I am currently sitting in the dining room of my friend’s Red Hook apartment, at a stately and beautiful walnut table tainted with the insignia of my “productivity”; Laptop, papers, books I probably won’t read, broken but still working headphones, crumpled receipts, and a large, partially used paper towel cover – not even torn at the perforated seam – that I refuse to throw away if I get it need. My hair has the distinctive hairstyle of the unwashed and tousled. I’m wearing a long-sleeved New York Knicks shirt that my friend lent me because the weather has cooled down a bit, and of course, despite the oversized Herschel monster I brought with me on my trip, I managed not to pack as usual of the weather to change. It’s a special edition shirt, he tells me. I nod silently. I have no idea about sports. I thought he was a Mets fan.
Me and this plastic flamingo on the other side of the table have been staring at each other for 10 minutes. The stray viewer may notice that the rigid, dust-covered eye of the lifeless bird seems to convey a more serious expression than the living, breathing object of its gaze. The flamingo doesn’t have a name (which I know), but it sits enthroned and leans arbitrarily in a spacious planter that is home to a large and cheerful Spathiphyllum named George.
George has been around for quite a while and has seen some shit. Moving from Carroll Gardens to Red Hook thirteen years ago; Hurricane sandy; the neighbor next door who forgot to water them while my friend was gone for three weeks in the middle of summer. Last night, while Ida was raging her devastating and terrifying tirade over New York, George and the flamingo appeared stunned; their existence unchanged. I could take a page from your book. Meanwhile the sun is shining, the sky is blue (the weather and its habit of changing), a car was just passing by with speaker subs working overtime; perhaps another cue for me worth taking.
But although I, too, had the absurd luck of being largely left alone by Ida, I am not as imperturbable as my table colleagues or as relaxing as outside. Today I have a hangover and the fog is thick.
A mist cutter? How about a fog dweller.
I’m sure most of you have heard of the Fog Cutter: a tiki cocktail invented by Trader Vic around World War II that features cream sherry on an unyielding blend of citrus juice, orgeat, and three different liquors (usually white Rum) swims, schnapps and gin). But it would be rude and insincere (and exceed the allotted ingredients for this column) for me to feign any ability to penetrate any type of fog. The blind lead the blind and everything.
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Long battery life perfect for students.
So here’s another drink instead. Let’s call it the fog dweller. I haven’t had access to a decent, aged agricole rhum in two years, so I intend to keep using it while I can. The same goes for the beautiful crushed ice made of pebbles that the bar next door is so gracious to me. My Red Hook host also owns one of my favorite tiki cups, a set lava cup that he can’t persuade to sell me but that I am allowed to use while I’m here. A drink made up of little things that make me feel a little better.
Try it out if you want:
- 1 ounce lime juice
- ½ ounce Giffards apricot liquor (I have to insist you use Giffards as it is delicious)
- ¼ ounce cane syrup (or plain)
- 2 ounces of aged Agricole Rhum (I won’t insist, but I highly recommend Rhum JM)
- Nutmeg for grating.
Put all the ingredients (except the nutmeg) in a tumbler and swirl well to work the ingredients. Fill a tiki mug (or whatever, work what you have) with crushed or broken ice and sift in a quarter of the liquid mixture, then press the ice into place with the bottom of the mug. (The liquid melts the ice a little and creates more space in the glass so you can get the maximum capacity for crushed ice.)
Add more ice and strain the rest of the liquid into the glass filled with ice. Top up with more ice and then dust generously with freshly grated nutmeg. Make it snow – or fog – it will add some drama to the presentation, but it will also help solidify the flavor.