Summer is in full gear, and I’m loving every second of it. This is the time of year I’d like time to slow down so I can savor gorgeous, high pressure 75 degree Fridays after relishing a sleep in 50 degrees with the windows open the night before. It’s my perfect weather world.
But then so is 30 degrees and giant fluffy flakes falling from the sky with the promise of a foot or more of snow.
And so is the thrill of a powerful rainstorm on its way with trees bending and swaying to and fro on our property.
I mustn’t forget brilliant fall days with an azure sky backdropping hues of red, orange and gold on the treelined walk through the woods.
And the gentle rainfalls of Spring in mid-afternoon that beg for a cup of tea and a good book next to the fire, or a curl-up inside a fuzzy blanket for a sneaky snooze.
I love it all. Northwoods weather always delivers, and this July is a doozy of a good time.
The past several days brought family around for a visit. First Mr. Musky and I met up with my parents in Madison so they could see where their first grandchild lives and what her school is all about. We crammed a ton of activity into 36 hours: dinner and a walk around the capital with a visit to a bourbon room, a visit to the country’s largest producer-only farmer’s market, strolls through a campus garden, a bar crawl, people watching at the student Union on the terrace, and brunch at the infamous Short Stack before heading to the cabin.
Whew. I’m tired again just thinking about it. My folks are troopers, and I know Kahley enjoyed showing them her new town.
Once at the cabin, I took on driving dad to and from dialysis so mom could have a little break. We dined in, dined out, and enjoyed each other’s company for the remainder of the week.
About five hours after they left, this sweet Little Miss rolled in with the people she squeals at when they walk into the room.
“DADA!” never gets old when it comes out of her sweet smiling face about 100 times a day. She’s grown so much since she stayed with us in May, and I loved every second with her. Too much, perhaps. I forgot to do important things like buy adequate groceries and cook food for us all. Hopefully her parentals will forgive me for my lackluster effort and they’ll come back.
Next time, I promise to actually cook meals versus suggesting they dig around my empty refrigerator for scraps.
However, my sweet sister-in-law came to the rescue on their last night, having three dozen oysters flown in as a belated birthday gift. What a treat! Patrick wins husband and brother-in-law of the year for shucking 35 of them. I contributed one, but his had fewer shells inside, so he won the job of master shucker.
He’ll likely never return. 🙂
With all that action, I’ve neglected this little corner of the world for a few weeks. Sorry, friends! But today, I’ve got a special treat for any of you who share my passion for two beverages: alcohol and coffee.
As of late, I’ve become a bit of a coffee snob. Turns out that small, craft coffee roasters are truly the bomb and their product is waaaaay superior to Keurig cups (gag), mass produced coffee (amazing that Folgers still exists), and even large coffee chains (I’m looking directly at you, Starbucks).
However, I still have nostalgia and appreciation for the lackluster varieties, as I’ve drank them all at some point in time, and they’ve all contributed to my current obsession of chasing the perfect cup of coffee. I have a Chemex on its way to me, and I’m told that making my own pour-over coffee will take my coffee geekery to an entirely new level. We call it geekery, because it sounds so much nicer than what it actually is: snobbery.
So, with all that blathering on and on, the key ingredients in this drink remind me of five distinct people.
- Stoli Vanilla – my dear friend Kara. She’s wild and wonky, and her husband shakes his head at her repeatedly when we’re together. She makes me giggle all the time. She’ll be here Wednesday, and together we’ll create more antics as she sips her Stoli Vanilla and Diet Coke.
- Caña Brava Rum – my college roommate, Allison. Girlfriend lives in Panama and raises her family there. Once she asked me to make more rum cocktails, but I’m like a fish outta water when it comes to that base alcohol. I finally bought a bottle of Panamanian Rum just because of her. Now I’m finally using it. She once turned her blender on to make a smoothie and found a gecko dangling from the top. That is so Allison – she’s got about 500 stories like that.
- Taildragger After Dark Rum – from Tailwinds Distilling in Plainfield, IL – our good friends Jonathan and Sheri. We visited the distillery with them and ordered drinks like like “The Panty Dropper” and had the BEST time. Getting together with them is ideal – we can go for months without talking, then pick up right where we left off. They once doubled up on a sled on their bellies and went down our hill, and their oldest son leapt on top of them, carrying the three of them all the way to the lake, squawking the entire time. All survived.
- Coffee – my sweet friend Michelle, who’s moving away this month. Our last date was to Ten Drops Coffee Lab in Plainfield and I’ll always remember sitting with her, sipping coffee, talking about nothing in particular while the doom of her impending move hung like a black cloud over both of us. She’s a top five influencer in my life, and I told her so on the way home. I’m forever a better person thanks to her encouragement and most of all, her quiet acceptance of every person she meets. We’ll stay friends…of that I’m sure. But I’m going to miss seeing her every day.
Now I’m feeling sappy and warm, grateful for so many good friends and family members who make life richer by just being in it. For those of you just wanting to get to the damed cocktail of the week, I’m finally ready.
It’s the Coffee Kicker. I’ve talked before how I like a kicker on the boat, and many apéritifs are inspired by what I want in my glass during Boat Ride Friday Happy Hour. This one is no different. After a night of heavy storms and bad sleep a few weeks ago, I felt like I needed a little caffeine pick-me-up.
This apéritif is like a White Russian got down and funky in the Caribbean with some white and dark rum, then threw in some accelerators to smooth things out. Said accelerators include…
…some half-n-half, and a tiny (I’m talking 1/8 teaspoon) of vanilla and maple syrup, just to chill out the alcohol a bit.
Folks, this is NOT your typical iced coffee. It’s heavenly, rich, and kicks things off perfectly. Give it a go!
Enjoy the weekend. Get out there and soak in that sun!
- 3 oz strong coffee
- 1 oz Stoli Vanilla
- ½ oz white rum - I used Cańa Brava
- ½ oz dark rum - I used Taildragger After Dark Rum by Tailwinds Distilling Co. in Plainfield, IL
- ½ oz half and half
- ⅛ tsp vanilla
- ⅛ tsp maple syrup
- Combine the ingredients, stir, and add ice.
- Add additional syrup or vanilla to your preference.