The Lion’s Den

I’m not really a cocktail girl. Wine, yes—I can put away a disturbing amount of wine in a short amount of time, a decision that always gets me in trouble around two o’clock in the morning when the sugar hits my bloodstream and I lie awake for 3 to 4 hours. Having dated a Minnesota/Wisconsin-native for the past 3 years, I’ve also developed a taste for beer, both of the craft and cheap, canned variety. But cocktails? They’re fussy and expensive and, in my opinion, kind of trashy. It seems try-hard to have a signature cocktail, even if it’s one that doesn’t raise eyebrows (aka, nothing involving flavored vodka). 

Then I visited the new "it" bar in town, which I won’t name, because it’s the best spot for rainy Sunday afternoons (and I’m determined to keep it that way). Said bar serves classic, often forgotten, cocktails without a hint of irony to a diverse crew of weirdos in the as-yet undeveloped part of the West Loop. We went on Easter Sunday, around the time everybody else was entering into a brunch coma, dropped our damp umbrellas on the floor, and ordered with gusto: I asked for a French 75, which I’m ashamed to say I’d never had, and Jens ordered something neither of us had ever heard of before—a Lion’s Tail. 

Image via the New York Times

Image via the New York Times

I was a goner from the first sip. It’s the perfect blend of spicy, sweet, bitter, & citrusy. It was so good, in fact, that I went from being a no-cocktail girl to a 2-cocktail girl in one night, just because I had to order my own. 

Here’s the recipe, should you care to mix your own: 

2 oz bourbon
3/4 oz allspice (also known as pimento) dram
1/2 oz fresh lime juice
1 tsp gomme (or simple) syrup
2 dashes Angostura bitters

Shake with ice and strain into a glass. Cheers!

The Leap

Yesterday, I quit my full-time job—a job that I actually like quite a bit—to write. 

I’m terrified. 

In fact, I’m not exactly sure that I didn’t make a mistake, although I feel the same thing in the pit of my stomach that I felt three years and two weeks ago, when I decided to write an email to a man I hadn’t seen in two years, a man I’d rebuffed after two dates, a man who—in 39 short days—will become my husband. 

It’s a feeling I have to honor, because it comes with the knowledge that if I don’t honor it, I’ll regret it for the rest of my life. I felt that way when my aunt told me in April of 2010 that I ought to move to Chicago. And after I wrote Jens that email three years ago, I went out to dinner with my friends and burst into tears, wailing that I was sure I’d just made a fool of myself—but knowing, deep down, that I’d done the right thing. You know what? I’d like to make a fool of myself a lot more often, if it means honoring that feeling.

Wish me luck.