Lobstah Roll

The Lobstah Roll, a red cocktail in a martini glass, is garnished with a pepperoncini and an amaro cherry.

On the deck

I’m on my deck, in the cold mid-afternoon, perched on a tiny outdoor table because I sold my deck chair. I look at the view and think to myself that this is probably one of the last times that I’ll sit out here. 

I watch the weather change in front of me. This morning, the sun was at just the right angle to completely illuminate both the mountain range, and a large white building over in Ruston; they shone with this impossible white color and looked as though they were cut and pasted from another scene. Meanwhile, while the sun performed that trick in one spot, it rained in another, and I saw a rainbow. 

A few minutes ago, it rained while the sun was shining, but the way it caught the light, I thought it was snowing for a second. But it’s not snow. If I were thinking properly, I would have realized right away that it’s not nearly cold enough (though for Tacoma, it is a bit chilly). The weather is changing to my left and right: sunny and blue skies in patches, rainy in others…I can hear some rain on the leaves again now, in fact.

Super Bowl Daniel

I was texting with a friend earlier, who some of you may know from my stories as Super Bowl Daniel. We are both from Massachusetts, and two years ago today we went together to watch the Super Bowl at a bar in Seattle. Daniel is a big football fan though I don’t have any affection for that sport. I usually don’t get involved in the Super Bowl, other than as a way to keep abreast of what the people around me care about. Enough to manage a water cooler-style quip once in a while.

But our team – come on, I’m never going to root against my hometown team! – was in the Super Bowl on this day two years ago. I needed something to do because the day had some personal significance for me, and I’d just gotten divorced a few days earlier. Daniel stepped up for me by making plans for us, and I stepped up for him. Folks, I bought a Tom Brady shirt, perhaps the final New Englander over the past 20 years to make that purchase! I can’t embarrass my friend when he takes me out on Super Bowl Sunday, can I! Especially when our team is playing!

Big Plans

We had big plans, going to a special New England-themed bar in Seattle. We left very early from Tacoma, on a morning that was extremely cold. The bar wasn’t even open yet, but we were second in line. Cue the selfies on the sidewalk. We made friends with other people in line, and shared stories about where we all grew up. We planned to flirt with a lot of women, and folks, we liked our chances – especially if our team pulled ahead.  

I want to interrupt myself to say that Daniel has the most charming Massachusetts accent. I wish it were my own. One day, I put a note on his locker at work that said this:

A screenshot of website comments show how to pronounce the words "caught", "cot", and "court" with a Massachusetts accent.

I still crack up at that because of course it’s true. You do pronounce caught and court the same way. Cot is different. My own accent doesn’t reach these levels, but this sounds like home to me.

Well, we won the Super Bowl that day. We both flirted with some women and were unsuccessful for different reasons. He got a t-shirt that said Sex, Drugs & Lobstah Rolls or something like that from our New England-inspired bar, to commemorate this wonderful day.

Glorious days

Today, two years later, we reminisce over text about all the things that were special about that day, “glorious days”, Daniel calls it…watching Tom Brady win one for us at the improbable age of 41 (it would turn out to be his last Super Bowl win for our team)…bonding together as New Englanders (Massholes, we sometimes call ourselves) in the Pacific Northwest…and I reflect on Daniel being there for me as a good friend.

Things have shifted, a little. Tom Brady moved, to Florida. Daniel is moving, back to Massachusetts. I am moving, out of my house. All beautiful moves, all in their good time. I will support Tom Brady anywhere he goes, but I still wish he was on our team [said the non-football fan]. I miss Daniel already. And I will miss my house, even though I have the memories of it close to my heart, and even though I’m moving to Elizabeth’s house, where I know there is a lovely spot for me.

Poignant and beautiful

It’s pouring here now, even though it’s also sunny. I’m watching and listening to the birds and boats, and also a train rumbling by, over in Tacoma proper. Right now for boats, there are a couple of pleasure craft; earlier it was a beautiful freighter, completely loaded up with a checkerboard of containers in different bright colors. I see a lot of boats and ships go by, but that kind is my favorite.

Everything feels poignant and beautiful right now. I love watching the Vashon Ferry, and today I actually see it dock on Vashon. This is something I’ve never seen before. The dock is usually blocked by a house and tree situated in front of mine, and I don’t usually sit in this exact spot.

I’m reminded of The Good Place, which happens frequently these days. I’m paraphrasing, but Eleanor tries to explain to Michael, an otherworldly being, what it feels like to be human. She says that humans are always a little bit sad underneath because we know that things end.

As for the drink…

Folks, I had to work a little bit at this one. I can always make a drink look good (and I knew it would if I muddled beet skins because of that amazing pinkish-red color. I had some cooked skins on hand because I’d recently made borscht). But I’m famous for having the best-looking drinks that are actually taste fails. If you don’t believe me, check out this rogue’s gallery of some of our published FAILS. We’re proud of our fails too.

There are a few too many ingredients to this cocktail, in retrospect, but, I guess, why get picky about that? If that’s how many it takes to get a good cocktail, then that’s how many it takes.

There was some umami flavor going on here, because of the umeboshi paste. The paste is sour, but in an unusually deep, tangy way that’s sort of a different way to experience sour. It’s not at all like the sour quality of a lemon, which is light and bright. Hard to explain, but a delicious ingredient. I was hoping that would offset the “grounded”, “earthy” sort of flavors of the beets and allspice, mild though they may be.

The rose water sweetens just a bit, and the vinegar polishes and brings things into focus; I’m not sure how. It seemed like a good idea, so I did it, and it worked. For a garnish, I went after both sides of this cocktail: the sweet with the amaro cherry, and the vinegary sour with the pepperoncini.

To Glorious Days. 

Ingredients

  • 3.5 oz Gin

  • .5 oz Dry Vermouth

  • Muddled Beets or Beet Skins, already cooked

  • 3 tsp Umeboshi Paste

  • 2 pinches Allspice

  • Splash of Apple Cider Vinegar

  • 1 tsp Rose Water

  • Garnish
  • Pepperoncini

  • Amaro Cherry

Directions

  • Muddle cooked beet skins or beets in a cocktail shaker with the gin and vermouth. It doesn’t take many skins, or much time, to impart the color, which is the reason for using them.
  • Add umeboshi paste, spice, vinegar and rose water.
  • Strain out the umeboshi solid bits with a cloth napkin, coffee filter, or cheesecloth. This will make the drink itself clearer, and save you from having to chew bits of your drink. (A pet peeve of mine is chewing drinks – no *thank* you!)
  • Garnish and toast to good friends and glorious days! Cheers!
Thoroughly savored on February 3, 2021

1 comment

  1. Max03/01/2021 | Reply

    Maybe some Korean spice too?

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