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When I picture my perfect Memorial Day — meaning the Monday proper, after most of us have had our share of barbecue beers and whatnot — what I’d really like to do on that day is sit on a porch, in a nice, big, comfy chair (rocking, or Adirondack — I’m not picky) and spend the afternoon reading a good book and sipping on something wonderful.
The key part of that scenario is the porch. I love porches. Back decks are for frat boys; porches are for ladies. Patios are for Ice Storm-era outdoor key parties; porches are for timeless, halcyon-hazy relaxation and reflection. Stoops are for selling your old shit; porches are, gloriously, for doing as little shit as possible.
I’d made some iced tea earlier this week. I’d made it for Sean’s Uncle Kit, who had dinner at our place while he was in town for work and who doesn’t drink. I made an iced white tea infused with lemon and spiked with ginger water. (Ginger water = what’s left over when you boil fresh ginger to make candied ginger. I made a lot of candied ginger in the fall and saved the water in Popsicle molds.) It was so good that I couldn’t wait for my teetotaler to leave so I could use it to whip up a cocktail.
January can put me in a certain mood, a dicey mix of contemplative and bored (for which booze is probably never a good chaser, but anyway). Since nothing happens in January, my mind’s left to dwell on December’s heedless indulgences and… well, let me start from the beginning.
When I originally made this cocktail for a friend’s holiday party two years ago, it was the first time I’d written a recipe entirely in my head. In fact, I don’t think I’d even tasted Absolut Kurant before I thought to put it in this drink. A chef I interviewed years prior told me he subscribed to a “that sounds great” philosophy of dish-inventing, that if your tongue relishes articulating “coriander encrusted mahi mahi” or “sweet potato fries dipped in banana-guava ketchup” then it’ll probably enjoy eating those things, too. So, having just moved back to New York and with no money to spare on cocktail experimentin’, my party drink came together hypothetically. I wanted it to taste like ice skating on a frozen pond. I pictured Charlie Brown’s friends catching snowflakes on their tongues. (“It’s fun!”)