From Wells Tower's The Brown Coast with thanks to Ron for turning me on to Tower's short story collection Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned.

In an attempt to pull his life back together Bob Munroe spends some time in a neglected beach house. His father, who passed away recently, co-owned the place with Bob's shifty uncle Randall. The death took a toll on Bob and Randall offered up the use of the house so that Bob could "recombobulate." Armed with a list of house projects Bob does some work, hangs out with a neighbor and gathers sea life from a tidal pool. Things seem to be getting better.

In the morning Bob went out to the patio. It was beyond hope. Even to weed it wasn't half worth the little money Randall had vaguely promised, and he'd be damned if he'd rip up those bricks and fix the grade as the note instructed. Still, he guessed he could pull a weed or two, if only to justify a long afternoon down on the shore watching the waves come in.

The work made him angry, first at Randall, who it was obvious hadn't so much as dragged a broom across this patio in the six years he'd owned it, and then at himself, for letting his life drift back to a place where he'd had to take the kind of ape work he had not done in years. Bob had helped build five whole homes, from the mudsills, to the shingles. He'd put up a house for himself and Vicky, and when she first saw it finished, she couldn't stop laughing because it looked so good. What a gentle decent kind of life he'd had with her. What a perfect pageant of disgrace he'd cast himself in now: down on all fours, clawing like an animal at thorns and marsh cherries whose yellow fruit left his hands smelling like bad breath, the red weight of the sun on him, and nobody around to pity his cracked hands or bring him something cool to drink.

With all the weeds gone, the patio did not look good. It was tidy, but now the  big swells where the tree roots lay were easier and more unpleasant to see. The sight seemed an insult to the work he'd already done. Despite himself, he started on the bricks. When he'd pulled and stacked them, he set upon the roots below, snatching at the young pale ones with his bare hands and chipping at the stout pine roots with Randall's rusty ax. It took the rest of the day, and by the time Bob knocked off in the afternoon he was aching and had a raw sunburn on his face and arms. He went inside and mixed up some old Kool-Aid which hardly masked the sulfurous bite of the water that ran up from the tap. Then he walked down toward the shore, and he brought the soup pot with him. - Wells Tower, The Brown Coast, 2002


I know this blog is pretty much all cocktails but after (or during) a long bout of yard work I usually opt for a tall can of beer.

A while ago I made some Bloody Mary powder in an attempt to remake that drink as a fizz. I don't really use it for that though because...well, I'm just not a huge Bloody Mary fan. It works out alright in other applications though. If I'm using it chances are it's being applied to the rim of a glass which is simple and effective while allowing the recipient some control over things after the first sip. Now that Ancho Reyes is available in the state I figured it could factor nicely in a quick and easy Michelada variation.


Michelada Riff
1 oz Ancho Reyes
Garnish - Bloody Mary Powder mixed with some sea salt*
Garnish - Lime Wedge


*mixing the powder with salt was Andrew's suggestion and it's a good one - it keeps it from being too sticky.