Sea Change (+ a Date Shake)

[The Atlantic at Anfa, September 2014.]

Fall has magical qualities — the light shifts, leaves drift down softly (even in North Africa), the sky is the deepest, bluest sky you’ll see all year. The wind has picked up off of the ocean here and on afternoons it scrubs the houses of my neighborhood and burnishes the wild leaves on the hedge and tosses about the great fronds of the banana tree that is cozied up to my front door. Sierra and I have been taking advantage of these cooler days by sitting on a blanket in our yard and looking up at the palm trees, the birds already heading south, the clouds blowing out to sea. This season is my favorite and I am glad to find it’s still so, even in a new(ish) place. First fall in Morocco, first fall with the wee one awake and aware of it all. It’s impossible not to want to slow down and soak up the sun, the wind, these precious days before her first birthday. And so we are; we are paring life down to its most simple and trying to get out of doors as much as we can manage.

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Tea and Such

For fun, I’m running some posts from a few years back because, err, life is a wee bit busy at the moment (also, I’m feeling nostalgic, as I typically tend to in fall). This piece was first published on Nov. 8, 2011.

[Tea, October 2011.]

How I love coffee; I sincerely could count the ways: 1. I love it for its little zing of caffeine that, once it enters my bloodstream, delivers a hit of euphoria that can’t be beat; 2. I love it because I usually procure it elsewhere, meaning that I don’t make it myself (I’m lazy about it, and frankly I don’t make the best cup of coffee. I’m OK with that.) and thus must make a special effort to go get a cup, thus making it a bit of an event, which is fun; 3. I love it for its flavor; 4. I love it because c’mon, it’s coffee

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A Winter Drink

When it comes to drinking alcohol in the winter, I am pretty simple. I want good, dark glasses of red wine, preferably sipped slowly in front of a fire with a dog at my feet and a book in my hand (if that’s not possible, I’ll take the book and my blue chair near the front windows of my apartment where I like to curl up for hours during a rainstorm). Sometimes champagne, because champagne is always one of my favorite drinks regardless of season (though it seems particularly appropriate around the holidays). Sometimes even a gin and tonic, though I’ve been ‘off’ those lately because the tonic seems a touch too bitter (I know I will come back around in time). Very occasionally a glass of scotch, which I will make last an entire evening (it’s strong stuff). And of course a pint on a sunny January afternoon after a long hike is always appreciated.

Still, mixed drinks are typically not in my everyday wheelhouse. And yet last week, after a day spent in and out of an unreasonably warm and sunny day in San Francisco, my mind fixed upon making a special drink. It was Valentine’s Day after all, I thought as a precursor to dinner we should have a drink. Not champagne, though; a proper drink.

We had a lot of limes rattling around in the fridge and DW is a big bourbon fan (I can’t say I don’t like the stuff, myself), so it all came together fairly quickly. Googling ‘bourbon and lime’ brought up a host of recipes – some complicated, some not – and I settled on something titled a ‘bourbon lime rickey’ because its main ingredients were bourbon, lime juice, agave syrup, and seltzer, all of which were readily available in my kitchen.

It’s a funny name, ‘rickey’. Wikipedia has just informed me that its origins may lie with someone named Colonel Joe Rickey, who in 1883 “was purported to have invented the “Joe Rickey”, after a bartender at Shoomaker’s in Washington, D.C. added a lime to his “mornin’s morning”, a daily dose of Bourbon with lump ice and Apollinaris sparkling mineral water. It is made with little to no sugar, which is right up my alley; I did slip in a bit of the agave but may try leaving it out another time. It’s difficult to say if it needs it – the lime and bourbon complement each other beautifully, with neither overpowering the other. It is light, fresh, and easily consumable.

Last Thursday night the temperature began to drop a bit but our apartment was warm because of the oven, and we drank our drinks down thirstily. We may have had another. (Note: they are slightly dangerous because it’s difficult to stop at just one or two.) This winter in California has been remarkably dry and sunny and while I know we need the rain I am soaking it all in greedily, wishing it could last forever. As it can’t, and I know it, I will make these drinks and savor every drop.