While every transition from one season into the next has meaning, I think that most of us view the shift from winter into spring to be the most personally symbolic. This shift becomes especially relevant if we’ve had a particularly tough winter and we feel so ready for it to be over. This spring has made us wait longer than most. It’s the middle of April and the East coast has continued to see temperatures in the 40s, despite the fact that there are daffodils everywhere and trees that are trying valiantly to bloom. This weekend brings the promise of real warmth and hopefully the end of waiting. Before we know it, we’ll be immersed in spring and in all the feelings of hope, rebirth, and renewal it can bring. The winter of 2018 will become just a memory.
Interestingly enough, once we are fully immersed, all the things that we’ve waited for suddenly become mundane and ordinary. We no longer see the daffodils or the leaves on the trees. We no longer feel the warmth in quite the same way we did when those cold days first ended. The miracle of spring suddenly seems a bit less miraculous. It occurs to me that we feel the most appreciation for spring when winter is just beginning to release its hold. It’s that first daffodil that pushes up through what looks like ground that is frozen solid. It’s the sight of snow on a cherry blossom. There’s something in that moment of transition that inspires awe and gratitude, but it’s fleeting, making those emotions very hard to conjure up again once the moment has passed. I think that with seasonal change, we know that we’ll always get another chance, so we’re willing to allow the wonder to pass. We know that we’ll feel it again on our first summer day at the beach, in the first falling leaf of autumn, and on that first truly cold winter morning. These are the seasons for us, and we are accustomed to the rhythm of their transitions.
There are many parallels between the experiences we go through in life and the changing seasons, especially the change from winter into spring. If we’ve been through a heartache or a loss of any sort, then we know that we can be held in a fairly dark and cold place for quite some time as we work through it all. We long to feel better and we may even be certain that we’ll eventually get there, but it takes time and a great deal of patience to wait for that moment when the shift finally begins. It’s so tentative at first, and we feel vulnerable and exposed, much like that daffodil or cherry blossom, but it grows, and with it comes the realization that the worst is over, and that we are stronger and far more resilient than we thought. This is such a moment of powerful transition for us, and it inspires the same level of awe and gratitude that I described above. The difference is that we will not get another chance to experience this kind of change in exactly this same way again. I’m not suggesting that we hold onto that dark place that we’ve left behind, but rather that we allow ourselves to regard it with the poignancy and respect that it deserves, because it has given us such a greater appreciation for all that is good in life. We’ll go on to experience hope and joy and love again, but if we can always remember that first moment of transition, then we will do so with a sense of gratitude and wonder that will make it impossible for us to take any of it for granted.
For today’s cocktail, I decided to make a blood orange Collins of sorts. Blood oranges are typically a winter citrus and a Collins is a warm weather drink, so I felt as though I was creating a bit of a seasonal transition right in the glass. I used Claremont vodka, locally distilled in Fairfield, NJ, as my base because I love the body and backbone that it brings to a drink. I added Drambuie as my secondary spirit to give the cocktail a warm, spicy quality that also defies the idea a traditional Collins. The muddled ginger and the ginger ale helped to create layers, and the DRAM bitters pushed a lighter citrus flavor forward. We are moving into spring after all. And so am I. Cheers everyone. Happy Friday! Have a wonderful weekend! I’m so looking forward to mine.
Muddle 2 fresh ginger slices with the simple syrup. Add the remaining ingredients (except the ginger ale) to a shaker tin with ice and shake vigorously until cold. Strain into a Collins glass over fresh ice and top with the ginger ale. Garnish with a blood orange wheel. Enjoy!