Here we are, the lilac is blooming in the backyard once more and I am standing in my kitchen making a drink. A lot has changed since this time last year when I poured the first of what would become our daily cocktail from quarantine. In those days you were lucky to get a full paragraph detailing how to make the daily drink, delivered Joe Friday style. I know more and I tend to say more now. It took me awhile to discover that it wasn’t about the drink, it was about the ritual and finding a space for my voice, whenever I had something to say. So, in honor of those lessons learned and so many words along the way, won’t you join me now as we make the White Negroni Piña Colada.
Yeah, there is a lot going on here. It’s not really a White Negroni and not really a Piña Colada, but I am hoping that there is some magic happening in this Chris Amirault created amalgam from Parm Boyz in LA. This drink was created to pair with the menu from their twice monthly Italian American comfort food pop-up. They dubbed it an “apertiki” and history was made, allegedly. We will have to see if the bitter can balance the sweet in this one.
Grab your tins and pop in 1 ounce of Mezcal, I chose Del Maguey Vida; 1/2 an ounce of Suze, that lovely bitter Gentian liqueur; 1/2 an ounce of coconut rum, I went with Rumhaven; 1/2 an ounce of fresh squeezed lemon juice, 3/4 of an ounce of pineapple juice and 1/4 ounce of simple syrup. Add ice and give it a good shake to “Party Up” in honor of DMX, who passed today at the age of 50, along with Prince Phillip who got nearly twice as many years. When well chilled, double strain over some artisanal ice cubes in a rocks glass, top with a bunch of stabs of angostura bitters to get a lovely ango float and garnish with some pineapple fronds and that wonderfully aromatic lilac from the backyard.
This is a lovely mash-up of two wildly different drinks. The mezcal is an inspired choice to give this one a nice earthy, smoky base to launch from, with all that sweet pineapple and coconut rum balanced by the sweet beginning and supremely bitter finish of the Suze. There is a lot going on here, but it works. More than that I can see how this would really work with a big plate of pasta or lasagna. It has a light and airy sort of feel that would balance all those carbs nicely and that bitter finish is divine. A damned fine drink al the way around.
It’s funny. A year later, it is still all about the ritual. Laying out the ingredients and the tools. Choosing the glass and the garnish. Wiping down the counter, making sure there aren’t any spots on the glassware. It is funny how much I look forward to this quiet moment of the afternoon when I get to go and practice my craft, such as it is. Well, I usually look forward to it, some days the writing is a chore that I just have to get through, but making the drink, that’s a quiet moment of heaven. Of course, doing the whole job is sometimes challenging. That’s life and it’s own kind of ritual. It is good to have things to look forward to and it is good to hold yourself to some sort of a routine, when that is convenient. If nothing else, I get the reward of a job well done and a lovely drink, of course. We should all be so lucky. Stay safe, stay hydrated and stay sane. my friends.