not follow directions

A number of weeks ago, my wife and I celebrated our anniversary. Unlike many years, we didn't have a trip or something similar planned mostly because if fell between two weddings that we were attending so we were a bit short on time out of our respective offices without pressing our lucks.

The longer we've been married, the more that we've stopped giving specific occasion gifts, tending rather to get things for one another when the feeling struck or whatever. Generally we stick to this with exception to birthdays. In part it helps us celebrate one another, but it also removes some of the pressure around the holidays as we often find ourselves without any extended family on the "day of" more than we'd really like.

Keeping with this gifting tradition, my wife did procure a collection of things for me, even shipping them to her office so I wouldn't see tracking information and have foreknowledge of the gift. And while I'm sure she'll read this eventually, I had a pretty solid idea of what she'd gotten me as soon as she told me that she ordered something.

This particular gift was a collection from Bittermilk, a company that specializes in creating concoctions for adult beverages, lacking only the spirituous bits (or maybe bubbly water). Once, while walking through The Fresh Market I'd stumbled upon these mixes and debated for what felt like forty seconds about which of their bases to purchases. It was agonizing, that decision. (Full disclosure: that was sarcasm... I'm not the kind that sweats the small stuff like that.)

On that occasion, I procured their No. 1 mix (by name, perhaps even by popularity, but I've no way to know that), and I found it to be quite pleasing, albeit sweeter than I prefer in my adult concoctions. However, the bottle said to mix a particular ratio, and I stuck to it with my only variation being the slip of the hand perhaps adding an extra dash or so.

When the whole collection came in, I read each, evaluated the required ingredients and began the journey of matching things on my shelves to the back of the bottle. All was going well as I sampled the five mixes I hadn't tried over the course of several weeks until I made a mistake. One night recently I was working on a No. 5 and I didn't refresh myself on the instructions before pouring.

Bittermilk No. 5
As it happens, this Charred Grapefruit Tonic with Bulls Bay Sea Salt is supposed to be 1 part white rum or vodka (always vodka for me) + 1 part soda water + 1 part Bittermilk. Hower, what found its way into my glass was a couple of ice cubes, 1 part rye + 1 part Bittermilk. I stirred it around, walked over to the living room, and took a sip.

Being rather reserved with my feelings and expressions, I won't go so far as to say that I was shocked, but I was at least surprised. Clearly it wasn't what I was expecting, but even more so it was shockingly good. (Enough so that I had another, slightly larger one later on.) As I was writing this, I reviewed their site to determine if this was a recommended recipe and I am both glad and sad to reports that it is not. This is my very own mistake.

And a tasty one, indeed.


stay out of the picture

You might imagine, at the frequency of my postings, that staying out of the picture isn't really a problem for me. Largely, you'd be right. I'm fairly good at flying under the radar, managing to do things without people noticing or taking note of me. I'm the kind of person that can stand the middle of a room filled with hundreds of people and not say a word, and hardly be noticed, but not like a wallflower on the periphery.

I'm sure this is the product of years of being ignored or shunned, maybe even partly due to those years as a kid where I was the target of bullies or kids that just needed to feel "big" around others. I don't regret those times, or the fact that I am this way. Most of the time, at least.

But I mean this post quite literally, actually.