Music and Cocktails: Sweet Like Candy to My Soul

Music and Cocktails: Sweet Like Candy to My Soul

Ah, yes. You know this line. It’s from “Crash Into Me,” released by the Dave Matthews Band in December of 1996. It reached #19 on Billboard’s Hot 100 and rose all the way to #7 on their Modern Rock Tracks chart in March of the following year. Before we go any further, let’s be honest and say that since Dave Matthews admitted on VH1 Storytellers that the lyrics are about a peeping Tom, it has become somewhat embarrassing to confess that this is a song we actually like. Even prior to Matthews’ admission, however, we all had our moments of wondering exactly what the hell was going on in this song. In one moment, he is singing in that sweet, growly voice that only he has of being “bare-boned and crazy” for someone. Oh well, we’ve all been there, so we think this is a song about love and yearning and FEELINGS. We immediately begin to picture the person that is “sweet like candy to [our] soul,” until we realize that he’s actually watching a girl through a window and asking her to “hike up [her] skirt a little more / and show [her] world to [him].” Well alright then. That’s a major feminist red flag if I’ve ever seen (or heard) one.

Despite all of this, there’s something about this song that still gets to us, even if we don’t want to admit it. Greta Gerwig, who directed last year’s Ladybird, actually used “Crash Into Me” twice in her Oscar nominated film. In response to a question from an audience member at the Toronto International Film Festival, she said, “I feel like it’s an incredibly romantic song, and I always wanted to make out to that song, and I never did.” Yes indeed, Greta. And if we have made out to this song, we’re not going to admit that either, but I’m willing to bet that the aforementioned major red flag went right out the window. In all honesty, we can’t always explain why we love a particular song, and we certainly can’t be held responsible for its lyrics. Sometimes it just tugs at our heart in all the right places. The New Yorker examined Gerwig’s placement of the song in Ladybird stating that “in each instance, the movie’s titular protagonist, played by Saoirse Ronan, is forced to reckon with the devastating incongruity between reality and the fantasies we conjure of love.” Now we’re getting somewhere, but before we do let me tell you that “Saoirse” is pronounced “Sur-sha.” Don’t you feel better now??

We all have a fantasy of what we think real love is supposed to look and feel like. For many of us, the first intersection between that fantasy and reality comes in high school when we fall in love with a boy or a girl and suffer our first heartbreak. Maybe they didn’t really love us back, or maybe we discovered that we didn’t love them, but either way it was the worst feeling in the world. We laid on our beds and cried and cried and vowed to never go through it again. Until the next boy or girl came along. As we navigated this process, we began to realize how often we would find ourselves feeling more than a little bit voyeuristic when it came to love. We’d read about love in books, or watch it unfold in movies or TV shows and long for that perfection. Sometimes we’d even observe it in our friends’ relationships and find ourselves feeling that same kind of yearning. We end up maintaining that position as a spectator until a “big” relationship of our own comes along. Maybe that’s why we forgive Matthews’ intention behind the song, and allow it to remain an anthem for the particular sense of poignant longing we feel when love is absent from our lives. Or maybe it’s the title of the song, the idea of the crash, that gets to us. I can say for certain that’s part of what does it for me. I’m a believer in love that begins as a collision between two hearts, as you all well know. I’ve certainly written about it enough. The idea of that person and that love that we yearn for crashing into us unexpectedly is a pretty irresistible notion, and it can create a similar sense of voyeurism. After all, there’s not much we can do to stop it when it happens. We can only watch it come at us like a train on a track, and try to get Dave Matthews voice out of our heads…

For today’s cocktail I wanted to create something that was surprising and not what it appeared at first glance. I also wanted the ingredients to crash into one another just a bit, but still work together well enough to make a good drink. I started out with Hayman’s Old Tom gin. Okay, I couldn’t resist using it because of its name, but I ended up loving its intense botanicals and slight sweetness. I can’t wait to do more with it! I knew I wanted the drink to be a riff on a Collins and have some blueberry flavor in its base, because I had a blueberry soda that I wanted to use as a topper. I accomplished this with Element’s Blueberry Rosemary shrub, to which I added lemon juice and simple syrup on either side, and just a bit of Green Chartreuse. This cocktail appears to be a Collins, but it’s served in an old-fashioned style glass with no straw. Is that intentional? Of course it is. It’s a drink with blueberry soda and Green Chartreuse in its list of ingredients. Is that even possible? Not only is it possible, it’s actually good. But can we take it seriously? Without a doubt. You just have to just let it crash into you. Cheers everyone. Happy Thursday!

Sweet Like Music To My Soul

2 oz Hayman’s Old Tom gin
¼ oz Green Chartreuse
1 oz Element Blueberry Rosemary Shrub
¾ oz lemon juice
¼ oz simple syrup*
Maine Root blueberry soda to top (no more than 2 oz)

Add everything to a shaker tin with ice (except the soda) and shake until cold. Strain into an old-fashioned glass over one large cube. I had the distinct advantage of having a glass with eyes. You should use yours if you have one. Top with the soda. Enjoy!

The drink is meant to be a bit sweet. You can control how much by adjusting the simple syrup.

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