Friday Musings: Who was your Terrible Love?
For our final cocktail of Tequila/Mezcal week here on the blog, I decided to splurge and buy a bottle of the Del Maguey Chichicapa so I could make the fabulous cocktail from Death & Co. called Terrible Love. I had made it once before, but I didn’t have the mezcal on hand that day so I substituted tequila instead. I remember thinking that it was incredible with the tequila; I couldn’t wait to see what it would be like with the Chichicapa. Whenever I make cocktails, I gather together all my ingredients and equipment in what’s become a kind of ritual for me. It gets me in the right zone and that’s where I need to be to make them as precisely as possible. As I was getting things ready today my mind began to wander, and I started thinking about what the name of this drink actually means. This is the Friday Musings post, after all.
So how do we define the idea of terrible love when it seems like a contradiction in terms? How can anything to do with love ever be terrible? I wondered if it was a figure of speech that I wasn’t familiar with, much like “mad love,” and was it possible to interchange the two terms. If you’re a Breaking Bad fan you might remember when Skinny Pete says to Jesse, “you know I have mad love for you…” I asked my sons what they thought about swapping out the two phrases and expressing such endearments to their friends. Their answer was an emphatic no. My youngest (the Long Island Ice Tea guy), put it this way, “No way I’d ever find myself saying ‘dude, you know I have terrrrible love for you.'” I think I’m inclined to agree with him.
So is it a love then that’s bad for us? We’ve all certainly had those and hopefully we were able to escape relatively unscathed. Or how about a love that just can’t happen, for whatever reason? Now that’s a bit harder to walk away from and we often spend a long time thinking about what could have been. Or is it the love that leaves us heartbroken? That’s the worst one of all, the one you carry around with you forever… Maybe one of us is the unfortunate soul who has had a combination of all three with one person: the Trifecta of Terrible Love. It makes my heart hurt just thinking about it. Of course all those inspirational quotes on Instagram and Facebook would have us look at things a bit differently. Isn’t it true that sometimes these terrible loves help us get to a better place, one we could never have arrived at on our own? I believe that’s true, although it’s not always easy to see at the time. I’m sure we can all look back on relationships in our lives that were extremely painful to leave behind, yet they really did help us to grow into the next version of ourselves.
Phil Ward, the Death & Co. bartender who created this drink, was probably not going in this particular direction, but I like to think that great cocktails, much like great books, inspire us to be introspective and to think about the course our lives have taken. This is especially true after you’ve had more than one, right? In any event, Terrible Love is a truly special cocktail. The Del Maguey Chichicapa is smoky and complex, the Suze is bittersweet and spicy, and the St. Germain is like burying your nose in honeysuckle on a summer’s day. These 3 ingredients combined together, along with a dash of orange bitters, become something that is both bewitching and unforgettable… in much the same way as terrible love.
Terrible Love from Death & Co. in NYC
1 1/2 oz Del Maguey Chichicapa Mezcal
3/4 oz Suze Saveur D’Autrefois liqueur
1/2 oz St. Germain
1 dash of Fee Brothers orange bitters
Grapefruit for garnishing
Place all the ingredients except for the grapefruit twist into a mixing glass and fill 2/3 full with ice. Stir with a long handled bar spoon until very cold (about 30 – 45 seconds). Strain using a julep strainer, and pour over 1 large ice cube in an old-fashioned glass. Enjoy!
Have a great weekend everyone! See you all on Monday!