I recently had the opportunity to watch the movie The Joy Luck Club again, which prompted me to take Amy Tan’s novel off the bookshelf to reread the story at the very beginning. It’s about a woman who buys a swan from a market vendor who tells her the bird was once a duck who wanted to be a goose, but whose neck stretched so much that it became a swan instead. The woman brings the swan to America with her in the hopes of one day giving it to her daughter so that she will know that her life holds limitless possibilities in this new country. The swan is taken away from her by immigration officials and she is left with just one feather. The woman is waiting to give her daughter the feather until she can tell her in perfect English, “This feather may look worthless, but it comes from afar and carries with it all my good intentions.”
If you’ve read or watched The Joy Luck Club then you know that it examines the unbreakable bond that exists between a mother and her daughter, even though there are times when their relationship suffers because of an inability to understand one another. When this happens, it can be so painful. I think that most problems arise because we forget to step outside of our roles as mothers and daughters long enough to see that there is a person standing next to us with her own deeply personal feelings. The relationship is so close that sometimes we end up imposing our own ideas and our own expectations onto one another, instead of really listening and truly understanding. Sometimes we’re capable of feeling far more empathy for our friends, or even for strangers, than we are for those closest to us. I think that I have always found the line I quoted above to be so moving because, as mothers, we want nothing more than for our daughters (and our sons, for that matter) to know that we always have the best intentions, even though there are times when it may not seem that way.
The drink that I made for today is called All My Good Intentions, of course, and it’s a bit of a variation of the Aviation Cocktail. I used the citrusy Bluecoat gin as my base spirit, to which I added Dolin Génépy des Alpes for its bright herbal flavors, Crème de Violette for its delicate floral notes and its beautiful color, and fresh lemon juice. DRAM’s Lavender Lemon balm bitters worked as a perfect bridge here to tie all the flavors together. As a bonus, both lavender and lemon balm are considered to be feminine herbs, encouraging us to look inward for intuitive understanding, awareness, and peace. I loved the fact that I could use them in this particular cocktail!
The real sadness in the story of the woman and the swan is that she is waiting until she is perfect before she can say what she wants to say to her daughter. In doing so, she denies her daughter the opportunity to really know something about her as a person. My mom has been gone for 5 years now and there are many things I think of everyday that I didn’t know about her. How I wish I had the opportunity to ask her about those things, so I could really listen to her answers even if they surprised me, and so I could let her know, above all else, that I now understand that all of her intentions were always good.
All My Good Intentions
2 oz Bluecoat Gin
½ oz Crème de Violette
½ oz Dolin Génépy des Alpes
½ oz fresh lemon juice
3 dashes DRAM Lavender Lemon Balm bitters
1 lemon strip and 1 lavender sprig for garnishing
Place all the ingredients except the garnishes in the bottom half of a shaker tin and add your ice. Shake vigorously for 20-30 seconds or until very cold. Double strain into a chilled Nick & Nora glass and garnish with the lemon strip and the lavender sprig. Enjoy!
Have a nice weekend everyone! See you on Monday.