Author’s note: the day after I submitted this for publication, a man walked into the Emanuel A.M.E. Church and killed nine people. Charleston will not be defined by the last spasms of an old evil—one the good people of that city work to overcome daily. To that end, I’ve left this piece about my jaunt through the bars intact. It seems a bit of a trifle now, but in times like these it helps to hold onto the good things.
Man didn’t always enjoy leisure. Once upon a time, if a man stopped to take a leisurely stroll or pick some flowers, he was tiger food. Until mankind developed technology, skills, and social systems that allowed him to spend less than every waking moment hunting for food and trying not to be killed, he couldn’t devote much of his brain to silly things that don’t necessarily perpetuate the species: art; music; writing; science; religious devotion; whittling.
That’s the important thing to understand about leisure; it’s not simple idleness. It’s doing something for it’s own sake, rather than for some utilitarian end. A man of leisure may not be working for measurable gains, but he is still improving himself. Even so humble an activity as practicing a whistle can enliven a man’s life and bring a small measure of enjoyment to those around him.
In keeping with our theme, this cocktail has a prep time of more than five hours – time aplenty to get into that book you’ve been putting off, or practice your marksmanship, or any damn thing. The recipe is fairly simple, but no less delicious for that.
Nowadays it’s not at all difficult to find 100% agave tequilas. Whether your tastes run to blanco, reposado, or añejo, the good stuff is within reach. Take a gander at the top shelf. Many of the available lines of all-agave tequilas are affordable, flavorful, and suitable for both mixing and sipping.
Quality tequila can change your entire perspective, and not just by putting you on the floor (though that might still happen). This week’s cocktail is an excellent example of how to ease into an appreciation of tequila.