I feel like I have been surrounded by a lot of death lately. My house has been infested with ants so there’s Raid at just about every corner of our kitchen and living room, and I find myself wiping up dead ants multiple times a day. There’s even a dead bird outside of my house; but honestly I kind of like to keep it around because it reminds me of my good friend Sarah who use to collect them during college (art student and all, you know?).
The other day a good friend and mentor of mine was at my place enjoying a night cap after a great meal at Two Ten Jack. I recently decided to test out my green-thumb by growing my own basil and mint for garnishing cocktails. I was so excited when my basil plant started blooming flowers, I was all “Wow! Look at what a great gardner I am, my basil is blooming these beautiful flowers!”. So you could only imagine my despair when Jen exclaimed that I needed to clip them off immediately or they would eventually kill my basil plant. “But they’re so beautiful”, I exclaimed. She told me to use them for a garnish. So I did.
And you know, it kind of got me thinking. I guess that’s what life is all about; finding beauty in the ugly. I was fortunate to receive a phone call from my good friend Cessna this morning and we were talking about stifled creativity, something that we both have been experiencing. And basically, our entire conversation came down to this idea of needing to free ourselves from things in our day-to-day that are holding us back, but also allowing that stifledness to push us forward; finding beauty and creativity in those moments of blankness and anguish. We have the tools inside of us and all around us, it’s up to us how we use them.
Which, brings me to this cocktail I created today, Dearly Departed. I took the beautiful flower that grew on my basil plant to use for the garnish and built this drink around that. Allowing something that was stifling my basil plant, the ugly if you will, to be the motivating force around creating this drink. So, Whiskey Women, I hope you will mix this drink up at home and I hope it brings you something new, allowing you to push forward in some way. I hope you allow it to be the end of something that is no longer serving you, and the start of something magical. Find beauty in the ugly. xox
1 Basil Leaf
1/4 ounce Basil Simple Syrup
1 ounce Sweet Vermouth
1 1/2 ounces Dewar’s White Label Scotch
3 Dashes Angostura Bitters
1/4 ounce Black Rum (make it a heavy pour)
Basil flower for garnish (or just basil leaves if you are decent at gardening).
Muddle the strawberry and basil leaf with basil simple syrup in a shaker. Add in the sweet vermouth, Dewar’s, Angostura and ice. Give it a firm, but light shake. Fine strain over fresh ice. Float rum on top and garnish with your beautifully ugly basil flower.
So there you have it, the Dearly Departed. I know you’re not technically suppose to shake Sweet Vermouth and I know rum isn’t a whiskey and to be honest, I don’t really care. I just let my feelings guide me this afternoon and used what I had around the house to create this tiki-inspired drink.
And just for the record, when I opened my package of freshly bought strawberries they were all riddled with mold except for three. The Dewar’s that I used was taken from my recently deceased grandmother’s house (who was the coolest Whiskey Woman in the entire world) and ants were instantly attracted to that basil simple syrup. When life gives you lemons, muddle them and make a sour (or something like that).