Remember that time I said I was going to write a post about the new year, and now it’s January 27th? Because that’s right now. BUT! It’s still January, so I’m giving myself a pass. We all deserve a little grace to start out the year.
With that said, happy new year! I hope New Year’s Eve graced you with good friends and delicious cocktails and a smooch from someone you love. If you’re like the rest of the world, the arrival of a new year brings about overwhelming feelings of anxiety and the pressure to GET IT RIGHT this year. It’s such a bummer, don’t you think? I’m trying to ditch that mindset and approach 2015 with a little more zen.
Which brings us to: resolutions. A part of me thinks they are such a cliché, an opportunity for disappointment, an overwrought attempt at change based solely on a date on the calendar. But, there’s also a part of me that loves the opportunity for reflection and renewal. What did I do last year that made my heart full? How can I bring more of that into my life this year?
So I made my resolutions with over-arching desires and intention-based values in mind:
- Create meaningful habits. I want to write in my journal more; I want to learn more about meditation; I want to read more. By creating habits, it takes less effort to carve out time to do the things you love. If I decide that each Monday and Thursday before bed I’m going to journal, I’m more likely to do it because it’s a set habit.
- Stop phoning it in. Or, rather, the exact opposite. I could probably count on one hand the amount of times I’ve picked up the phone to call a friend in the last year. With texting and social media, who needs it, right? Wrong. The connection is so much greater when you can hear the words spoken by someone you love. And every time I do get off the phone or spend time with someone in person, I ask myself, why don’t I do that more often?
- Honor creativity. Just because my day job isn’t as creative as I wish it was doesn’t mean I can’t fuel my creativity outside of work. I’m lucky that my job is super flexible – I could easily take an afternoon to walk around the city with my camera. So why don’t I? Excuses, mostly. I’m done with those, though. Find the time. Learn. Grow. A few on my list: calligraphy, photography, prop styling, and of course, this blog.
- Be present. This year I will try my damnedest to put down the phone. Take out the earbuds. Stop walking so fast. Look around. Have you ever noticed how much more enjoyable a dinner is when you’re not trying to Instagram it? I want to capture meaningful experiences when I can, but not at the cost of the authenticity of the present moment.
- Practice gratitude. So much easier said than done. Between the too-frequent comparisons to others, the daily annoyances, the routine of life, it’s easy to feel like there’s nothing outstanding to be grateful for. But there always is. I have a warm bed to sleep in every night. I never have to worry about my next meal. I’m healthy. I could weep with gratitude when I think about how lucky I am, but too often I just don’t think about it. I want to change that.
With these in mind, I’m trying to give myself grace in not “following” them all time. I think that’s my word this year: Grace. The courage to grow but the grace to fall. I think 2015 is going to be a good one.
On that note, I bring you a cheery, fruity cocktail to welcome this new year!
To be completely honest, before making this cocktail I barely knew anything about pisco, other than it was used to create the eponymous Pisco Sour. If you’ve been living in a cave like me, here’s the scoop: Pisco is actually a brandy, distilled from pressed grapes into a spirit, in South America (Peru and Chile primarily). It’s hard to describe but it tastes very…boozy. Helpful, right?! If you invest in a bottle, I promise to make more pisco cocktails here. We can experiment together!
It turns out my cocktails typically come about one of two ways: a) by drinking a killer cocktail at a bar or restaurant and using it as inspiration or b) having various ingredients laying around my kitchen and needing to use them before they go bad. This pisco cocktail falls in the latter group. I had pears sitting on my counter, insulted that I had forgotten to use them in my salad the night before, and ginger hovering in the corner, challenging me to just TRY and find a use for it. Good luck, it smirked.
I started by creating a simple ginger syrup. I put a lot of ginger in there—I like an infused syrup to be bold, to shout its identity from the rooftops! Next I pureed my pears. Fair warning: the pears will discolor. Such is life. I didn’t want to add lemon juice to keep them from discoloring because it would have changed the taste quite a bit. Embrace the discoloring!
Though this cocktail is tasty, I would venture to say pears may be on the bottom of my list of preferred fruits to use in cocktails. The puree is just a tad grainy. I know you know what I’m talking about. But hey, live and learn—and cocktail with grace.
The Pearisian Pisco
makes 2 cocktails
- 4 oz pureed pear (approximately 1 large pear, peeled and cored)
- 4 oz pisco
- 2 oz ginger simple syrup (recipe follows)
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake until cold. Strain and serve up in a martini or coupe glass (chilled if possible!)
Ginger simple syrup
- 1 c. sugar
- 1 c. water
- 1 3-inch piece of ginger, peeled and chopped into small pieces
Heat all ingredients over low heat, until sugar dissolves completely. Remove from heat and let ginger steep for at least 15 minutes, more if possible. The longer you steep, the stronger the flavor!
Sip + Skim
My favorite finds this week, boozy and otherwise
- Loving the simplicity of the new cocktail site 365 Days of Cocktails. Eye candy + delicious cocktail recipes. Yes, please.
- I’ll take one of each of these glasses, on sale from Zara Home.
- Visiting this new cocktail bar in San Francisco, Rx, is currently on the tip-top of my list of to-dos. The menu design alone will make you a believer.
- This just in: A Drink a Day to Lower Heart Failure Risk. Hey, who am I to argue with the New York Times?
- Unless you’re on a new year’s anti-social media diet, you’ve probably read this New Yorker piece, “Let’s Get Drinks.” TOO. REAL.
- As noted above, one of my resolutions is to spend more time writing. Journal 52 offers a simple prompt each week—a subtle kick in the rear when I’m feeling too lazy to pick up a pen. See also: The 5-Minute Journal.
- Lastly, a new awesome podcast to introduce you to! On the complete opposite side of the spectrum from Serial is Dear Sugar, a podcast of the same name as Cheryl Strayed’s advice column (and later, book). She and Steve Almond (the columnist before Strayed took over) answer reader questions that span all sorts of topics, from infidelity to addiction. The show is genuine and smart and will get you thinking.