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.

This drink comes to us from New York’s Lani Kai and was created by Ivy Mix. It brings mezcal into the tiki genre and I love the juxtaposition of that smoky flavor with the tropical ingredients. It was an easy call for me…I mean, after hours and hours of research, consulting with the sages and prayers to the old gods, this recipe came to me in a vision. After all, picking a drink for Alicia’s birthday would never be as easy as finding a tiki drink that had mezcal in it. Blending an authentic tiki experience with tastes of the southwest would be like having a wonderful afternoon in a Texas Tiki Bar before moving to the taco joint next door. Who knows what could happen then? Well, I do. And Bob and Sally and Robert and Michael. They all know, oh and Jenn, she was not there, but she got the message; and what a message. This drink honors those 2 minutes and 17 seconds, when Alicia defended the honor of the great state of Texas, denigrated “stupid cheese bread things” and shared her thoughts on Jenn’s absence.

Grab your tins and pop in 1 ounce of Mezcal, I went with Illegal because it seemed like the right thing to do, 1 ounce of Jamaican rum, I went with Doctor Bird, because it is the new one I wanted to try and it is just so damned pretty. To that add 3/4 of an ounce of fresh squeezed lime juice, 1/2 an ounce of Cointreau, 1/2 an ounce of orgeat and 2 drops of Bittermen’s Tiki Bitters. Add ice and give it a shake to the tune of “Deep in the Heart of Texas”. Hell sing along and don’t forget to hit those shakes extra hard on the claps. Pour over pebble ice into something interesting, I went with a sweet vintage tiki glass all the way from Japan, by way of Trader Dick’s in Reno, garnish with flowers from the garden, some freshly slapped mint and serve with a side of attitude.

I love this drink. This checks all my boxes, maybe a bit sweet but that mezcal and rum combo is divine. If you like mezcal, this one is a must try. If you don’t like mezcal, try it anyway, expand your horizons. It’s gonna be better than some sort of ultra hoppy microbrew anyway and it has flowers on it. 

It’s funny but I actually met Alicia standing in line to get into Denver’s classic speakeasy, Williams and Graham. It wasn’t random, she came with Jenn and had a recommendation from Bret, so I was naturally concerned. We all shared drinks, appetizers and conversation and have been fast friends ever since. Even with that introduction, Alicia continues to be one of those rare, sturdy souls who actually chooses to be around Jenn and I both at the same time, which can be challenging. We do not get to see each other nearly enough, which may be due to the fact that every time I am in her town, she leaves or has to wash her hair or something, even though I usually eat dinner or lunch blocks from her house. To be fair, my last time through, she joined us at Kuma’s Corner. Once. Literally one time in so many years. Still I love her, Laura loves her and the boy…Liam absolutely adores her. It makes sense, the kid is a good judge of character, even if that character sometimes has purple hair and a penchant for expressing what we are all thinking. Love ya, amiga. Can’t wait to see you again and give you a big shout out in person. Have a great birthday, keep it between the lines, and, as always, stay safe, stay hydrated and stay sane, my friend.