Measured Extravagance

26 November 2001 - 9:00 p.m.

Now this is truly sad: I can't find the lemon I bought two hours ago, having intended to assemble a hot toddy for myself after dinner. It doesn't seem to be in the fridge, the freezer, or anywhere else in the kitchen, and I've also checked my vest, my tote bag, the bathroom drawers, the dog's mouth, and the top of the piano. No doubt I'll look in one of those places tomorrow and the elusive yeller thang will be right there smack in front of me. At least, I hope so: I don't like the idea of a loose lemon at large in the house, and since my chest colds tend to linger on for days, I'm sure I'm still going to want a hot toddy tomorrow.

At any rate, since the water was hot and the sugar already spooned out, I made myself a cup of tea instead. According to some of the webpages I checked, a hot toddy doesn't necessarily require lemon, sometimes includes tea (or coffee), and is really whatever the bartender and/or bartended choose to define as a hot toddy. Even Irish coffee, which is a drink I wouldn't consider curative under any circumstance -- except perhaps when watching college football when it's twenty degrees F and dropping (I used to live within walking distance of Michigan Stadium).

In my case, I've decided that I want to chase my cough with some combination of hot water, whisky, lemon, sugar and cinnamon, plus or minus whatever combination of apple-pie spices happen to be in my cupboard. And that's the only mixed drink I intend to serve myself this week: my friend Ip just told me about concocting Cosmopolitans with vanilla vodka and the mere thought makes me feel even greener around the gills (she says it takes the edge off of the cranberry juice). When I think about it, it probably makes as much sense as cherries on cheesecake and other sour-sugar combinations, but all I wanted to do when I read her description was reach for my single-malt Cragganmore and hug it close to me, fending off all potential pollutants.

Just received my copy of Ilya's Honey - volume 7, number 3: I'm on page 64 ("Three Songs from New Orleans"). PO Box 225435 / Dallas, TX 75222-5435 / $6.

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