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Friday Musings: Midwinter in Our Souls

Friday Musings: Midwinter in Our Souls

I have a certain affection for the word midwinter. It has always helped me to verbalize this period that comes after Christmas when we are in post-celebratory mode, and the world has become a much quieter, introverted version of the one we left behind in December. As it turns out, the term midwinter is actually synonymous with the winter solstice, so it seems as though my thinking may have been a little bit off, at least in terms of timing. Maybe not in terms of sentiment, though, if we consider the opening lines of In the Bleak Midwinter, a Christmas poem written in 1872 by Christina Rossetti and set to music by Gustav Holst:

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Friday Musings: Ignition Point

Friday Musings: Ignition Point

In last Friday’s post, I talked about a particular sense of calm that comes on Christmas Eve that presents us with the opportunity to find a moment of deep peace and joy. This year, I felt as though that moment came to me more easily, maybe because I’d shared the idea of it with all of you, or because the actual process of writing tends to make me more open to possibilities. In either case, I walked into Zachary’s house feeling very zen and ready to take on the Seven Fishes. Things were going along swimmingly (awful pun intended) until we set a baking sheet of kale on fire in the oven. Notice the calm spirit in which I write that sentence. Now, those of you who follow me know that this is not my first fiery rodeo in the kitchen. A few years ago, we had a similar mishap during which a tray of chopped pecans entered the oven as a potential cake garnish, only to emerge as a pile of ash reminiscent of the apocalypse. Needless to say, the kale suffered a similar fate. The first time around we did absolutely everything wrong in “handling” the fire; in fact, our behavior could have easily been made into a “How NOT to Act” fire safety video. What was our biggest mistake? Ah well, we opened the oven door, of course, and the fire became an inferno. This time when Zachary reached in that same direction, I stopped him. We turned off the oven, shooed everyone out of the house, and we watched the fire burn out and die.

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Friday Musings: Fulcrum

Friday Musings: Fulcrum

It would be remiss of me to just begin again without some sort of an explanation as to where I’ve been. The truth is that there’s not a satisfying answer. I paused my writing for a while, always with the intention to return. I became busy with work that included making many cocktails, and with life, and I felt time passing, and I wondered if I’d ever be able to find my way back. I always expected that the urge to write again would come as a whisper in my ear, or a gentle nudge, but when it arrived a short while ago, it came as a full-on, handprints-on-my-back shove. In other words, it was not to be ignored. And so here I am telling you that I’d love to spend Friday mornings with you once again, if you’ll have me back. I truly hope you will…

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Friday Musings: Your Deepest Presence

Friday Musings: Your Deepest Presence

The other day I pilfered a copy of The Essential Rumi from my daughter Wendy’s bookshelf. This is one of the benefits of having a child who is extremely well-read. It’s literally like having a library at your disposal. She’s unaware that I “borrowed” her book, but if she’s reading this post then she certainly knows it now. Rumi was a 13th century philosopher and theologian who just happens to have written truly beautiful poetry that is extremely relevant to our 21st century world. He is considered by many to

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Friday Musings: The Hemingway Daiquiri

Friday Musings: The Hemingway Daiquiri

hemdaiquiriWhen in Havana, Ernest Hemingway spent a good deal of his time in a bar called El Floridita. It is said that he asked the bartender there, whose name was Constantino Ribalaigua Vert, to make him a daiquiri with “half the sugar and double the booze.” Since the original would have contained only rum, lime juice, and sugar, changing those ratios would have created a very unbalanced drink. According to Hemingway, “it was good, it was a fine drink” and he claimed to hold the record for drinking 16 double Daiquiris in one night! And to think he was worried about sugar!! Hemingway may have loved his version of the cocktail, but over time it proved to be too bland, too tart, and too boozy. It eventually morphed into something a bit different with the addition of Maraschino liqueur and grapefruit juice. Most people feel the need to also add the sugar back in by using simple syrup; I know for certain that I do.

Original Daiquiri

2 oz light rum such as Bacardi
1/2 oz fresh lime juice
1/2 oz simple syrup*
Lime wheel for garnishing

Add all the ingredients to the bottom half of a shaker tin. Add your one large cube, and 2 small, or fill 2/3 full with regular ice. Shake until very cold. Double strain using a Hawthorne strainer and a mesh strainer into a chilled cocktail glass.

Hemingway Daiquiri

2 oz light rum such as Bacardi
1/2 oz Luxardo Maraschino liqueur
3/4 oz fresh lime juice
1/2 oz fresh grapefruit juice
1/2 oz simple syrup*
Lime wheel for garnishing

Add all the ingredients to the bottom half of a shaker tin. Add your one large cube, and 2 small, or fill 2/3 full with regular ice. Shake until very cold. Double strain using a Hawthorne strainer and a mesh strainer into a chilled cocktail glass.

*To make the simple syrup combine equal parts sugar and water and bring to a gentle boil until the liquid is clear. Store in a mason jar in the fridge for about a month.

You can also batch these Daiquiris in a blender with ice if you want more of a slushy drink. For one drink, simply pour over crushed ice. I would use wineglasses here instead of cocktail glasses.

Daiquiris are traditionally thought of as summertime drinks, but with a few changes we can easily transition them into cocktails for the colder months. Think along the lines of an aged rum like the Appleton Estate I used for the East India Trading Co. cocktail, winter citrus like blood oranges or Meyer lemons, simple syrups that are infused with spices like the Tippleman’s Burnt Sugar syrup that I used in my Rum and Root Old-fashioned, and liqueurs that have the same flavor profile like Dry CuraƧao, Apricot Liqueur, and even an Amaro like Montenegro. Just keep the ratios the same as those in the Hemingway Daiquiri, and then adjust from there if you think you need to. The possibilities are endless – I can’t wait to try some of them!

Have a great weekend! See you all on Monday when we’ll be talking about that friend that gets you into trouble all the time… you guessed it – her name is Tequila.

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