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  • Brian Maxwell

Day 38: Southern Exile


"I was good. Some nights I was almost as good as I thought I was. At least that's what I'm told. Then I destroyed it all. My devils chased me out of Paris, and I washed up in New Orleans. I sentenced myself to hard labor shucking oysters, and today is the last day of my penance." I knew, once I heard these words in 2015's Burnt, starring Bradley Cooper, it wasn't going to be one of those movies I could walk away from. I knew right there, thirsty readers, I was about to feel "seen" right there in my own living room, and I was going to have to be okay with that.


Now before everyone eats me alive for liking this movie, I'll be the first to say this movie has some toxic issues from a cultural standpoint. Cooper's character is an abusive, sociopath chef, who behaves in ways most of us would never tolerate from our boss. The cooking is in no way representational of a Michelin starred restaurant, and this is hopefully the last representation of the "abusive chef" stereotype, which has been glorified for way too long.


You're probably wondering, "so why do you like this movie again?" For me, this movie wasn't about a megalomaniac chef, who's terribly delusional and abusive to his staff. This film, for me, was a story of addiction and redemption. To crumble under your own demons and lose it all, time and time again, was my story as well. We rarely have a chance at redemption, after royally screwing up, but I was given several. I'm not proud to tell you today, I took much longer to realize these things than I'd like to admit, but the biggest part is accepting your mistakes and moving forward. It's just like we need to do in today's crisis.


Former president Barrack Obama summed up how I felt better than I had ever heard before. "This idea of purity, and you’re never compromised, and you’re always politically woke and all that stuff. You should get over that quickly. The world is messy. There are ambiguities. People who do really good stuff have flaws." This rings so true with the "stronger together" mentality I hear so much today. Maybe we shouldn't judge Cooper's character, or his "southern exile," so harshly. If that's true, maybe I could stop judging myself as well.


Southern Exile

1oz Blanco Tequila (I like crisp character of Fortaleza Blanco in this one.)

1.5oz Blanc Vermouth (Dolin)

.25oz Creme de Peche (Giffard)

.25oz Blue Curacao (Combier le Bleu)

2 dashes Chicory Pecan Bitters (El Guapo has a great range of less than typical bitters, including this one.)


Nick & Nora Glass

Stir and strain into chilled glass.

Garnish with expressed lime peel.


*The fun, lower-proof nature of this cocktail was something I created with the idea of sitting outside on a hot Louisiana day, drinking something that won't completely knock you into a stupor. *


Saying life is messy right now would be an understatement. I understand that. In this new world, we are trying to figure things out. Joining together seems to be the only way we will make it out, and that might mean a bit more understanding of each other. No matter how you feel about others, you might not know what they've overcome to get to where they are. Let's all try and hate a little less, love a little more, and keep shaking.

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