Let me offer a recipe for a dynamite end-of-the-year cocktail. First, thaw out a variety of frozen resolutions, being careful to discard the ones not suitable for recycling. Warm these slowly and lovingly in the glow of a renewed appreciation for your friends and family. Some of the defrosted resolutions will float to the surface of this warming appreciation. These are compatible with the cocktail and should be stirred carefully. Most of your old frozen resolutions simply will evaporate, leaving behind a slightly pungent aroma. Don’t worry. This is normal.
As the mixture warms, the resolutions will start to harden, which will serve to prolong the flavor and preservative power of the cocktail. The appreciation should brighten if you are sufficiently attentive to the brewing process. If this appreciation is properly seasoned and refined, all unsavory negatives will already have been strained out. If not, this is the perfect opportunity to remove and discard them. Occasionally, these negatives are too thick and coarse to be easily separated. If so, allow them to simmer with your resolutions. This may take some time, but eventually, these negatives will be absorbed by the resolutions. If carefully done, this absorption will add a pleasing after-taste to your beverage.
At this point, sprinkle in some fresh resolutions. For best results, these should have been carefully cultivated throughout the year. But I hasten to add that fast-growing, late harvested resolutions can produce a perfectly suitable cocktail if the roots have achieved an appropriate depth. At all costs, avoid instant, mass produced, one-size-fits-all resolutions. They will make the mixture much too sugary. It may be enjoyable for the short term, but you will lose the full-bodied, long lasting flavor and nutritious benefits of a well crafted cocktail.
At this point in the brewing process, I suggest you experiment with some of your favorite spices. Music, for example, can be mixed in to add flavor, color and body to your creation. Some gourmets suggest singing and dancing. Some of the more exotic and daring innovators have produced interesting results by adding yodeling to the process. I have tried this myself, but my results have not been satisfactory. I intend to work on my technique and try again in a year or two.
Be sure to keep the end product in mind. It should not be frothy, dull and tepid. Avoid additives that excessively darken and harden the cocktail. Be mindful that some resolutions have an extremely short shelf-life. By now, you should be able to discern the difference between resolutions that retain their freshness over time and those that lose their flavor in a day or two. The worst resolutions are those that quickly become bitter.
Sometimes, the brew is so potent it brings tears to the eyes. Do not be alarmed. I have found that this is often an indicator that the end product will be most satisfying, long-lasting and enriching. If the watery eyes persist into the first two weeks of the year and are accompanied by delusions, uncontrollable outbursts, night sweats and a thirst for blood, discard the remaining cocktail and seek counseling.
Once the cocktail is strong, full-bodied and aromatic, turn off the heat and let it steep. At this point, I have found it useful to season the cocktail with a classic movie. This year, at the suggestion of my friend Phil (we’ve known each other since we were 6 years old) I chose “Casablanca.” Turns out it was a good choice.
At one point in the movie, the cynical Rick (played by Humphrey Bogart in case you don’t know) makes the statement: “I stick my neck out for no one.” Of course, he goes on throughout the movie to stick his neck out for everyone. To my delight, that comment inspired me to add a bright new resolution to my year-end cocktail. This year, ole Hink is determined to stick his neck out for more folks. I just threw that in the mix to see how it works. You should try it.
Anyway, give this concoction a spin. If you’re lucky, it’ll stick to your ribs and serve as a wholesome intoxicant throughout the balance of the year.
Oh, by the way, Dec. 25 was the 110th anniversary of “Bogey’s” birthday. Just another reason to celebrate the season. I hope everyone has a great new year. Cheers.
I’m Hink and I’ll see ya.
Wed, December 30, 2009
by Michael Hinkle