I don’t want to get too carried away with my newfound giddiness, but pretty much every day since I moved to L.A. has been the best day of my life. I spend all day driving around, checking out every corner of the city, talking to people about booze, and I’m constantly getting hit with wave after wave of warming nostalgia, blindsided like a dozing ship captain who took his eye off the sea. What exactly that nostalgia consists of, I’m not sure, but no matter where I go everything me around seems oddly familiar, like the happy memory of a distant dream from the past. It’s probably just my creative brain cells regenerating, readjusting to a setting not consumed by software and technology, but whatever is happening is giving me life once again. It’s like I’m becoming more of myself.
Case in point? Cocktails. I haven’t mixed a fucking cocktail in almost two years. I stopped giving a shit about home mixology around 2017 when everything just seemed too ridiculous and overthought. Since then it’s been nothing but straight booze or a quick mix of whatever Fever Tree flavor I had on hand. Basically either a gin and tonic, or a Moscow Mule/Dark & Stormy/Bourbon Ginger, without deviation for 700 days straight. Not that I wouldn’t drink cocktails when going out, just that I had no desire whatsoever to put any effort into my home bar. Yesterday, however, in celebration of Australia Day (which is a real holiday on January 26th), I decided to make my first Corpse Reviver in God-knows-how-long with the samples I had in my bag: Four Pillars gin, Dolin Dry vermouth, and Cocchi Americano—all brands that I now get paid to talk about (How fucking awesome is that? You’re gonna pay me to support brands I already love?).
As I drove down Ventura Boulevard after my final appointment of the day, the sunny 76 degree weather whetting my appetite for strong drink, the impulse for a Corpse Reviver #2 came on like a trigger of something traumatic buried deep within my psyche. Like I alluded to before, I think I was burying my underlying love of booze somewhere safe inside my brain, protecting it from danger until it was safe to come back out again. Now I’m regurgitating it back up in violent fits, like someone who was close to drowning spitting out water in a desperate gasp for air.
Just like that, I pulled into the parking lot of a nearby supermarket and went in for some citrus. Typically a Corpse Reviver #2 is made with equal parts gin, Lillet, dry vermouth, and lemon juice with a dash of absinthe. Shake it up with ice, strain and serve. Since I was using the Four Pillars, however—a gin that always shows better with orange (hence, why they recommend an orange slice in your Four Pillars gin and tonic)—I grabbed a bag of blood oranges instead, knowing the color of the cocktail would also be something spectacular. Of course, I only looked at the result long enough to take the above photo. That thing was down my gullet in less than thirty seconds, leaving me standing in the kitchen cutting more oranges for a second round.
I’ve got to get my big boy gin pants ready once again now, as today there’s a big Aussie gala in L.A. where I’ll be in charge of drinking more Four Pillars with the distillery team. I’m picking up my tux in just a few hours. Can’t remember the last time I did that either, but again I’ve got the energy and desire to do all sorts of fun things once more.