Independence is a defining characteristic of the American spirit – on both a national and an individual level. Americans are known for their individualism, and when paired with our freedoms people with strong opinions are often the ones shouting their messages louder than others. The free flow of ideas contributes to the success of the country, however, our nation seems to be more divided than ever – white against black, law enforcement against civilian, conservative versus liberal. Perhaps it’s that those with the louder voices are drowning out the others or maybe it’s only the narrative that the media is constructing.
Personally, I love talking with people who hold opinions different than my own. Respectful dialogue with someone of a different persuasion is one of my favorite ways to gain new perspective. I have an outspoken friend who has a worldview that is very different than mine. A few weeks ago we were sipping whiskey and talking until 4am about relationships, worldviews, and who knows what else. Although we have drastically different opinions, we were able to have an open dialogue and respectably disagree. When the night concluded he said something that stuck with me – “Andrew, I can tell you believe the things you stand for because you’re not always on the defense for your ideas.” I agree with this statement, but also realize there is a balance to be found. A ship sailing the direction of whichever wind is favorable and one sailing according to a predetermined course may appear similar to an outside observer in that they are traversing from point A to B, but the reasons for their dispositions are different.
Aristotle said, “It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.” Too often we close up and do not listen to others, refusing to accept that we may be wrong. We become too interested in proselytizing rather than gaining understanding from perspectives other than our own. I’m not saying that all ideas are equal, but rather we should constantly seek truth and knowledge with humility. Understanding that not only do we not have all the answers, but that we may also have internalized some falsehoods. The challenge lies in having the confidence to express ourselves, and I believe that when we make ourselves vulnerable that people are encouraged to reciprocate.
At this point, I’m tempted to make some sort of disclaimer like “Thanks for reading all that through to the end. Now here is a cocktail recipe for your reward”, but I know that everyone has read the whole post not just skipped down to the recipe right? I came upon the American Breakfast cocktail one day when I had excess grapefruit that I needed to use. I’ve made it multiple ways, but believe me when I say that fresh grapefruit juice is much better than even premium 100% juice that’s store bought. And maple syrup – the real deal definitely matters here too. Judging by the bacon and eggs in the photos you may think I’m implying that you actually enjoy this cocktail over breakfast, but sometimes things that sound like good ideas end up not sounding as good when it comes down to it. If you really want it early in the morning, try it over brunch. I don’t mention it in the ingredients section, but I rimmed the glass with Bourbon Smoked Sugar. You can find it here on Amazon. Oh, and that bacon strip garnish – I couldn’t resist being a little tongue-in-cheek with a cocktail called the American Breakfast, especially on 4th of July weekend.
Have a safe and happy weekend celebrating independence. Consider what it means to you as an individual and as a result of the free nation we live in. I hope you mix up a couple American Breakfasts and have warm conversations and respectful dialogues with those close to you.
- 2 ounces bourbon
- .5 ounce grapefruit juice
- .5 ounce maple syrup
- pinch salt
- Combine ingredients in a cocktail shaker and shake until chilled.
- Double strain into a rocks glass filled with ice.
- Garnish with grapefruit zest.
Rest in peace, Michael Andrew Lieberman. You always appreciated that this post was a result of our deep conversations. You and those conversations will be truly missed.