This past Tuesday I had the opportunity to watch my sons coach their elementary school girls basketball team in a championship game, which they won for the first time in the school’s history. It had truly been a remarkable season. The five starting players were all talented and any one of them was capable at any time of giving a phenomenal performance. The team also had an outstanding sixth man, or girl I suppose in this case, who would come in off the bench when she was needed and get the job done. The interesting thing about Tuesday night was that despite the fact that the starting five all played well, none of them had the kind of standout game that ensured the win early on. The girls were struggling a bit with a very well-played defense by the the other team, as well as a number of other factors: it was such an important night, the crowd was huge and extremely loud, and everything they’d worked towards all season was on the line. The game was up for grabs right up until the final seconds. One of the starters fouled out and the sixth man had to go in. She ended up scoring a clutch foul shot that bumped the lead up to 3 and totally changed the momentum of the game in the closing seconds.
What I found to be so gratifying about this win, aside from the #proudmamamoment it was for me, was that it took a team effort to get there. When the girls were struggling, they encouraged one another to go on, even from the bench. When the end was in sight, they held fast and fought hard to protect their lead. And when the sixth man was needed, she showed up to seal the deal. It made me think of all the times when life is a team effort, and we pull together to do what needs to be done. We’ve all had those moments, whether they’ve been with our work colleagues, our friends, or our families, when we realize that we don’t have to go it alone, that our team is there beside us to help us carry the burden when we’re down, or share in the victory when we close in for the win. Watching my sons wrap their arms around each other when the buzzer went off is something that I’ll remember forever, as I’m sure they will too. I had also invited a number of friends to come to watch the game, people who have known my boys since they were just old enough to dribble a basketball, two of whom were actually their coaches back then. As I sat there I realized that I was with my team, who’d come out just to share in that moment, as they had for many other things many times before. I was so grateful, and so aware that it’s instances like these, big and small, that bind us together forever.
For today’s cocktail, I chose 6 ingredients that work in harmony to bring out the best in one another, producing an end result that’s bigger that each of the individual components. Sounds like teamwork to me! I went with tequila as my base spirit, and a grapefruit shrub and grapefruit juice for the sour elements of the drink. Tequila and grapefruit have such a natural affinity towards one another that I often feel like they’re the perfect match. From there I wanted to bring in some warm spice and just a hint of vanilla, so I reached for yellow Chartreuse and Velvet Falernum. I tasted the cocktail at this point to decide which bitters I wanted to use and I landed on DRAM’s Hair of the Dog because it coaxed that spicy vanilla flavor out just a bit more and it elevated the drink to a new level. Have a wonderful weekend everyone! Raise a glass to Magnolia Elementary School’s girls basketball team, division winners and league champions!
It’s a Team Effort
2 oz. Gran Centenario tequila blanco
1 oz Liber & Co. Texas grapefruit shrub
3/4 oz fresh grapefruit juice
1/2 oz yellow Chartreuse
1/4 oz velvet falernum
1 dash DRAM Hair of the Dog bitters
Combine all the ingredients in the bottom half of a cocktail shaker and add ice. Shake for about 20 seconds until cold. Double strain into an old-fashioned glass over 1 large cube. Garnish with a grapefruit quarter slice. Enjoy!