Emerald Holiday: 2 Years Later
Staring down at a cocktail feels a lot different than it did two years ago. Once an escape, a flavor, something to just sip on, the cocktail has become, more than ever, a beacon, a siren's song calling out, offering a familiar feeling of comfort. Lately, I've been thinking about how far we've pushed and how much we've overcome since day one.
Hello again my most thirsty readers. Today, I woke up thinking about my morning two years ago. I set out to write a passage, with a cocktail recipe, every day when bars and restaurants shut their doors across the country, and in most cases, the world. It was a truly magical journey. I felt connected to all of you each day, weaving a tale around another libation, hoping to replace some of what we'd lost, when we could no longer connect in person. As the 100th day approached, it felt as though things were getting back to "normal," as much as that was possible, and I wanted to encourage everyone to venture back out, supporting all of my cocktail colleagues, who'd been out of work. Today, that feels like a lifetime ago.
It's been an interesting period of time to live for everyone, but I feel like those of us in the hospitality sector have seen it from a slightly different vantage point. We've been spit at, threatened, and compared to Nazis for enforcing social distancing and vaccine mandates, some of which are government mandated, and not even our choice in the first place. In case you still need to hear this, it's not the hostess's call whether you need to wear a mask or have a vaccine. They are only trying to do their job and make a living, just like the rest of the world right now.
I've seen so many people lose their faith in humanity. The ugly in the world has just spewed out in the most concentrated manner, and I feel pretty comfortable saying a certain orange fellow didn't help put society in the best mindset to be good to one another during a pandemic. Every time we need to join together, there always seems to be this "what's in it for me" mentality. Like a child throwing a tantrum, otherwise intelligent and reasonable grown adults have lost their sense of demeanor, which my hospitality brethren and I have had a front row seat to witness, but as bad as this all sounds, there has been a glorious silver lining.
We, as a society, have overcome so much. We have overcome things we couldn't have possible imagined, all while certain sections of humanity seemed hellbent to create the single-handed destruction of the human race. Many, lives have been lost, and many homes have been turned upside down. If you're reading this right now, you can take comfort in you resilience. You are a warrior for what you've overcome, for what we've overcome together. Thinking back two years, I'm reminded of everyone learning to cook and make drinks at home, rediscovering their passions, finding new passions, and so much bread. Do you remember all of the bread?
On a personal, shaker level, I feel grateful for being in my hometown of Pittsburgh, after so many years away. It took the entire world hitting the "off switch," but there's something about getting back to your roots, that really brings a sense of comfort. I've had the opportunity to team up with my friends at Hidden Harbor, and we've created some real magic together. Just the other night, I was working in our beer and vinyl bar, The Independent Brewing Company, and I threw on a Jay-Z album towards the end of the night. It feels like, after all we've been through, we can all "Go on and brush our shoulders off" in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds. It's been a truly wild ride to say the least my friends. With today being St. Patrick's Day and all, you're probably ready for a drink.
1.5oz Multi-Island White Rum (I used one from my friends at Marsh House, in Louisiana.)
1.5oz Cream of Coconut
1oz Vanilla Syrup
.5oz Lime Juice
1.5oz Orange Juice
2 dashes Absinthe
8-10 Mint Leaves
Add all ingredients, along with 1.5 cups of crushed ice to your blender.
Blend at high speed until the mint is fully incorporated.
Garnish with mint sprigs, orange slice, and flower.
Taking inspiration from the Donn Beach classic, Missionary's Downfall, this creamy, minty drink bridges the gap between sweet, rich, and comforting winter, and bright, herbal spring.
Happy two years of survival my friends. While you're toasting today, whether it's a dram of whiskey, a green beer, or perhaps an Emerald Holiday, let's not forget about those who are no longer with us. With everything we've lost I truly hope we've gained some understanding. I can only hope this chapter in our lives has made us stronger, ready for anything, and as a collective, a people who will show the world we will always keep shaking.