Spring brings along with it the dubious refined culture of the mid-day cocktail. Think mint juleps, Planter’s punch, mojitos, and of course the hangover brunch standards: Mimosas and Bloody Marys. In my Memphis-based undergraduate days, we trained during much of the year to get ready for studied diligently, then barely survived enjoyed a series of late semester parties, culminating in a music festival called “Rites of Spring.” Awfully pagan for a church affiliated private liberal arts school, hmmm? Good times.
I’ve moderated my own daytime drinking propensity in the decades years since in response to semi-responsible adulthood: graduate school, keeping a job, parenthood, PTA meetings, those goddamn pesky “empty” alcohol calories that every fascist nutritional resource tells you will haunt you and your belly fat thighs ass liver and muffin top mid-section forever. And they do, my friends, they do.
But there are certain events in one’s life that call out for the return of day drinking an occasional mid-afternoon cocktail in its inherent subversive naughty splendor: Super Bowl Sunday. Mardi Gras. The Kentucky Derby. Volunteering at your kids’ school for “Pioneer Week” field trips. Independence Day.
And, here in my adopted mountain home: Spring Skiing.
Case in point. Our family unit ventured to Grand Targhee, WY last weekend for an extended ‘Spring Fling’ two-day ski race event in which our older son, Tim Collins, competed. We met up with about 10 other families from our home mountain and awesome guests. We arrived at the mountain at 8:30 am each day to get our kids outfitted with their race speed suits, their racing bibs, their surly attitudes, and their appropriately-waxed skis. Then the parents took turns trudging up the slope to set up a ‘base camp’ at the race finish—a good 200 yards straight uphill. My man The Macallan valiantly delivered tent poles, coolers, and backpacks. I
mercilessly nagged supervised, and tried to finish my coffee before it cooled.
Waiting at the tent each morning after a couple of runs by noon, were the combined efforts of a few but mighty genius minds: Gallons (yes, gallons!!) a pitcher of super-peppery homemade Bloody Mary mix, several quarts of hooch hidden in duffle bags a bottle of Five Wives Vodka (Utah’s own artisan spirit), and some jalapeño-stuffed green olives for garnish. Served in red Solo cups non-breakable slope-side beverage containers, this was, my friends, the nectar of the ski gods. Ullr and Loki were undoubtedly looking after us in their own pagan fashion: Rites of Spring, now all grown up. Kinda.
Slope-side Bloody Mary (makes 1, multiply as needed for your crowd)
When I’m at home, I add a bacon-salt rim to the glass, just ‘cause you can and it’s delicious (Hello? Bacon + salt !?). Also great with Old Bay Seasoning.
In a cocktail shaker with 3-4 cubes ice add:
2 oz. vodka
One 5.5 oz. can original V8 juice
½ tsp. fresh lemon juice
¼ tsp. prepared horseradish
2 dashes Worcestershire sauce
2 dashes hot sauce (I like Crystal)
1 tsp. Okra pickle juice or green olive juice
A couple of generous cranks of fresh-ground coarse black peppercorns
A generous shake of bacon salt or Old Bay Seasoning
Shake until combined. Pour the whole shaker into a heavy glass or red Solo cup. Garnish with pickled okra and/or several skewered green olives.
Until next ski season, SKOL and Slainté, my friends!
*Please imbibe responsibly, and for cripes sake watch your sodium levels. We’re not getting any younger, you know. Geez.