Perhaps you noticed (or, perhaps not) that there was no Cocktail Thursday in this space yesterday evening. There were good reasons for that, reasons that ultimately forced me to recast my entire pregame libation recitation.
Much of the state of Georgia was lashed by heavy rain and wind on Halloween day. I found myself driving through the worst of it to the north side of Atlanta for professional reasons in the morning, then making my way back south to Macon in the afternoon in hopes of posting the cocktail recipe below then taking part in our neighborhood Halloween festivities.
On the way back I was cruising down I-75, minding my own business and hewing (sort of) close to the speed limit when I was very nearly run off the road by a gold Cadillac Escalade merging onto the highway at high speed then crossing three lanes of interstate traffic. On the back was a large magnetic Florida Gator sticker that read “Master TailGators: Established 1990.” A bumper sticker proudly proclaimed the oblivious occupants to be “On our way to see the Gators play!”
I and the Master TailGators soon found ourselves in the usual afternoon ten pound crush of humanity trying to squeeze itself into the five pound sack that is I-75 through Henry County. I was much later getting back than I had planned. But I take some solace in imagining that those Gators were late and missed their dinner reservation at the Jacksonville Wendy’s.
I walked in to my wife furiously shoveling food from our pantry into the garbage. Apparently the rain and rising water table had forced several hundred ants out of the ground and up into our home. There they found a poorly-closed bag of barbecue potato chips in which they set up base camp before branching out to sample our other dry goods. They didn’t get into the bourbon, thank goodness. But they did eat up my blogging time.
The Escalade full of Gator fans and the pantry full of ants both very nearly ruined my day. And they have a lot in common. Both are inveterate opportunists. I bet those Florida fans graduated in 1978 but spent the next twelve years laying low until Steve Spurrier showed up. Then they burst forth to chew through everything they could find for a few years before quietly crawling back to their nest when things turned. Then they re-engaged during the Meyer years. And probably sat out the Muschamp and McElwain years.
Now, drawn again by the smell of success and following the chemical trail of arrogance laid down by their Cousin Eddie look-alike Coach, Gator fans are again swarming up to Jacksonville. They’ve got a top ten team, they’re full of themselves, and they sense the coming of a new golden age of Gator football.
But I can give you something to drink while you watch the ‘Dawgs remind their saurian adversaries of their proper place in the pecking order: the Gator Hater. You’ll need:
- 2 oz Bourbon
- 2 oz Pear Nectar or Juice
- Juice of 1⁄2 lemon
- 1 oz Ginger Honey Simple Syrup (recipe below)
- Ginger Ale
Combine the bourbon, pear juice, lemon, and simple syrup in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake it like Kyle Trask’s confidence in the face of the Bulldog pass rush.
Pour chilled mixture over ice in glass and top with the ginger ale to taste.You could garnish the whole business with some pear slices if you’re feeling fancy or fall festive.
Y’all have a great night. Be careful on the roads and pay your pest control company. Until later...
Ginger Honey Simple Syrup
- ¼ Cup Honey
- ¼ Cup Water
- 1 1’’ piece of Ginger – peeled and thinly sliced
Combine honey, water and ginger. Bring to a gentle simmer over medium heat, stirring until honey dissolves into water. Remove from heat and set aside for 30 minutes. Discard ginger and strain syrup into a container, cover and refrigerate until ready to use.