So let me begin this Friday Musings post with a confession. What you are reading is not what I had originally written for today. Not so scandalous, I know, but it’s important in a way. I began this week with a poem by Sylvia Plath that was about the reflection of ourselves that we see in a mirror, and continued that line of thought on Wednesday with a song from Counting Crows that was about a truer version of ourselves being pulled out from deep inside. Today’s post was supposed to be all about authenticity and I wrote something for you, I really did, but when I reread it last night, it sounded about as far from authentic as it could possibly get. And that bothered me very much. Part of the trouble is that the word “authenticity” has become a buzzword that feels overused and can rapidly turn up the cringe factor in a room the minute it’s spoken. Google it and 131 million results will be at your disposal in the time it takes your phone or monitor screen to refresh. Did I really think I could offer further enlightenment on the subject? Apparently I did.
Last night, I went to see The National in concert at The Mann Center in Philadelphia. They were nothing short of amazing, and as I watched Matt Berninger pour his heart and soul into his performance, I knew that this man knows something about authenticity. I felt humbled by his passion and by the way in which he connected so profoundly with the audience. For one of the encores, they performed the song “Terrible Love” and I thought about the post I wrote back in October of 2016 about the Death & Co. cocktail that shares its name. At that time I asked the question as to whether anything to do with love can ever really be terrible. I honestly didn’t know the answer, but I do now. Love is a force unlike anything else in this world. It can enlighten us one minute and completely confuse us the next. It can cause us to look the other way when we should be focused on what is right in front of us. It can turn us into inconsolable children when we think it has turned its back on us. It can seem like a terrible, formidable giant that we will never conquer, until one day the battle stops.
Yesterday I wanted to tell you that authenticity has something to do with the little person inside of all of us who knew exactly who he or she was before boundaries and limitations told us otherwise. I wanted to say that authenticity can bring a state of grace to our lives that is breathtaking, but it is not attained without considerable cost, and we cannot move forward in it without respect for its power, and an understanding that limits will always exist. And finally, although authenticity is not a choice in and of itself, it sometimes requires decisions that will bring us to our knees, but when we stand back up again the only direction available to us is the one that moves forward. I know all these things to be true, but today I will tell you that the answer is simply this: when love feels authentic, so does life.
Today’s cocktail, Terrible Love, was created by Phil Ward of Death & Co. in NYC, and it is truly special. It has mezcal as its base spirit and the Del Maguey Chichicapa is smoky and feels a million miles deep. The Suze is bittersweet and complex, and the St. Germain is sweet and innocent. Sound familiar? These 3 ingredients combined together, along with a dash of orange bitters, become something that is both bewitching and unforgettable… just like love. Cheers everyone. Happy Friday!
Terrible Love from Death & Co. in NYC
Place all the ingredients into a mixing glass with ice. Stir until very cold and strain into an old-fashioned glass over one large cube. Garnish with a grapefruit twist. Enjoy!