First things first, this drink is not particularly good. It is not terrible, but it just isn’t anything special. What is worse is I kind of threw it together. It has been a shit day and it’s raining and I don’t even want a drink, but we don’t always get what we want and even when things suck and you aren’t sure how you are going to go on or if you even want to, there is still the work to be done. So, lose sight of your troubles for a moment as we stand and make, The Bishop.
We are doing the classic version of this drink, rather than the modern one, because it is more interesting and has rum. I specifically chose this drink because it is easy to make with very little prep or cleanup and when you don’t really care what you are drinking anyway, you might as well try something new and a little weird. I discovered this one at the same time as the Red Queen, a wine based cocktail that could have fallen out of a deck of playing cards or some European monarchical system, I am not sure which. Actually, this one is from the 1935 printing of “The Old Waldorf-Astoria Bar Book”, so it must be fancy. I suppose we shall see. Let’s get the making it out of the way and see where things go from there.
Grab your tins and pop in 3 ounces of rum, I went with Appleton Estate, because it was literally the first rum my hand fell on in the rum section; 1 ounce of red wine, Winking Owl Red California because knowing that I could just squeeze wine from the box was what inspired me to make this one anyway; 1/4 ounce of simple syrup and 3/4 ounce of fresh lime juice and you are ready to shake over ice. Give it a good shake to the beat of Dylan’s “A Hard Rain’s a-Gonna Fall“ and double strain into a wine glass. Garnish with a lime wheel and serve.
It’s good enough, kinda sangria-y like all these wine based things tend to be. Not bad, just nothing special, a meh drink for a meh mood. You have read the words and can tell I am phoning it in. Hell, look at the picture. I didn’t bother to wipe down the glass and that lime is terrible, did I seriously grab the worst dried up lime in the basket to make that wheel from? The generations of folks who served the Bishop from behind the bar at the Waldorf-Astoria are staring at me with disdain and judgement, and I deserve it.
That’s how it goes some days, you start with the best of intentions, but things just don’t work out. When the world shakes you from your slumber and makes you feel things, sometimes you just have to do what you can. Get up, put one foot in front of the other, go through the motions, while you try to figure out how to process things. We are always told you should do your best, but sometimes, it is more important that you just do. Just make the thing, just do the work, just write some words down, go through the process, be on autopilot for a bit, tread water and think about how to take the next step and the one after that. You never know what life holds in store for you, what may happen tomorrow, but you can always see yesterday, with that crystal clear 20/20 hindsight. Ironic how everything always seems so obvious in retrospect. How many opportunities to be better you missed, mostly because you were focused on something besides the things that really matter, or so scattered from all the things bombarding you that you missed the signs.
I am reminded of a quote from Travis McGee that I always loved, because it is so true. “Every day, no matter how you fight it, you learn a little more about yourself, and all most of it does is teach humility.” This is a learning day and those are never fun. The other quote that keeps running through my mind today is from Maya Angelou, when she said, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” I’ve got to be better at that. I have a bad habit of not letting people know just how much they mean to me, of taking for granted that the folks who are strong, the ones I count on, are always gonna be strong and be there. I get so wrapped up in my part of the puzzle that sometimes I forget to step back and see the whole design. I know that I am nothing without my friends and family, that I am a part of something, that this incredible web of people is all that makes life worth living. I am going to have to get better at making sure everyone in that web knows how much they mean to me and how I value them.
Take a look around, see the folks you truly count on, the oaks in the forest of your life. Those people you know you can look to for strength, the ones who always get things done, you know the ones. Reach out to them. Recognize that their strength doesn’t always come easy and that they need support too, perhaps more than most of us because they have so many people counting on them. Make sure they feel the love and support that is in your heart. It doesn’t sound like much, but sometimes, it is the whole world. I’m going to try to be better, I hope you can too. Stay safe, stay hydrated and stay sane, my friends.