Day 189: I Won’t Drink Sparkling Cider and You Can’t Make Me

I just cannot bring myself to drink it. That is all. I have some kind of utterly irrational yet bone-deep hostility toward the notion of sparkling cider as a substitute for champagne/sparkling wine. (I actually find it odd overall that fizzy drinks are regarded as ‘festive,’ as if modern humans experienced the miracle of carbonation only on special occasions–I enjoy bubbly liquids as much as the next person, I guess, and I know this because they are WIDELY AVAILABLE.)

Maybe it’s the image I’ve held for so long of cider as the limp nonalcoholic substitute for champagne, the way there was always some kid in grade school whose mother would send carob cookies for class parties. Maybe it’s untested conviction (contempt prior to investigation, anyone?) that it will taste insipidly sweet and just remind me of what I can’t have anymore. Or maybe I’m just being stubborn and missing out on something fantastic. (Both have been known to happen…) All I know is I don’t want any, dammit.

Here is something I do like, though, adapted from Bon Appetit to take advantage of Meyer lemons being in season on the West Coast. Bon Appetit calls it a Meyer Lemon and Sage Presse. Goody for them, but I find the word ‘Presse’ profoundly irritating and refuse to employ it. We shall refer to it as a soda, or even just a ‘thing.’

Here is how you make the thing:

Put 1/4 cup of fresh sage leaves, 1/2 cup simple syrup, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, and 2 quartered Meyer lemons (regular lemons are fine too) in a pitcher and then just go right ahead and muddle the fuck out of them. (The mixing instructions are the ‘adapted’ part.) You now have a wonderful lemony-sage syrup on your hands, you champ! From there you can either add a 12 oz. can of club soda to the pitcher and mix it all together, or (my preference) keep the syrup separate and mix on a per-drink basis, playing around with the ratio of syrup to soda. I find that a ratio of 1 to 4/5 is just perfect–it’s incredibly refreshing and makes you go ‘ooh, interesting flavor!’ without being at all overbearing. Plus it has bubbles, so you know, it’s wildly festive.

Happy slightly crabby but happily sober New Year, friends. 🙂

Day 25: Mixology

I was taken aback this evening to realize the tasty mocktail I felt clever and smug for inventing is, in fact, a Shirley Temple. 

Aside from the revelation that I’m not a genius mixologist, life is sort of fine. I’m in some kind of liminal stage where sobriety is starting to feel like my default setting, but thinking ahead too many years or even days is still enough to panic me. Even then, though, my mind seems to be responding in new ways. Driving to work this morning, for instance, I suddenly thought ‘Wait, so I have to be sober every day for the rest of my life?’ And in the next second I thought ‘Would you rather drink a whole bottle of wine every night for the rest of your life? Because that was making you miserable.’ It’s thinking-in-extremes, of course–I’m prone to that–but I know which of the two ends of the spectrum I prefer. 

Funny–even while typing this entry, I had a moment of awe and pride–25 days!–followed closely by fatigue and a little fear–‘it’s only been 25 days?!’. So yeah, like I was saying: I’m living in the liminal plane these days. But that’s okay. The light is good here, and there’s space and time to think.