Over the past few weeks I’ve been talking about the importance of birth order and the role it plays in shaping our personalities. It’s been easy for me to discuss this in terms of my own children because I actually have an oldest, a middle, and a youngest, and they personify their roles fairly well, as you all know by now. Just two weeks ago my friend and fellow cocktail instagrammer @sashadallasgirl (if you don’t follow her, you absolutely should) asked me to analyze her as an only child, to which I replied “I will for sure” but then immediately wondered what personal point of view I’d have to share. I could give you just the facts, but I despise doing only that because it’s such a snoozefest! I’d much rather present things from my own perspective, instead of just spouting information at you. In any event, I had to start somewhere and so I began doing some research on only children and I discovered something that surprised me. I am a youngest, but I could relate to so many of the onlies’ traits because I have brothers who are 11 and 13 years older than me. They were gone from the house when I was very young, one moving far away in fact, so I pretty much grew up as an only child. I hadn’t really looked at this way before.
Because only children live in the spotlight of their parents’ attention for longer than the other birth orders, they develop into confident and conscientious adults. Being loved as the one and only boosts their sense of self esteem, but they can never really get away with much because all eyes remain on them. Since so much of their time is spent around adults, they become socially mature and excel at the art of conversation. To this day sitting and talking with someone over coffee or drinks is one of my favorite things in the world to do. Onlies are super creative, well spoken, and can happily focus on the tiniest of details. These inclinations make them model students and they tend to do extremely well in school. Because they spend a lot of time alone in their houses without other siblings to play with, onlies have very active imaginations, and become adept at entertaining themselves. I can attest to this. Growing up I had an entire cast of made-up characters in my life, so things were never boring. As I got older my Virgo practicality took over and that keeps me rooted in reality for the most part. In fact, I can’t even have a decent fantasy without considering all the pragmatic details first. How did I get here? Did I uber or take the train? If I took the train, do I have enough money on my Freedom card to get back home or do I need to buy a ticket? By the time I answer all those questions, I forget what the fantasy was even about!
On the flip side, because onlies don’t spend the same number of years immersed in the day-to-day negotiations that go on between siblings, they tend to assume that other people know exactly what they’re thinking without discussion. It often comes as a surprise when they learn that not everyone shares their opinion on things. I can remember that moment in my life very well, and I still sometimes struggle with understanding other people’s points of view. It would be so much easier if everyone agreed with me! Since onlies’ role models growing up are usually competent adults, it may drive them towards a level of perfectionism that’s hard to achieve, let alone maintain. Guilty as charged. Only children may stay at home longer than their birth order counterparts, feeling unwilling to leave their parents because their family unit has been so tight. These feelings will later turn into a strong sense of responsibility as their parents get older. Despite some of these limiting factors, onlies are inclined to be self-assured and very self-aware, making them comfortable in most situations they find themselves in with other people. They fit into groups quite easily and are the most chameleon-like of all the birth orders. They’re often the person you want at your party when you’ve invited different groups because they’ll make everyone feel at home.
For today’s cocktail, I wanted to make something that could assume multiple identities. It is Cinco de Mayo today and Derby Day tomorrow, so there’s certainly lots going on in the cocktail world. This drink is a kind of a hybrid between the drinks that celebrate these two day, but it can also easily be one or the other as well. Starting out with a reposado tequila as my base, I added blood orange liqueur, lime juice, and a basil simple syrup. This brought me very close to a margarita, but not so far from a julep. I served it over cracked ice, but up in a cocktail glass. In honor of Sasha, I used one of my best because she is the glassware queen of the cocktail Instagram community. I also drizzled a blood orange shrub on top of this drink for the same reason. Sasha is a bit shrub obsessed, and the rest of us are thankful for it. The end result is a cocktail that keeps changing in the glass. It tastes like a margarita, or even a mojito, but it reminds you of a julep. The blood orange shrub settles in the drink so it comes along in full force at the end to surprise you. This is a confident, self-assured drink that can fit in anywhere, sliding in and out of conversations, and making everyone feel comfortable. Cheers to the onlies of the world! And cheers to you, Sasha. I hope I did you justice!
Add all the ingredients except the shrub to at the bottom half of a shaker with ice. Shake 15-20 seconds or until very cold. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass filled with crushed ice. Pour the shrub gently on top; it will settle. Garnish with basil leaf and hibiscus sea salt. Enjoy!
*Dissolve ½ cup of sugar in ½ cup of water and stir until it’s clear. Pour into a mason jar and add ¼ cup packed basil leaves. Cover and steep until it cools. Remove the basil and store in the fridge for 1-2 weeks.