The 12 Drinks of Christmas – Twelfth Drink

We made it to Christmas, but this is not the holiday we were expecting. I had planned a very different post today, but with the events of this morning, I just can’t. Life goes on and we are making a drink, but like so much in 2020, we are going to make some accommodations and not pretend for a moment that any of this is remotely normal. So in that spirit, please join me for this last of our The 12 Drinks of Christmas. Sing along at home, if you like, because, “For the twelfth drink of Christmas, Uncle Monkey made for me, Yule Love Amaro.

This morning I woke up early, like I always do on Christmas Day. A little later Liam joined me and since we were doing full Christmas with the family and Santa was coming at the Grand’s house, we popped in “It’s a Wonderful Life” to pass the time, and we waited for the sun to rise. As we made coffee, I swapped over to the news to check the weather and discovered that our hometown had suffered a terrorist attack. An RV filled with explosives was detonated on 2nd Avenue in Downtown Nashville. Historic buildings were destroyed, over 40 buildings damaged, including an AT&T data center severely damaged with communications down across our region including 911 emergency services for most of the midstate and southern Kentucky, the airport was locked down and multiple injuries reported and as I am typing this the news just came across of human remains being discovered. No one knows why, as if there were an answer that could begin to justify this needless and senseless destruction.

We went from a conversation about how George Bailey lived his life in a way that made his whole world better, to trying to explain how and why something like this can happen. Helping a ten year old work through how someone could intentionally cause so much damage at any time, but especially on Christmas Day. What kind of a person would do that? This isn’t some surreal story on the news about some far off place he had never heard of, this is his home, the place where he feels safe. He broke down in tears as he realized that one of the buildings we had parked in front of this week while collecting clues on a driving scavenger hunt, is simply not there anymore. We shut off the news and talked about how people who do this sort of thing want to spread pain and fear and uncertainty. That they chose Christmas Day on purpose to try to make us afraid when we should be celebrating to try to steal our joy and how we are not going to let that happen. So, we sang carols and made cocoa and I hugged him hard with a smile on my face and angry tears in my eyes.

Our family celebrated together, never once mentioning it. Exchanging gifts, making breakfast together, laughing, hugging, loving each other, because that love is all that matters. We continue to celebrate this holiday, when peace on earth should reign and because we will abide no hatred or let it mar this day, we are carrying on, making a drink together and celebrating the last of our Twelve Drinks of Christmas.

Grab your tins and pop in 1 1/2 ounces of Amaro Montenegro, 1/2 an ounce of Rye whiskey, I chose Sazerac; 3/4 of an ounce of freshly squeezed lemon juice and 1/2 an ounce of a special holiday ingredient, the excellent Creole Orgeat from El Guapo Bitters. Add ice and shake to the tune of Amy Grant’s “Tender Tennessee Christmas“, that wasn’t the plan, but it seems appropriate today. When the drink is well-chilled, strain into some holiday stemware and set to the side. Toss your ice and add the white from 1 large egg to your tins and shake hard for about a minute to create a lovely foam to float on the drink, Garnish with a candied pecan and serve.

This is a sweet wonderful escape from the day, amid the piles of discarded wrapping paper. Amaro Montenegro is always a treat with that wonderful herbal vanilla orange thing, Sazerac Rye brings a nice heat and that creole orgeat and lemon balance each other nicely. A wonderful drink to finish our series. Trust me yule love it.

Normally, we just have the worries of eating too much, tripping over new toys or figuring out the arrangements as everyone looks for place to nap. Today we also had to struggle with the evil that lives in the heart of men and the madness that drives them to these cowardly acts of terror. I cannot help but think about this sort of needless destruction, every time I see someone talking about insurrection in the US, about overthrowing the government and making an armed stand for the things they believe in. If, god forbid, that ever happens, this is what our lives would be like. Not a red dawn fantasy with a rock and roll soundtrack and a bunch of happy endings, but this kind of loss, over and over. Senseless destruction, innocents killed and innocence lost. It’s not a thing to joke about and if there is any positive thing that can come from this day, maybe it will be the reminder that whether we agree or disagree, we are neighbors, we are friends and we are in this together, whether we want to be or not. I have said it too many times, but it is more true today than ever, there is no them, only us.

Nashville has changed so much over the years, but in many ways we are still a bit of a small town, with a close knit community that takes care of each other. We rebuilt after the 2010 floods and it is all too easy to forget that two weeks before Covid changed our world, downtown and East Nashville were devastated by tornadoes. Even during our quarantine, we have rebuilt and we have overcome. Those were hard hits, but that was nature. A thing that could happen anywhere, a random happenstance, a bad draw of the cards. But this, this is wrong on a whole other level. People chose this. A person made the decision to attack our hometown, with no regard to who could be hurt, how many lives would be affected, what this would do to our community. It hurts today, we are all in shock, but we are not powerless or without a plan. Ultimately, terrorism fails because the politics of fear cannot be sustained and they know it. In spite of those who would try to take our peace, we are Nashville and we abide no hatred, because love wins, every time, but especially on Christmas. So stay safe, stay festive and stay strong, my friends.