Updated: Dec 9, 2020
Lime Vodka Soda: I don’t drink a lot of vodka so I didn’t really know what to expect. But I did expect to go somewhere exotic, the “Isle of Vodka,” wherever that is. Instead, that zing of lime dropped me in the cafeteria of Madison West High School, when one day, like a Disney movie from the 1970s, I opened my brown bag to find not my usual PB&J and orange but my dad’s lunch. His Dannon yogurt, granola bar, and one lime-flavored Klarbrunn sparkling water sparked the questions: How is he enjoying my savory lunch and who packs a lunch without a sandwich?
Gin and Tonic: This should be called a cucumber gin and tonic. So cucumber-forward it took me to Florida resorts: lobbies with pitchers always almost empty so you end up with just uber-cucumber flavored dribble. This drink was better than that. But it still tasted a lot like cucumber.
Bali Hai Tiki Rum Mai Tai: I was in a beachfront hotel on my last night in Belize. That magic hour of 5 pm after a hot afternoon in the jungle, showered. Too early for dinner but just right for cocktails. Fresh fabric swooshed against my tan legs in a dress I hadn’t yet worn on our 11-day trip, as I floated down to the bar to meet friends. He sat on a lounge chair, pointing at what had been a manatee in the water. Minutes later a glorious creature gurgled and farted her way to the surface. Watching this feminine beast, I thought of the past week lying on the net of a catamaran drinking more rum in 10 days than my whole life. I didn’t want it to end. Didn’t want to be anything other than a woman at sea. Didn’t want to get to the bottom of this canned Mai Tai.
Vodka Mule: Even though it’s not a dark n’ stormy, put a ginger beer/lime combo in a copper cup and I’ll be there: Fourth of July, 2013, Plum Island, Massachusetts. Staying with a friend’s uncle and his partner mid-New England roadtrip for my first, homemade dark n’ stormy. The drink was sharp and crisp, syncopating our conversation of private colleges as fireworks popped over the bay.
Lime Tequila Margarita: This classic marg flew me to a vacation just weeks after the 2016 election. In Vancouver B.C. I was about to miss my connecting flight to Cancun. I looked at every kind-faced Canadian I cut in the security line with fiery eyes that said, “YOU DO NOT UNDERSTAND. I HAVE TO GET TO MEXICO.” Every one of them let me cut without even a snark. What followed was eleven days of equal parts yoga and tequila. I did not think of what was to come. Sun-kissed, limber, and salty with a squeeze of lime, I never looked better.