Once a popular sentiment against which a thousand toasting flutes have collided, I decided to create a drink to honor a few crucial life decisions from the past few months. The only question is, can one not only drink to health, wealth and happiness but also drink health, wealth and happiness? I say: Sure, if one is Laurel Dailey.
I cut simple carbs and sugar out of my life completely about three months ago. That means no wheat, no flour, no bread, no fruit, no rice, no sugar; nuthin'. I subsist entirely on protein and veggies these days, a decision that carries with it enough revelations to fill a page, so I'll save my ruminations for another blog post. Along with my carbohydrate abstinence, I've also decided to lay off the hootch for six weeks.
Pick your collective jaws up off the floor. I'm aware of my reputation as boozily charming, semi-functional, upright alcoholic. I'm also aware that hard liquor doesn't actually have any carbs per se. But for six weeks, I'm giving up the firewater in order to pursue health, wealth, and happiness. For one thing, sprucing up my diet has proven to be far more expensive an endeavor than I expected. If I can save money somewhere, it's most definitely in those $7-a-pop whiskey and sodas I was sucking down every other day. And another thing: after setting out to 'cut back a little' on the drinking, I discovered that I was drinking a lot more than I thought I was. Sure, sure, I'm pushing thirty, so it was never the kind of whiskey-soaked imbibing to write home about (as in: "Mom and dad, call the rehabilitation center, I'm checking IN."), but still. The social pressures to drink are considerably more demanding than I--Laurel "Never Met A Drink I Didn't Like!" Dailey--previously realized. I'm naturally a social person. Los Angeles and Long Beach proffer a bevy of delicious restaurants and bars at which to connect with my friends. I'm eating a lot more beef, and do you know what pairs exceptionally well with any cut of cow? Whiskey! Red wine! Jesus Juice, oh my!
Now this part will come as the biggest shock of all to those who know me well, but the constant Diet Coke was becoming kind of a downer.
But hey, consider this, y'all: You can change. Yup, even you--the stubborn old goat in the corner over there who's been sticking to his guns for the better part of four decades. I can change, you can change. It ain't easy, but it's possible. But more on that in another post.
Because you know what? I'm Laurel Dailey, and I don't do my drinking half-ass, even if there's not a healthy swish of gin at the bottom of the glass. While at Mohawk Bend in LA last week, and tired of my usual DC-on-intravenous-drip, I ordered a soda water with a squeeze of lemon and Miracle Mile sour cherry bitters.
It's refreshing, it's carb-free, it's alcohol-free,* and depending on the bar or restaurant, it's often free free. As in, zero dollars. So here's the recipe I perfected at home last week that I'm calling Health, Wealth and Happiness.
Cheers, you sloppy drunkards.
*Yes, I know that bitters are alcoholic. But the trace drops I'm tossing in my pint glass certainly aren't breaking any of my self-imposed rules, aight?
What you'll need:
Orange flower water
Basil or mint
What you do:
Fill a glass with ice, then add a few generous dashes of bitters (I like Peychauds, but Angostura is also delicious. You can really taste the quality of what you're using when there aren't any other flavors interacting with it, so go nuts. Lord knows there's a whole heap of artisanal bitters out there for the tasting). Follow with a splash of orange flower water, and fill glass with sparkling water. Garnish with a lemon wedge and leafy green of your choice. I also added a bloom from the African guava tree in my backyard--the petals are edible!