You guys, it is taking a lot not to just unload a bunch of stream-of-consciousness rambling on you right now. I was going to, and then I thought, why I don’t I just say I’m not going to, and then people will know where my brain is at without having to actually wade through all the random crapola that’s swimming around in my head, and instead read about how I decided to keep all that to myself. It’s just one of many services I provide.
Instead, I will ramble on about one specific thing: cocktails. I have been craving them lately. Fancy ones, with liqueurs I can’t pronounce and bizarre colors and garnishes. Like the “Dark Matter” at 8407 Kitchen Bar in Silver Spring, which is described as “Macchu Pisco, Luxardo-Maraschino Liqueur, Green Chartreuse, Lime, Black Currant Cube” in the cocktail menu. The black currant and the chartreuse made it taste quite sexy, which was just what I was looking for. Then at the LivingSocial Speakeasy, I had a “Sazer-wrecked!” (the exclamation point is not my idea), which is “Rittenhouse Rye 100, Pierre Ferrand 1840, Pernod Absinthe, Bitters.” That was quite excellent, a good drink for a cold night, a warm fluffy quilt of a drink.
It started when I almost went to brunch a few weeks ago: I had been anticipating that brunch because the cocktail menu listed Death in the Afternoon, which I learned is absinthe and Champagne. And then the OkCupid date I was supposed to be meeting stood me up,* and yet the craving for anise flavor that hit when I discovered you could combine absinthe and Champagne persisted. Which is funny, because I used to be staunchly anti-licorice, and had always found anything flavored with anise yucky.
The first time I tried absinthe was, of course, at the Manderley. I thought it was interesting, but kind of gross. The next time we went, we took new friends, and the absinthe shot beforehand felt like part of the ritual, exciting and magical like everything that touched the McKittrick. The excitement and magic have attached themselves to the taste of absinthe, and I just crave it now.
It’s always a beautiful surprise when you discover that your tastes have evolved to embrace something new. I tend to develop intense cravings for new things that I encounter this way, because why simply like a thing when you can obsess over it? A few years ago, I discovered, quite to my surprise, that I had developed a profound love of the color orange, about which I had always been at best ambivalent. As love often does, it prompted me to make some questionable choices, like painting my kitchen the color of a traffic cone. But it takes those small catastrophes for us to learn and grow as people.
*And then — then! — my dear friend who was supposed to meet me for brunch at the same establishment stood me up last weekend. He has promised to atone with Champagne cocktails as well as chicken and waffles next weekend, so I can’t stay mad.