I’m just letting you all know that I had the opportunity to take a last minute, unexpected vacation with my family this week, so I will return next Monday with new posts. In celebration of today’s eclipse, I thought I’d repost my Illuminate Me cocktail, which will always be one of my very favorites. I reflect on the ideas in this post quite often; cocktails and suffering over love and loss go hand in hand for me. The eclipse has given me some new insight and I’ve added it in. See you all next week!
Back in October I wrote a Friday Musings post about a drink from Death & Co. called Terrible Love. I questioned what the phrase really meant and asked you all to think about who your terrible love might be. I speculated that it might be a love that was bad for us, or one that was good but simply could never be because of circumstances, or one that left us heartbroken. In the worst case scenario, it could be all three. I called that one the Trifecta of Terrible Love. Lately I’ve been reflecting on the idea again, particularly about the process we go through in trying to move on from this especially painful kind of love. For the most part, the advice we’re given by friends, family, even professionals, revolves around the notion of having to let it go. Walk away, we’re told, or run, get over it, excise it from your life, bury it in the ground and stamp on it with two feet… all deliberate, possibly even aggressive, actions on our part aimed at expunging that love from our lives. And then we can return to normal, like it never happened, and be ready for the next love. But is that really true? It can take forever, right, and it can be painful and horrible, and we rail against it with everything we have. Yet somehow this forceful excision process is supposed to leave us more whole and more at peace. It just doesn’t ring true to me.
The problem that I’ve come to see with all of this is that the love that we felt was ours. It was something that belonged to us, and it was good, and pure, and fully deserving of our energy. The person, or the situation, on the other hand, may very well not have been. So the tricky part involves separating the love we felt from the actual person we felt it for; otherwise we run the risk of doing real damage to our hearts. While we certainly can’t go on breathing life into a love that will never be, we don’t have to necessarily bury it in the earth in the hopes of obliterating it. What if we used different imagery that allowed it to be contained, dormant even, but still visible? If not, how can we ever hope to learn from it, or have it be the bridge that connects us to and makes us ready for the next love that comes along? And if we forcibly excise a part of ourselves, then aren’t we less and not more? What if it happens more than once? Do we keep excising until there’s nothing left?
I say no to all those things. I say that we take that love and put it in a place where we can continue to see it. We’re careful not to nurture it, or feed it; we simply allow it to stay with us. We recognize that in the early days just after the relationship ends, there will be an eclipse of sorts, and it will be hard to look at that love without the need to shield our eyes, and our hearts. The eclipse will temporarily obscure the good, and we will need some time before it becomes fully apparent. But if we have patience, and faith in the process, it will most certainly happen. We’ll soon be able to let our terrible love illuminate us, so that we can recognize and accept the reasons why it would never have worked. We can allow it to be the thing that helps us to find the next love, the true love, the one who is so deserving of everything we have to offer. And we will arrive there more complete, more at peace, having been gentle with our hearts, rather than violent.
I’m making this cocktail today with Rujero Singani, which is always a revelation for me. To go along with it, I chose 2 of my favorite ingredients: Suze and Yellow Chartreuse, both of which have the ability to brighten and illuminate anything they come in contact with. For my bitters I went with DRAM Citrus Medica to lift the cocktail with orange, lemon and grapefruit flavors, along with just a hint of spice that brings us back to the Suze and Chartreuse. The end result is a boozy drink that should be served very cold in your smallest cocktail glass. Don’t drink it too quickly, but rather take some time to reflect on that terrible love. Remember that it belonged to you and it’s okay to treat it like it was one of your most prized possessions. Allow it to open your heart, rather than to close it. Trust in the fact that it’ll remain bright only for as long as is necessary for you to see what’s next, and when you’re ready it will dim all on its own, with no forcible action required from you.
Add all ingredients to a mixing glass and add ice. Stir 30-45 seconds or until cold. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with a lemon wheel skewered on a cocktail pick. Enjoy!
*You can substitute tequila, white rum, or pisco here.
**If you don’t have the DRAM bitters, you can substitute orange bitters instead.