sour.
I don’t generally follow the news of “royals” whether they are from Kansas City or the UK. I wish them both well, I just don’t get the fascination. I’m not knocking it, just saying it’s not my bag. That kind of luxe just ain’t for us, as the kids say. Apparently, there was some hullabaloo over an interview between Oprah, Meghan and the Harry formerly known as Prince. Some family business was addressed publicly, some feelings were hurt and the gods of ratings rejoiced. Honestly, I am only marginally aware of this because it seemed to dominate the morning news cycle, perhaps when I learn more, I shall care more deeply. Perhaps not. The point is, my choice of drink today has absolutely no bearing at all on this coincidence. I saw something that looked nice, I wanted to try it and I indulged my desires, with agency. So, in the spirit of going ahead and doing your own thing, even when circumstances conspire to make that unnecessarily confusing, won’t you join me now as we stand and make Her Majesty.
After a year of days running into each other, it seems like overkill to have this week of ice and snow. I already barely knew what month we were in and I awoke this morning to a grey, ashen sky over an endless sea of white to discover that it was Wednesday, and not just any Wednesday, but Ash Wednesday, which means I went right on through Mardi Gras without realizing it. To be fair, I should have known, mom had homemade King Cake at dinner Sunday, so I knew it was coming up, it just never really registered that it was upon us. I had planned to make a New Orleans classic, but that did not quite work out, so, won’t you please join me now as we stand and make the Coco Bitter.
Some days you just want something simple. No muss, no fuss, as they say. Asked what he wanted in life, a friend of my father’s once said, “What every man wants, a peaceful existence.” That sounds pretty good today. I checked the news and things seem nice and boring. Well not quite boring, there are some possibly earth-shattering things going on in the market as a bunch of folks use reddit to turn the tables on hedge fund managers, showing just how ridiculous it is that “short selling” is even legal while also exposing just how much more equal some animals are than others in the eye of US finance law. If there was ever a house of cards that could use a burning down, well they may have found it. Me, I’m feeling like a coffee, maybe some acoustic music from a band only the cool kids have heard of, enjoyed on an old overstuffed sofa, with good friends and maybe a little poetry. So, won’t you please join me for a quiet evening as we stand and make the Coffee House.
As Withnail’s uncle said, “Come on, lads, the sky’s beginning to bruise, night must fall, and we shall be forced to camp.” Why do I mention it? Not quite sure, myself, but there has to be something there in the first line to entice you to begin reading. Naturally, that should be followed with some sort of cohesive thought meant to grab your attention, perhaps a bit of a head fake to throw you off the scent of where this one is going. On the one hand, it should be obvious that whatever I’m talking about in the beginning should segue smoothly into me asking you to help in the creation of the drink, which I then reveal in the last line of the first paragraph. To be fair, it is usually done in a manner that is a bit strained, a nod to me trying to be a bit too clever, while just getting enough words in that I feel good about the opening since I rarely mention what I am really thinking till after the break and often not until the drink itself is made. So, with that in mind, won’t you please join me as we stand and make, The Full Monte.
Sartre said, “She believed in nothing. Only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist.” when talking about his grandma. Journey said, “Don’t stop believing.” talking about an unidentified small-town girl living in a lonely world. I figure the truth of the matter lies somewhere in between, after all you’ve got to believe in something even if that is nothing. But what do we do when our beliefs turn out to be wrong? It’s not our fault, we have all been lied to about lots of things for most of our lives, maybe we just picked a bad belief system or more likely had one assigned to us by our circumstances and surroundings. Could happen to anyone. Seriously, though, what do you do when you find out that the things you believe are simply not true? We have all been there. We have all had that moment of disappointment when we find that those truths we cling to are based on a flawed premise at best and an outright lie at worst. It is hard to not get discouraged when you find out you have been lied to. It’s also hard to not get angry, especially as you navigate a world that isn’t what you thought it was. Some would argue that it is easier to not believe in anything. They are wrong , of course, but they will argue it with you, endlessly. So, in honor of those who believe in nothing, allegedly, please join me as we stand and make the Nihilist Sour.
We made it to Christmas, but this is not the holiday we were expecting. I had planned a very different post today, but with the events of this morning, I just can’t. Life goes on and we are making a drink, but like so much in 2020, we are going to make some accommodations and not pretend for a moment that any of this is remotely normal. So in that spirit, please join me for this last of our The 12 Drinks of Christmas. Sing along at home, if you like, because, “For the twelfth drink of Christmas, Uncle Monkey made for me, Yule Love Amaro”.