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  • Brian Maxwell

Day 82: Happiness Pursued


I think it was about five years ago, but those memories can be a bit hazy at times. Maybe it was six years. I was at a bar for a Tales of the Cocktails event in New Orleans. I wasn't really sure if I even wanted to socialize, as it had been a really rough week. Tales, though fun, always took a lot out of me, and I was ready to call it quits, by the time the end of the week rolled around. I was about to head to my hotel and call it a night. Just as I was heading out the door, this louder-than-life, gravely-voiced guy hands me a cocktail and tells me to stay. "We're just getting started," he says.


Suddenly, I was caught up in the party, as he led me around, making sure I talked to everyone. He was right, things had only begun! I came out of that week, caring more deeply about what I did, and letting loose that night was a big part of it all. I would've gone home, feeling burnt out, and I don't even know if I would have continued in this business much longer without that night re-energizing and re-focusing me. BEfore that trip, I was feeling depressed, and I was considering changing careers. I certainly wouldn't have made these past 81 cocktails for you all to enjoy. I'll never forget that night in New Orleans, the night when I almost missed out. That mysterious guy's name was John Lermayer, and there's only one.


Hello, my thirsty readers. Today is a rather big day in my life, and I wanted to share it with you all. A few major things happened on this day, exactly two years ago. First, I'll get the bad part out. Two years ago, we lost a good friend, and it was John Lermayer. Waking up that morning, was something very different indeed.


I woke up extremely hungover that day. My drinking benders had gotten a lot worse lately. I was splitting my time between New York and Philadelphia, doing projects in both cities. My partner at the time was getting pretty fed up with my behavior, but I just couldn't seem to get myself together enough to even try. I wanted to, but something inside me wouldn't let go of the drinking. Alcoholics usually talk about hitting their "bottom," before they can get sober. As much as I'd destroyed my life up to then, I guess mine just hadn't come.


The first thing I did, staying put in bed for awhile, was scroll through my social media feeds. I hadn't seen John in awhile, but I kept seeing photos and videos of him coming up in my feed. I guess it was my still-inebriated state of mind that couldn't put two-and-two together. Maybe it was after the fifth or sixth post, when I finally read one of the captions. John was no longer with us.


It took some time to sink in, that I will never get to see my friend again. I'll never be able to thank him for all the times he brought me out of the pit of my own depression. John had a way of doing that, he just kind of lit-up the room. I needed to head back to New York, so I dragged myself out of bed and hopped in the shower.


On the train back to New York, I reached out to a few mutual friends of John in the city, hoping someone was doing something that night in his memory. Sure enough, everyone was meeting up at a few bars, having drinks, sharing John stories, and just toasting to his life. After several stops, collecting friends along the way, we ended up at the Nomad Hotel.


John's favorite thing to drink was Krug Champagne, so they lined up flutes along the bar, and we all did a toast, honoring our lost friend. There came a moment of clarity for me. I looked around, seeing so many of my friends, colleagues, and so many faces I'd come to know over the years. Everyone hurt, people were crying, and it dawned on me, "They're going to have one of these for me some day, if I don't stop." That's the moment I put down my champagne. That's the moment I called an Uber home. That's the moment I had my last drink.


I'll never be able to thank my friend for what he's done for me. No amount of words could ever sum up what that moment did for my life. I honestly don't think I'd be here today. I lost a friend that day. We lost someone we looked up to that day, but through it all, I finally got my life back. Thank you so much John, for giving me a chance to pursue my happiness.


Happiness Pursued

1oz Passion Fruit Syrup

1oz Coconut Cream

1oz Lime Juice

.5oz Vanilla Syrup

2oz Coconut Water


Empty Young Coconut

Whip shake and pour unstrained.

Top with crushed ice.

Garnish with mint sprigs, flower, swizzle, and powdered sugar.


*Yeah, this one is zero proof! I've given you 81 alcoholic libations already, so I thought maybe I could sneak one in that I could actually enjoy.*



What are you doing right now? Is it making you happy? It is bringing joy to you or the people around you? Go out there and find what makes you happy, and pursue your happiness. People might laugh in your face. They might think you're crazy, but in the words of P.T Barnum, "No one ever made a difference by being like everyone else." This is your moment, so get out there, enjoy your life. I'll be sitting here remembering, being thankful.

Pursue happiness and keep shaking.

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