Growing up, I lived in an ordinary suburban town where I spent my summers doing all the things that you read about in those “Remember When” posts on Facebook. We left our houses early in the morning to go out and play for the day. I really did have one friend whose mom would whistle for her to come home, and another whose mom would simply call her name. And somehow we would hear both of those summons no matter where we were. We filled our days with ordinary things. We rode our bikes, we played games, we waited for the ice cream truck, we swam if someone was lucky enough to have a pool, and on Wednesdays we might walk up to the movies in town for the matinee if we liked what was playing. It was a fairly mundane existence, and we were always looking for some excitement. At the end of the street there were railroad tracks that led to these woods that none of us were ever supposed to set foot in. But of course we did it anyway.
Even on the most sweltering of summer days in New Jersey, it was at least 10 degrees cooler in those woods. The difference in temperature would hit the minute we entered them, along with the smell of pine trees and earth and the creek that ran through the entire length of the woods. The trail was well worn, like it had been there since forever, and we’d walk along it talking amongst ourselves. The conversation would always become deeper whenever we were in the woods, and that was when we’d find out the most about one another. All the topics that were off limits would suddenly become ok to discuss. If you’ve ever watched the movie Stand By Me, then you know exactly what I’m talking about. We’d go to those woods because we were looking for something more than what our everyday lives were offering us. We wanted some sense of something that was so much bigger than us, a sense of something we could never really know fully. I think that as ordinary suburban kids, it offered us the promise that life held more possibilities than we could realize at that moment, and that made us feel free and unlimited. And so incredibly hopeful. How wonderful would it be if we could still conjure up that feeling as adults?
Today’s cocktail is a blend of a very botanical gin, Green Chartreuse, a Douglass Fir Eau de Vie, and herbal flavors from the simple syrup and the shrub from Element. It spoke to me of all things green, and it’s flavor and aroma were just a bit elusive too, which made me think of the mystery surrounding those woods and how much that mystery drew me in. Cheers everyone. Happy Summer!
Into the Woods
Add all the ingredients to a shaker with ice and shake vigorously until very cold. Double strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a sage leaf, a rosemary sprig, or anything herbal. Contemplate the possibilities.