It still feels like it should be mid-November to me. In my mind, Thanksgiving happened just a week ago, and I have this false notion that I still have a few more weeks left until Christmas. Just this evening, I counted out the remaining days on one hand, and it hit me that the holiday is less than a week away. We still haven’t put up a tree or made a wreath for our front door, two traditions we thoroughly enjoy doing, and I still have yet to wrap and mail my family’s gifts. They’ll simply have to arrive late this year. And we’ll have to roll without a tree.
I think the bustle has really gotten to me. I had two missions at the store last night: grab a bag of ice and pick up some candied ginger. An easy task. I found the ginger and asked for a bag of ice to be added to my order. Done. I paid for both, neglected to go and pick up the bag of ice, and walked directly to my car. This is the same brain that forgot about a pan of cookies I was baking about a week ago, and when the timer sounded, I simply turned it off and entirely forgot why I set the timer in the first place. Those cookies were black hockey pucks, when I remembered them about 45 minutes later.
Perhaps I’m losing it, but most likely I’m just cultivating a case mindlessness, an unhealthy dose of multitasking, which is the exact opposite of being present, intentional, and mindful. I’m ready for some kind of intervention.
I feel I’ve joked before about Fred Armisen’s character on the show, Portlandia, when he experiences the “MiND-Fi Fail,” and his brain overloads and crashes. Basically, he is stuck in a distracting and relentless technology loop. That’s where I am right about now. Amidst the overload of activities, emotions, and demands, I need to remember the people and things that matter most to me. And although the happenings this month have been rather non-traditional, and it hasn’t really felt like Christmas to me, I’m still doing my best to savor the moments that make me smile.
I can still choose joy in the holiday rush, in the quiet, snowy evenings, in the indulgent and excessive consumption of sugar cookies and baked goods, and in reading the cards from faraway friends and family members, many with whom I haven’t connected in months.
And I can just be.
If you’ve ever worked within the restaurant industry during the month of December, you know how insanely busy it can be. Right there in the company of festive, happy diners are the sour, angry, and bitter guests that demand the very same service and smiles you are digging deeply to deliver. I’ve come home depleted and drained almost every evening, ears ringing from the party-goers, music, and frenetic energy of the kitchen. If I hear the phrase, “Hands, please!!” yelled one more time, I think I might crack.
My December rituals are keeping me more sane than I would be, however, had I not taken the time to make them happen. A glass of wine, some deep breaths, a little incense, a few cozy candles, Christmas music in the background. It takes a while to unwind, but my rest is deeper, when I take these small measures for peace.
I’ve been making this cocktail on the regular over the past couple of weeks. It’s the epitome of cozy, a feeling I fiercely cultivate in my life, especially during this crazy month. We’re still finding ripe honeycrisp apples, and their sweet flavors pair well with the barrel-aged Old Tom Gin, bright ginger liqueur, and warm notes of cinnamon in this particular concoction.
Is Old Tom Gin something you regularly incorporate into your cocktails? Have you ever even tried it? Imbibe wrote an informative piece on what Old Tom Gin actually is and how it’s currently seeing a comeback. I have only recently begun to mix with it. I usually go for an Old Tom and tonic for a bitter and slightly spicy sip, but I am loving it in fall cocktails.
The cocktail’s name is yet another reference to a Portlandia episode, where the mayor goes missing. The entire city seems doomed because of his absence, but all ends well. In fact, the mayor was simply up for something new and joined a ragae band. It’s a pretty ridiculous episode, but I admire the mayor’s decision to up and leave his demanding job and follow his passion.
“the mayor is missing” | a honeycrisp, pimm’s + old tom gin cocktail
- 1/2 honeycrisp apple, cubed
- 1 1/2 ounces Ransom Spirits Old Tom Gin
- 1/4 ounce New Deal Distillery ginger liqueur
- 1/2 ounce Pimm’s No. 1 liqueur
- 3/4 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1/2 ounce honey-cinnamon simple syrup
- 1-2 dashes Miracle Mile orange bitters
- cinnamon stick for garnish
- star anise for garnish
- In a mixing tin, muddle the cubed honeycrisp apple until thoroughly juiced.
- Add ice, gin, ginger liqueur, Pimm’s, lemon juice, and honey-cinnamon simple syrup. Shake well.
- Double-strain into a cocktail glass, filled with fresh ice.
- Garnish with a couple of dashes of orange bitters, a star anise, cinnamon stick, and a sliced apple “fan.”
I might have one or two more holiday posts in me before the new year, but I’ll be taking a short break in January to visit my sister in Florida. I’m going to be an AUNTIE! She is the one, who should be getting the pat on the back, though, for this is her first, and the journey has been a little rocky at times. She is on the road to a healthy delivery and welcoming a sweet, little girl come the 11th. I can’t wait!
I wish you all a very Merry Christmas! I’m hoping to have a wintry punch for you the next time I’m here in this space. If I don’t follow through, perhaps I have gone missing, myself, for good reason. Hopefully, I will have picked up my piano practice and be performing in a four-piece band in a faraway city, or maybe I’ll be on an island learning to basket-weave, or perhaps I’ll be locked away in the local library finishing one of the many books I’ve started and then neglected! I’d take any of those! I’d even take a nap at this point and be quite content.