“Look at these cocktails,” I say to my brother and hold up the magazine. The picture is pool-blue with a bright orange cocktail smack in the center.
“I’m driving,” he says, so at a red light, I hold it up again to show him the grilled flatbread on the other side of the double page spread.
“This is what I want my life to be like,” I say, and he says, “You just showed me that page,” and I say, “I thought you were driving.”
A few days later, his girlfriend comes to visit, and we decide to make the drinks. My brother has been learning to tend and carts his bar guide and herb books around from place to place. Of course, he’s left his brand new bar set at the other house, and we’re not sure what to use for a muddler other than a pestle, the top half of which has disappeared somewhere, the broken-off bottom still drooped in the mortar like a fat, marble bulb.
The recipe calls for tangerine halves to be dipped in raw sugar and grilled over fresh sprigs of rosemary. After I’d melted the siding off the house from a grease-fire fueled grill, we think we’ll give that a rest and caramelize the nectarine halves in a skillet on the stove. The store is out of tangerines.
I forget that sugar burns. I forget that a hot grill is different from a hot skillet, and as soon as the nectarine slices hit the skillet and the hot, crisping leaves of rosemary, a waft of thick steam rises, pure and white, and suddenly the room is filled with the fragrance of Christmas and that thick, white smoke, which, after I remember to turn on the fan above the stove, looks just like Santa Claus’ beard getting sucked up into the vent. » Continue reading this post...