Shaken & Stirred: Boyhood

by Michael Cecconi

Change is an inevitable function of time. Deliberate, documented change is a function of planning. 

Boyhood1

When I work behind the bar my shift is broken up into a thousand different tasks ordered randomly. The constants are making the drinks, keeping a clean workspace, doling out charm in carefully calibrated doses. The unknowns, i.e. the guests, keep me on my toes, always staying one step ahead of the demands of service. Time is a series of fires that I need to put out, grab a shifty (always the best tasting drink), and leave. And I love it. Planning, preparation, and long-term goals are for suckers and people with better retirement plans than I have. But Richard Linklater doesn’t feel that way. His is the long con. This was evident even from his first movie, Slacker . Wandering the streets of Austin, we had to have faith that there was a long-term goal that we were working towards. That I felt profound boredom descending on me, bypassing any of the Zen-like states of calm abiding I’ve often read about but never experienced, did not bode well for me and Linklater’s burgeoning relationship.

But then he got the idea to create a movie where the filming spans 12 years, so we get to see a boy develop to a man. And a bunch of other adults age a dozen years, or so. And I try to have faith that he has a bigger picture in mind. Or even a small picture, like a movie, with a plot and conflict and characters that interact and care for each other and a narrative that draws me in. Or even a movie of a life where some interesting moments are caught on film. I left the movie feeling that I had slackeritis, and that the moments of life that bore us aloft were gone forever.

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So I don’t have the luxury (or patience) of providing for you an experience that takes 12 years to make.  And I think neither of us has the time for a cocktail that meanders aimlessly over the course of two hours and 45 minutes. Granted, you do get a small inkling of the 20 years that I have worked behind the bar, but that isn’t something you can taste in the same way you watch Boyhood . But what if I could create, explicitly, the passage of time into your experience of a cocktail? Enter South of the Equator. A shot of cachaça, an ice cube, a lime/sugar ice cube, a mango ice cube, and a cherry/elderflower ice cube. Disclaimer: I love cheap cachaça. It is the sugar cane juice derived national spirit of Brazil. I love the petroleum-laced punch it packs no matter what you mix with it. I love the price. I love the fact that in Brazil one can get a caipirinha on any street corner made from the cheapest of hooches, but with the same TLC one would find at a fancy cocktail bar. But for this drink I want a little refinement, because the first sip of this cocktail is one of undiluted spirit (maybe Leblon). As the cachaça and the ice cubes make their acquaintance the drink evolves, matures, grows up, and becomes a balanced upstanding cocktail before the ice completely melts and it becomes wan, dilute, and wizened.

I like to think of Mason, Jr. as getting sweeter, and more balanced as he matures. At the end of the movie he has hit a kind of harmony, full of potential. But we need to sit through a lot to get there. With South of the Equator it is more a nursing and sipping and appraising, something that fell out of fashion with children around the turn of the 20th century.

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South of the Equator

Rocks glass
1 10 oz bag frozen cherries + 1/2 c water
3 c lime juice
12 oz mango puree + 1 c water
1 1/2 c simple syrup
Elderflower cordial
Fine Cachaça rum

Lime cubes:

We are essentially making homemade sour mix. Add half as much simply syrup to the lime juice (in this case 1 1/2 c), fill ice cube tray and freeze.

Cherry cubes:

Puree frozen cherries and water in blender until smooth. Add elderflower cordial to taste (start slow). Fill ice cube tray and freeze.

Mango cubes:

Combine mango puree and water. Stir, then fill ice cube trays and freeze.

If you want to take it to the next level, buy some actual mangoes, puree the flesh, and add simple syrup to taste. These can’t help but taste super special.

The drink:

Freeze cubes for a minimum 24 hours. Take one of each type of ice cube and a few regular ice cubes and place in rocks glass. Add 2 oz of room temperature cachaça, stir and sip. This drink tastes almost exclusively of rum at first sip, so I use a good quality cachaça. Once the ice starts melting it tastes more of a traditional cocktail.

All those moments will be lost in time…like tears in rain…

 

CecconiMichael likes all things drink related.  Michael likes movies.  And, in an odd twist of fate, Michael loves words about movies.  These three facts combine to make a perfect storm of sensibility, ability, and inebriation needed to fulfill duties at EatDrinkFilms.  When not rhapsodizing about film, Michael tends the bar at Two Sisters Bar & Books in San Francisco.  He teaches mixology in San Francisco and New York.  And lately, he’s been trying to capture the magic of what he does in a bottle so he can spread his tasty libations across the land.  Please feel free to contact him at themobilemixologist@gmail.com with all queries.

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