So: it’s my birthday.
Birthdays haven’t been big deals to me in years, although as I approach 40 they’re starting to be sources of trepidation. I have no party planned, other than having vague thoughts of seeing if I can get a few people to go to The Melting Pot soon. (Or perhaps the Zuni Café in San Francisco if I’m feeling particularly ambitious.) Tonight I’m likely to just go off to the biweekly writing group as per usual, even though I’m tempted to go home and make some kind of crazy tiki drink instead. Maybe I’ll try and invent one of my own! I do have my own recipe for a zombie, a least, which is a decidedly non-trivial operation.
I could make a crazy tiki drink and bring it to the writing group, but I’m not sure I have enough to make crazy tiki drinks for everyone.
Anyway, yes. Birthdays. My thirty-ninth year has the potential for involving more change. Soon I’ll be living in a five-person household and having a longer commute than I’ve had in many years (about 35 miles each way), and as I’ve written, this may end up motivating me to get over my grand dislike for moving—even though I should note I like both of the people planning to move in and think it’s cool I’ll see them more, and I’ll be able to do a lot of the commute over fairly pretty roads. I have many things to weigh, ultimately including just where it is I’d want to live if I did move. So far I don’t have an answer.
For a lot of the past few years I’ve felt like I’ve been in retrograde, that I’m going through the motions I should have been going through a decade ago. I still feel like I’m a year from thirty rather than forty. I’d like to think that means I still have a long life ahead, because I’m clearly behind on where I really should be at this point.
Well, not that clearly, since I can’t define should in that context.
Where will I be when 40 actually hits? I don’t know, honestly. This current job is, after all, a contract, even though I have hopes of it running at least as long as the Cisco gig did. My mother would very much like me to move back to Florida close to where she is. Yet other than her presence, and my friends in the Tampa and Orlando areas, I don’t feel very grounded there (beyond the sense of familiarity that comes from three decades in roughly the same place). I rarely write things that sound spiritual, but I believe people have connections to the land, and those connections are stronger or weaker depending on whether they’re in the “right” area for them. So far I’ve felt more connected to the west coast than the east, and—while I should explore both areas more—pulled more toward the northwest than the southwest.
The original zombie recipe was apparently created by “Don the Beachcomber,” and Don hid the ingredients for years then gave several variants on the recipe at different points. I’ve synthesized a recipe from points that most of them, and other well-regarded ones, had in common, using ingredients that aren’t excessively hard to find—although you’ll probably need to go to a good liquor store to find a couple of the mixers.
1½ oz. light rum
1½ oz. dark rum
1 oz. spiced rum
½ oz. apricot brandy
1 oz. lime juice
1 oz. pineapple juice
½ oz. passion fruit syrup
½ oz. orgeat syrup
2 dashes bitters
1 dash grenadine syrup
Fill a tall glass (or tiki mug) nearly to the top with crushed ice, then put the ice in a shaker, add the rest of the ingredients, and shake it up. Pour it back into the serving glass and garnish with a mint sprig and a cherry. If you’re worried that four ounces of rum just isn’t enough, darnit, add a floater of Demarara 151-proof rum.
(Rather than go on a hunt for “falernum,” a lightly alcoholic almond syrup flavored with spices, I went with orgeat—a more commonly-available almond syrup—and spiced rum, although I recommend Sailor Jerry’s brand spiced rum rather than Captain Morgan’s. There’s more rum than non-rum in this drink, so while you don’t want to be using the real expensive stuff, don’t go using crap you’re expecting to mask the flavor of.)