“If you haven’t been there, you don’t know.” I have heard that a lot in my life and it is true. There are all kinds of experiences that I cannot even begin to understand. I know what it’s like to be me, and that’s about as far as it goes. I read lots from diverse sources, and I suppose that helps. Travel makes a huge difference, it is easier to see the other when you have been the other. I think the most important thing is I want to understand, or at least appreciate, other perspectives. There is an awful lot to be said for making the effort. So, in the spirit of trying to feel what the other fella does, won’t you join me now as we stand and make, The Corsican.

I don’t know a lot about Corsica. I’ve never been there, though I have seen it out the plane window when crossing the Mediterranean. It appears to be a lovely island, famous for its beaches, twins and 4 door Beretta’s, allegedly. This drink was created at Honor Kitchen & Cocktails just north of Oakland in Emeryville. Bar manager, Alex Smith, says that it is their most popular cocktail, by far. I have heard this one referred to as “a sort of Manhattan that got lost in the Caribbean”, which is reason enough for us to give it a try.

Grab your mixing pitcher and pop in 1 ounce of Bourbon, I chose Four Roses; 1 ounce of aged rum, I went with Cruzan, 1/2 an ounce of Velvet’s Falernum, 1/2 an ounce of sweet vermouth and 3 stabs of Regan’s Orange Bitters. Add ice and give it a good stir to the beat of Elvis Costello singing, “(What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace Love and Understanding“. When well chilled, strain into a coupe and garnish with an expressed orange peel.

It’s certainly booze forward. I mean, that makes sense, every ingredient is alcohol. It is well balanced though, it doesn’t kick you in the face or anything. It’s got a nice, hard to place thing going on. I think it is the falernum that makes this one work. On paper I get that this is a descendant of the Manhattan, but it does not feel that way going down. I do think this one might be nicer in a rocks glass over a big cube. I liked the drink, but I wanted more dilution and it really felt more like a rocks drink than straight up.

I was able to get away from our champagne theme, but I was not able to escape the 80’s. The first thing I thought of when I saw this drink, was that I would have to acquire a twin brother to let me now how it tasted. I could pretend to be more cultured than I am and talk about how this one took me back to times in the garden reading Alexandré Dumas’ classic novella about twin brothers separated at birth, but connected in such a way that each felt what the other was experiencing. That would be cool, but like a lot of you, I was actually introduced to this story and concept by Cheech & Chong in their comedy, “The Corsican Brothers“. It’s the same basic principle, only in their “classic” style. The theme continued when Hasbro introduced the “psychically connected” twin brothers, Tomax and Xamot as leaders of Cobra’s Crimson Guard on G.I. Joe. This was well after the series had jumped the shark and a squid and even Fonzie. So, now you know…and knowing is half the battle.

That concept of feeling the pain that someone else was experiencing always intrigued me. On some level that is taking empathy to its illogical extreme. It is one thing to understand that pain, but to actually experience it is quite another. Of course, the dark flip side of that coin intrigued me even more. How difficult would it be to live knowing that your mistakes were always going to be paid for by your brother, even with the best of intentions. What would you be capable of if you felt no pain? What horrors could you inflict when cut off from feeling the repercussions?

I’ve been thinking about that a lot. What it means when folks are able to make decisions that don’t really affect them, but are paid for by others. Empathy is important and it sure does seem to be lacking lately in our “ends justify the means” environment. Seems like a lot of folks have forgotten what it is like to need some help. It doesn’t really make sense to me, but this seems especially true of people who have had a lot of help along the way. Folks who have worked their way up, with help from friends, family and, to a certain extent, society, who now seem to be working extra hard to make sure that path is closed to others. I don’t get it, cause these are mostly decent folks who would give the shirt off their backs to help people they know, but who seem very afraid that folks they don’t know might get some break that they did not.

It’s important to not do anything to someone else that you would not want done to you. Pretty sure that most of the religions have their own version of this and it seems like a sizable portion of the “do unto others” crowd keep forgetting the second half of the line. Pro-tip, it is not “before they can do unto you”. As that guy from Nazareth once said, “whatsoever you do to the least of your brothers and sisters, you do unto me,” so, have some empathy and some taste. I’m gonna do my best to be consistent and remind y’all that there is no them, only us; and we are all in this together. So, stay safe, stay hydrated and stay sane, my friends.