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Cocktail Musings: A Certain House Revisited

Cocktail Musings: A Certain House Revisited

In my last post, I mentioned that it was the start of Pisces season, a sign that happens to occupy the place in my personal birth chart that helps me to understand the feeling of being home, and so I have found myself preoccupied with these ideas throughout this past week. Many of us move multiple times over the course of our lives and, as a result, we often understand the idea of home as being related to a particular house at a certain stage of our lives. Each time we move, it’s not exactly as though we’re starting over, although we sometimes say that, but more that we are adding on another layer to a base that is already rich with experience. When I think of my childhood houses, I recognize how foundational they were for my understanding of home, especially in terms of teaching me certain things that I wanted to carry forward, as well as others that I knew I had to leave behind. When I consider the two homes that I attempted to bring into being for my own family, first when they were young and then again later after my parents had died, I know that I did both well in many ways, but missed the mark in others. I am certain that these opposites are playing out in the homes my children are currently creating. I radically changed my own concept of home just over six years ago when I ventured out alone for the first time ever, not to start over but to make a necessary change that filled me with a combination of terror, sadness, and hope, often in unequal parts. Over time, I learned that it was possible to keep many of the things that mattered so much to me and still take my life in a direction that was different, so long as I remained fundamentally who I had always been. What couldn’t quite remain intact, however, was the idea of home that I had created for my children. I had toppled that, and because I was well aware of the pain that I had caused, I have tried to rebuild on our original foundation, albeit in ways that were small and very different. In my case, home could not yet be found in a house, but I have longed for the day when I could provide that sense again.

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Friday Musings: A Shot to the Heart

Friday Musings: A Shot to the Heart

There are many things I’ve learned since becoming a cocktail blogger. I’ve learned that the world of spirits, liqueurs, bitters, and mixers is a huge one, with an infinite number of directions to go in. I’ve learned that bartenders love to talk about what they do, especially if you are a person who recognizes how much art there is in making a truly great drink. I’ve learned that the same is true of distillers, and I’ve gained tremendous respect and appreciation for local craft spirits. I’ve learned that spending a night sitting at a great bar really can make you forget your troubles, not because of the alcohol involved, but because of the people you’re there with and the connection you share. I’ve learned that there are times when tequila can make you see things more clearly, that DRAM Apothecary bitters are perfection in a bottle, that I really don’t like cherries as a garnish, and that making the perfect drink for someone brings me an amazing sense of joy. I was surprised to learn that seeing my 1000th follower pop up on Instagram would make me cry, and even more surprised to watch my blog’s numbers climb slowly and steadily each week.

The fact of the matter is that I believe that the universe gives us exactly what we need at exactly the right time. When last summer swung an emotional baseball bat at my head, it was this blog that got me upright again. It was the shot to the heart that I needed, but it couldn’t exist without all of you who actually read what I write every day. I am so incredibly grateful. And I am mildly amused to know that I accompany so many of you to the bathroom each morning! I’ve centered today’s cocktail around an ingredient that never fails to get the heart going: espresso! I’m using it in this drink as a reduced simple syrup instead of going with a coffee liqueur, most of which I really don’t like. I’ve combined it with tequila (for clarity, of course), yellow Chartreuse because it’s like sunshine and warmth, sweet Vermouth for its spicy bitterness, and 2 different types of bitters: DRAM Citrus Medica to brighten everything up, and Bittermens Xocolatl Mole to bring  in some chocolate flavor. The egg white (or vegan substitute) in the drink is completely optional; I tasted it without it and liked it just as much. You decide! If you go with the egg white then you can dust the top with some cocoa powder. If not, then I’d use an orange peel as my garnish.

A Shot to the Heart

2 oz Gran Centenario Tequila Blanco
½ oz Sweet Vermouth*
½ oz Yellow Chartreuse
½ oz espresso reduction syrup**
1 dash Bittermens Xocolatl Mole bitters (or Fee Brothers Aztec chocolate)
1 dash DRAM Citrus Medica bitters (or orange bitters)
1 oz egg white (or more) or vegan equivalent, like chick pea liquid (optional)

If you are using the egg white, then combine all the ingredients in a shaker tin without ice. Shake vigorously to get the egg white to foam, add the ice and then shake again. Strain into a cocktail, Martini, or Nick & Nora glass. Enjoy!

*Make 1 cup of very strong espresso. Add ¾ of a cup of sugar and heat very gently in a pot until the mixtures thickens and forms a syrup. It should take about 10-12 minutes. Store in a Mason jar in the fridge for about 2-3 weeks.

**Following the Death & Co. lead, I used equal parts of Dolin Rouge and Punt E Mes.

Have a great weekend everyone! See you all on Monday.