Baking With Bourbon


In the past one-and-a-half years, I’ve lived in three different houses. Had three different addresses.

It’s been a long season of fluid and stressful change.

If this sounds like a coexistence of contradictions, it is. It has been the trail of a pinball ricocheting through channels of opposition.

But now it’s Christmas departing and a new year is preparing to be ushered in.

Tonight Hub and I had chocolate biscotti with a dollop of cappuccino-chocolate- swirl almond-milk ice cream, separately drizzled with a spoonful of dark rum. Yum. The healing power of mocha.

We’re celebrating our own version of the twelve days of yuletide. Tomorrow I’ll be baking sweet potato cranberry muffins with a shot of bourbon in the batter. Life doesn’t get much better than baking with bourbon. I learned that while living in the South. Specifically, in the hollers of Appalachia, from whence I’ve carried this secret ingredient for decades like a concealed weapon.

On the actual day of the New Year, we’ll share a Southwestern favorite: chicken enchiladas with some black beans tossed in for good fortune.

No eggnog, but I may have a mug of steaming chai. My recipe, made without tea – not black or green. And, by golly, it’s dairy-free and delicious. Sweetened with a deep note of dark maple syrup and perhaps a whisper of dark rum – just a special grace note for the holiday.

We deserve it. That’s how we see it.

Life has been chaotic and quixotic. We’ve endured the tumbles. We’ve come out the other end with tales to tell and some minor scars as proof. Basically, we’re just grateful to be standing still a spell and breathing in the unusual warmth of December air.

Thinking back over the past year, my favorite event was the solar eclipse. I spent the moment sitting by the pond in our new backyard, with my back to the sun and eyes fixated on the cinderblock wall ahead of me.

As the shadow shifted, my chattering mind slowed to a murmur. Then .  .  . silence. No thoughts. Just as there were no bird notes on the breeze. No breeze even. No airplanes overhead. No traffic humming in the distance. No dogs barking. No children laughing.

It was the silencing of my entire world. And I continue to cherish this sacred twinkling of emptiness.

Why? Because all fretting ceased. It was simply irrelevant. And existence just was what it always is beneath the flurry of humanity’s fears: Free.

And I, being a loner by nature, connect with empty spacious skies like a Velcro dot seeking its opposite and equal mate.

This is why we sold the retirement condo and chose not to move to the East Coast. Chose not to live next to the hazel waves of the Atlantic Ocean.

We circled around a few times, but ultimately returned to the arid highlands. This time to the city life. To the balance of civilization and surrounding nothingness, with blue skies and cauliflower clouds hovering above the brown earth.

It fits my soul.

My mocha soul of introspection. Like the secret of bourbon in my back pocket.Bikers, Cowboys & Outlaws @ The Hollar, Madrid, NM.jpg

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