Working on mindfulness? Make yourself a cocktail.
I enjoy a nice cocktail at the end of the day. Not a beer, though I love those sometimes, or a glass of wine, which for some reason gives me a headache. I like a cocktail.
A cocktail is the reward for bearing the enormous burden of being an adult.
It’s a tonic to calm the mind, and a totem to signal to the world that Daddy has downshifted into another plane of operation, a richer plane of being and not merely planning, thinking, doing, working, lifting, or otherwise operating anything more complicated than a shaker and a strainer. That first icy sip of expertly blended spirits draws you into the present, unbuckling the day’s harness to slip into an evening of cooling calm, with only a night of darkening promise between you and the dreams of rest.
There are no shortcuts to this nirvana.
The two paths to it are through your own hands, or via those of a trained professional standing confidently across an arms length of lacquered and immaculately clean oak. To purchase industrially processed, pre-made adult beverages is to do nature and yourself a disservice. This is not empty snobbery. It’s not the convenience of these beverages I despise, or even their flavor. I discovered Peanut Butter Whiskey, of all things, during COVID, and with the proper blending and chilling, found it be quite palatable.
But that is exactly my point… The careful and deliberate making of a cocktail — the procurement of just the right ingredients, the precise measurement of each, the preparation of ice in the proper geometry to optimize temperature and dilution, the measured stir or violent shake of the resulting libation, the pouring of exactly the right amount into exactly the right glass, and the finishing touch of a garnish to let the eyes and the nose arouse the mouth in wet anticipation… all of these things are essential to the experience.
The making of cocktails is not a task to be delegated, but a ritual to be savored. It is a meditation on quality, a great gift of civilization, and a kindness to oneself. To do it for another person is to serve them, in the way great leaders do. It is to say I see you, my friend, I honor your kindred spirit, and anoint you appreciated.
We think of mindfulness as a thing to be practiced with legs folded in lotus position, in solemn silence as the smoke of incense wafts about the room. If that works for you, great. But all the meditation I need at the end of each day comes in the form of a jet-cold Vesper, a storied Manhattan, or a piney Boulevardier. And it’s not just the alcohol in those drinks that moves me to a better place. It’s the love.