Thursday, September 13, 2012

Flyover Country

Tonight's cocktail, I had at a lovely restaurant in flyover country with McDreamy last weekend. It's called a Boston Martha, and it contains (ahem): "magnolia oolong infused Irish whiskey, yellow chartreuse, honey, and egg white." Here's a picture McDreamy took of me enjoying it:



Actually, at first when I asked him to take a picture, this is what he took. He was very pleased with himself.


I haven't tried to make this cocktail yet - it's a little intimidating. First, I had to research magnolia oolong tea - apparently this is a thing in China. As for chartreuse, I had to look that up, too, and it's a liqueur infused with 130 different herbs, made by French Carthusian monks for the past 4 centuries. At any time, only 2 monks in the order know the recipe, and they've taken vows of silence. That, or they're really wasted, because it's 110 proof. The cocktail had a nice light floral/citrus/herb taste, not too sweet, and as the ice melted, it brought out a lot of wonderful sweet/woody flavors from the whiskey. The egg white gave it a soft, silky texture. That really sounds pretentious, doesn't it?

Which leads me, as always, to a point. I chose to feature cocktails in this blog because they symbolize something to me: the rare freedom to explore something for the simple reason that I enjoy it. It's not something I had much opportunity to do over the past 15 years. Other than the swill we all drank in college, I didn't expand much beyond beer and wine until after my marriage ended. Long, leisurely, gourmet dinners with creative libations weren't my ex's thing. Camping in the rain after a day of tramping around looking for birds was more his thing. We tended to do his thing instead of my thing. I think that's why I started ordering cocktails at restaurants after we split - it felt so luxurious, such a tangible departure from the person who, if she'd done the same thing while married, would have gotten this face:


Not impressed.
I like making cocktails for the same reasons I like to cook: you can combine different techniques and ingredients to bring out different flavors, and once you grasp the basics, you can get really creative. I don't drink to excess (often), but a yummy cocktail at the end of the day is refreshing and relaxing, and sometimes it helps take the edge off when my kids are behaving like rabid howler monkeys. Also, I like making them for my friends.

A lot of women, especially moms, feel guilty about pushing our own agendas and doing something just because it's what we want to do, regardless of what anyone else wants. We spend a lot of time taking care of other people, especially while our children are tiny. It's easy to get lost in the blur and give up so much of ourselves that we lose who we are. My big mistake was that I didn't insist on sometimes having what I wanted.

Obviously, I'm not advocating widescale selfishness and hedonism. I'm just saying that what we want is important, too, and most fathers are rarely asked to sacrifice their priorities to the same extent as most mothers. If you don't ask for what you want, you're not going to get it, and then you're going to be pissed off and resentful, and then you'll lose your damn mind. Don't let it come to that.

As to the weekend with McDreamy, it was lovely. It was amazing to reconnect, and we had a wonderful time. Ahem.

Worth the trip.

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