Snow Day!! I don’t think there have ever been two words that made my heart leap for joy more as a child growing up in New Jersey, where winter storms would occasionally dump enough snow to warrant school closings. Show of hands, who else remembers feeling that way? The minute there was snow in the forecast, the excitement would begin. How much accumulation, when would it start, what kind of snow would it be?? All questions that we needed answers to as quickly as we could get them. As kids, I think most of our gleefulness centered around the idea of a day off from school. That was the first priority. And oh how we would wait to hear our school closing number called in the morning. I can remember hardly being able to contain myself when I would hear mine. The next order of important business would be figuring out what we were going to do. The options seemed limitless: snowball fights, snowmen, sledding, or just tromping around outside marveling at how different everything looked. As we got older, we focused less on those outdoor activities, and more on just being able to have a day to unwind or catch up. I feel like this mindset followed us into college and adulthood, and then changed back the minute we had children. Now it was time to get excited again. Never mind worrying about clearing off the car or shoveling the snow. Now it was time to build snowmen, make snow angels, and go sledding, just like when we were little.
There’s also something about a snow day that feels like a bit of a reset. I don’t know that I realized it as a child, but I certainly became aware of it as I began to get older. Think about it for a minute. We go to sleep with the world looking a certain way, and we wake up and it’s been completely transformed. Everything looks clean and fresh and new, and we’re able to see things from a completely different perspective. How many times do we find that we need exactly that? I won’t hesitate to say that it happens to me quite often. This may surprise you, but I can be a just a bit of an over-thinker. I feel like there is a collective burst of laughter coming from my children right now, and probably from a few other people who know me just as well. Many of you who are reading today share this same tendency, I’m sure, so you know that when we over-analyze things our eyes can feel like they get stuck looking at a problem or situation in only one way. No matter how many times we turn our gaze and bring it back again, nothing ever changes. It just continues to look the same, and things can begin to feel hopeless, especially if we really want to find a new way of moving forward. I had an art teacher who would tell us to take the drawing we were working on and turn it upside down. Once we did that, the problems with our work would suddenly jump out at us, even though they seemed invisible in the upright position. We need to find a way to turn our current struggles upside-down in much the same way. As soon as we do, the answer that has been evading us will suddenly be right in front of our eyes. I did it recently with a dilemma that has been such a source of trouble for me. I turned it on its head, looked at it from a completely different angle, and I found a new approach. I feel much more sure and confident now that everything will turn out just the way it’s supposed to, even though I may be the only one who feels that way. Sometimes when there’s another party involved, it takes them a while to turn the drawing upside-down.
It was a major snow day on the East coast yesterday, and another one follows today. If you’re struggling with something, try to use this time as the reset you need. It may end up leading you right to the solution for which you’ve been looking. For today’s cocktail, I decided to go back to something my mom would make for me whenever it snowed. She’d learned how to make it from my grandmother, of course, and it involved a combination of coffee, cream, sugar, ice, and snow. Yes, snow. She knew of an alcoholic version that had an herbal liqueur in it too, but had never had it. There is an Italian spirit made by Evangelista Liquori that is from the Abruzzo region of Italy, which is where three of my grandparents were born. It’s called Punch Abruzzo, and its flavor profile is a combination of anise, allspice, herbs, and fruitcake, of all things. I needed a base spirit for this cocktail, so I experimented with both rye whiskey and barrel-finished gin. The latter choice won out for me simply because it was less boozy and it allowed the flavor of the liqueur to really come through. I added espresso coffee, cream, and finished things off with a dash of DRAM Apothecary wild mountain sage bitters, which was the perfect way to emphasize the herbal component of the drink. I topped it off with snow, just as my mom did, and I know that somewhere she and my grandmom are nudging each other with a smile. They may think I’m crazy, but they always thought that anyway. Why disappoint them now? I wish you all a Happy Friday, and a Happy Snow Day.
Add all the ingredients to a shaker tin with ice and shake vigorously. Strain into an old-fashioned glass over ice and top with a scoop of fresh, CLEAN snow. Garnish with a sprig of sage. Enjoy!