We all knew it was coming. Well, a couple of thousand of my closest friends did, anyway. I should be in Rome this weekend, laughing with friends, eating at Jamwich every other meal, setting new records in their escape rooms, grabbing drink at The Forge and generally having a great time. We couldn’t get together for our long weekend of foolishness and adventure this year, but we’ve still got our memories. So, in honor of the fun we’ve had and the fun yet to come, won’t you join me now as we stand and make The Racketeer. 

That’s going to mean less than nothing to a lot of you, but last year at Going Caching in Rome, Georgia, I had the great honor of leading a couple of hundred ne’er do wells as Captain Crook of the goodship Racketeer, with the assistance of my first mate and “totally not a sidekick” Michael. We had a blast. An absolute blast. Leading parades, dancing in the streets, singing the odd sea shanty, you know, the usual. When I first discovered this drink on Wulf Cocktail Den, I knew I had to save it for the anniversary of the big event. So let’s make one for the memories. 

Grab a chilled mixing pitcher and toss in 1 ounce of rye, I went with James E. Pepper 1776; 1 ounce of mezcal, Illegal Mezcal was the obvious choice for a racketeer; 1/2 an ounce of sweet vermouth, 1/2 an ounce of Dom Benedictine, 1/4 ounce of green chartreuse and 3 stabs of Peychaud’s bitters. Set that to the side and grab the glass you are going to serve in, pour 1/4 ounce of a smoky scotch, I chose Laphroaig Quarter Cask, into the glass and swirl it around a bit. Once you’ve completed your smoky, scotchy rinse, add 4-5 artisanal ice cubes to your pitcher and stir the drink. I really wanted to use the Raconteurs “Steady as She Goes”, here, but when we are talking about the Racketeer, the only song that will do is “Tennessee Whiskey”. Yeah, I know there is not any Tennessee whiskey in the drink and that doesn’t matter a bit. As Jimmy Buffett would say, “You had to be there.” When things are well chilled and a bit diluted, about where the guitar solo and/or strip tease starts, strain into something pretty and garnish a couple of luxardo cherries and a skull on a pick. Maybe hang some pirate beads, straight from the Captains hair off the side. If you don’t have any custom beads, maybe you can talk my first mate’s mate Kim into making some for you. She likes coffee with pancakes, if you need a bribe. 

Well, damn. This drink is pretty good. It’s booze forward, which makes sense as it is all alcohol, all the time, in stereo. It is smooth though. Not as smooth as Tennessee Whiskey, or as sweet as strawberry wine, but it’s warmer than a glass of brandy and it’s got a kick that’ll keep you stoned, all the time. It is really nice though. Strong, in your face and smooth, yeah that sounds about right. 

I miss the hell out of not seeing everyone this year. The toughest part of “these uncertain times” is not seeing friends, not acting a fool and not living a little larger than life from time to time. Life has definitely felt smaller this year, but I think when things are better I’m going to appreciate the good times all the more. Hug a little harder, laugh a little longer, have a little more patience and savor the Jamwiches. You can only feel loss if you’ve had something good and we really have had some amazing times together. I miss it. Terribly. We will return though, bigger and better than ever and when we do, we will dance longer and sing louder, together, as it should be. Stay safe, stay hydrated and stay sane, y’all. That’s an order from your captain.