Cocktails! It’s been awhile since I threw together a unique drinkable. Truth be told, the flavor combos in this recipe are something of a classic for lovers of bitter root-based liquors, but for many (myself included) it can be an acquired taste.
Bitters were not the only thing I needed time to embrace. What am I talking about? I’m talking about cats. Not the musical. Although I’m sure that’s an acquired taste for some as well…
Did you know we had a cat? That is, six years ago we had a cat, named Cat. This was pre-Ecuador, so I might not have ever mentioned it here. Besides, I struggled with my attachment (much as did Holly Golightly) and found myself more often referring to the cat sarcastically than affectionately. See, growing up the only interactions I had with cats were the barn cats who, as their descriptor conveys, lived in the barn, and were never under any circumstances permitted in the house. They were vile, dirty creatures who given the chance would walk all over the table and steal our food! (And possibly our souls? I can’t remember.) But anyway one day I came upon one of the poor barn cats and fell head over heels in love with it. It was so tiny and completely black and I dramatically named her Black Beauty and set about silently pleading with my father to let me keep “her” (who knows).
Here is how one silently pleads:
1) Maintain a somber and pensive expression which will subtly (and powerfully) demonstrate how deep-seated your feelings are and therefore how impressive your strength of character to maintain composure in lieu of collapsing on the floor with frantic poundings of feet and fists.
2) Write in detail in your diary about how sweet is the thing desired, how monumentally life-changing to have that thing would be. Work up some tears and be sure they fall delicately, yet directly on the pages.
3) Carry the diary around in hopes that it will be viewed and your pangs of distress will be noticed. *Refresh tear stains as needed.*
4) Cleverly and casually work it into conversation. “Kaleigh finish your peas.” (long pause) “Black Beauty doesn’t get to have peas. She’s cold and all alone and she’s starving.” (heavy sigh)
Yeah… I didn’t get to keep the cat.
Somehow, the bitter disappointment of not being allowed to keep Black Beauty translated into my deciding I was not a cat person. ‘Cats are for sissies!’ I concluded. I know, I know. How could I utter such shameful and sharply eloquent mental speech? But that was how I coped. If I maintained that I didn’t even like cats, then I wouldn’t have to admit how much it hurt.
Many years later, I was living in Montreal, newly married and still asserting that I didn’t care about cats. My husband, by contrast, was unabashedly pro cats. A good friend of ours asked us to cat-sit these two teeny tiny kittens who had been left at his parents’ door. They were fluffy and adorable and all kinds of trouble. “Don’t get attached!” I warned my husband, who simply shrugged. Two weeks. Two weeks was how long we were meant to keep these little kittens. A black and white rambunctious boy kitten and an all black tensely cautious girl kitten who hid in corners hoping to go undetected. Two weeks was the plan. And approximately two minutes was how long it took for me to fall madly for that tiny black fluff ball. In deference to my previous claims, I suggested calling her Cat. This was to be an emotionless transaction. Sure we will keep the cat. She’s in need of a home, we’re not monsters. So while we kept up the ruse that my husband was the cat person and I was simply being accommodating, we knew the truth. I love cats. There, I said it! Phew, what a relief. I hope the community will now embrace me. Perhaps I can serve as something of a spokeswoman for other closeted cat lovers. I should start drafting some inspiring interview notes….
Sorry where was I? Oh yes, I’d come out in support of cats. So it should come as no surprise that when the time came to move and find a new home for our beloved black kitty, we took it seriously. Caring for an animal is a big responsibility, and no one felt the weight of that more than my husband. We put the word out that we were seeking a home for Cat, but no one was in a position to take her. And we understood. But that just meant that Cat would be relocating as well. Not to South America with us, but to France with my in-laws. She boarded the plane with us (No joke, we stowed her under the seat in front of us. Thank goodness for the noise of the aircraft because she howled non-stop from Montreal to Paris and I’ve no doubt the passengers would’ve jumped us.) And we handed her over to her new caretakers, to her Grandma and Grandpa if you will. No, that’s too far. Although it did seem like a good trade off in lieu of actually producing a grandchild, so…
And man do they treat that cat goooood. They love her! Recently they went on vacation and we offered to have Cat come stay with us. They agreed, reluctantly. Very reluctantly. But we assured them it was just while they were away and we’d be returned to them upon arrival from their trip. It was such an odd throwback, having Cat with us again. Different context, same dynamics. It was as if no time had passed at all. But alas, time had indeed passed. And as comforting as it was to have our cat back, we knew she was no longer ours. We made good on our promise, and returned her to her home.
And there she will continue to dwell. Quite happily, I might add. So while our move to France came rather unexpectedly, it was comforting to be reunited with our Cat. She’s been extremely well cared for, just as we have been. And although reclaiming her was never on the table, (Gram and Gramps got way attached yo) we’re not bitter about it. It’s sweet.
2-3 shots Avèze (or other gentian based liqueurs, such as Suze)
dash of crème de cassis
In a tall glass, combine ice and Avèze. Gently pour in the crème de cassis, and top with tonic water. Serve and enjoy!
Nice and simple. Ain’t that sweet?