Browsed by
Category: Cocktail Series

Cocktail Musings: Dweller on the Threshold

Cocktail Musings: Dweller on the Threshold

Not long after my daughter Wendy moved into her first apartment, she decided to share her new space with a little kitten that she named Novalee. Nova, as we came to call her, was wicked smart and an absolute terror, and I’m fairly certain that my ankles still bear the scars of her nighttime attacks whenever I would sleep over. She has grown into a magnificently large animal, the absolute alpha of the house who still displays flashes of her former kitten feistiness on a regular basis. One of my favorite things that she would do was stretch out in the doorway between the kitchen and living room, prompting me to always sing a few bars of the Van Morrison song that has the same title as this post. According to Joseph Campbell, a dweller on the threshold, otherwise known as a threshold guardian, is thought to be “what stands between the old world and the new world of personal growth.” If we view life as a series of journeys, the dweller holds the key to our understanding the one that is coming next. We meet him or her at the threshold, and the experience we have during that encounter depends a great deal on how ready we are to move forward and how willing we are to heed any advice the dweller may have for us. In mythology, where archetypes such as these are often very black and white, the dweller will be benevolent so long as we are prepared and open minded, or very nasty if we display ignorance or arrogance. I’m not sure how much Joseph Campbell Nova has read, but she still spends a lot of time guarding thresholds, and I step by her carefully as she tends to still take a swat at me, claws in these days. Apparently I have passed her tests.

Read More Read More

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Cocktail Musings: Outer Limits

Cocktail Musings: Outer Limits

As this past week began for me, I found myself searching for those moments of inspiration I talked about in last week’s post. I was working on making some final tweaks to the cocktails intended for Recklesstown’s February menu, and two of them had me somewhat stumped. When divine intervention finally arrived, I did my best to muzzle my rational mind, but keeping it totally contained proved to be impossible. I directed that energy towards observing what it actually felt like to be accompanied by an abstract guide, rather than driven by a meticulous master. To put it another way, I gave my rational mind a pen and paper and said, “Here, take some notes.” I learned that I did not feel completely comfortable allowing abstraction to have a major part in setting a cocktail menu, especially since one of the most important forces behind drink creation for me has always been precision. As time goes on, however, I am realizing that it is more correct to say that a cocktail begins and ends with inspiration, but it is held together by a solid layer of exactness that rests squarely between the two. This past week’s exercise certainly reinforced this belief for me. Isn’t it interesting, though, how allowing abstraction in feels a bit like the way we surrender to water in order to be able to float, as opposed to the way we churn through it when we swim? Subtlety and nuance move to the forefront, and those tiny, often unnoticed shifts in the bedrock under our feet as we steamroll forward on all our missions suddenly feel a bit more seismic. To bring it back to the water analogy, we feel the slightest ripple when we float, but we miss it when we’re the one making all the waves.

Read More Read More

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Cocktail Musings: Moonful Intentions

Cocktail Musings: Moonful Intentions

In this past week, I looked at a number of articles and engaged in a few conversations that involved the idea of New Year’s resolutions. A lot of what I read recommended that we don’t set them at all, and the discussions that I had echoed this sentiment. And yet, without any resolutions, I admit that I have felt somewhat untethered, as though I’ve taken the first few steps in 2024 without a guide or an instruction booklet. I also think that I’ve come to look forward to January 1st as a day when I can press a proverbial reset button and start fresh on some things. Even though I’ve decided not to write down a list of resolutions this year, I find that they continue to creep into my head anyway. “I really want to stop using the word ‘just’ in a lot of my sentences.” “I should eat more beans.” “I’d like to work harder at being on time.” Hold down the laughter on that last one. Virgos are only late because we think we can do one more useful thing before tearing out the door, like quickly alphabetize the spice rack. You may insert an eye roll emoji here. All of this aside, the real question for me has always been why we feel the need to set resolutions in the first place. Where did the tradition come from? Apparently the Google answer to that query is that the practice dates back some 4,000 years to the time of the ancient Babylonians who made offerings to their gods at the start of the new year, which happened to be in mid-March at the beginning of the planting season. The Romans followed suit, but then changed over to the Julian calendar in 46 BC.

Read More Read More

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Cocktail Musings: Labor of Love

Cocktail Musings: Labor of Love

I thought that December 31st was a good day to return to writing after a fall season filled will navigating certain time constraints, personal matters, and life changes. This past Friday, I worked my last shift behind the bar at Recklesstown. Although I will continue my creative role there, most of you will immediately recognize how different it will feel for me to no longer have a direct hand in making the cocktails that I create or the experience of watching people enjoy them, except when I myself sit on the other side of the bar as a customer. Nevertheless it’s time to have weekends free again and begin a semi-retired chapter of my life, one in which I can direct my focus and energy towards spending time with the people I love, doing the things that I enjoy most and exploring new possibilities. In the realm of what I would still call work, cocktails, writing this blog, and studying astrology all stand first in line, and as I prepared to return to my musings, I considered whether or not there might be a way to do a subtle combination of the three. Would it be possible to allow the upcoming week’s cosmic energy to drive my thoughts? Could I then subsequently offer them up to those reading not just as a reflection of what’s in my head, but also as a guide to what’s spinning around out in the ether? I wondered.

Read More Read More

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Friday Musings: Composition

Friday Musings: Composition

This Christmas, I received what I think is going to be the most amazing bottle of beer ever from my son Connor’s equally amazing girlfriend, Morgan. Technically speaking, Dialogues, made by The Referend Bier Blendery in Kutztown, PA, is a spontaneously fermented ale that has been aged in oak barrels along with various grapes, juice, and pomace. Wow, right?? That’s what I think too. To make matters even more interesting, there is a Pablo Neruda quote on the back of the bottle that is part of a poem called “Ode to the Dictionary:”

…words
as slippery as smooth grapes,
words exploding in the light
like dormant seeds waiting
in the vaults of vocabulary,
alive again, and giving life:
once again the heart distills them.

Read More Read More

Print Friendly, PDF & Email