root beer floats to lift a heavy heart
In all my hippy belief that the universe will sort everything out, sometimes things happen that are inherently unfair. On the global scale of war, poverty, and disease to the personal injustices of death, hurt, loss, it’s hard to rationalize when bad things happen to good people. It’s because sympathy lacks proper language. “I’m so sorry” doesn’t even begin to cover the complexity of emotion – empathy, anger, support, love – we try to express at someone’s time of need. Shaking our fists at the universe and declaring “this sucks!” doesn’t begin to codify the self-soothing process to help us heal in a time of tragedy. No matter how badly we want to fix it, erase the pain of those we care for, we can’t; the reality of grief weighs heavy on the heart.
The best advice I ever got was to “drink lots of water, give lots of hugs and stretch every day”, both as a way to live better, and a way to live through the bad. You take care of yourself, you tell others you love them, and you appreciate the small, quiet moments when you just feel.
But even those words of wisdom can be but cold comfort at times, so some cold comfort to go along, because I’ve learned that grief can hit you in the most unexpected ways, often at the worst times, and the only thing that helps keep us afloat is the reminder of the tiny beautiful things we cherish, and the promise of what good the universe still has to offer.
Driving back from visiting grandparents in summer, my mother could sometimes sweet-talk my dad into stopping at the roadside Cream King, one of those old-school ice cream stops shaped like a cone. My father was always loathe to spend money on eating out, especially on junk food, but there was something magical about soft-serve eaten at the rickety picnic tables in sticky, happy silence as the first fireflies started to light up the pinky sky. The root beer floats would usually inspire my mom to stock the kitchen with A&W and vanilla ice cream at the next shopping trip as well. Here is an adult version using Root, which works in a good many other drinks where you might use bourbon.
Grown-Up Root Beer Floats
- 2 ounces Root
- 2 teas fresh ginger, crushed
- 2 stems of fresh mint
- 2 teas chocolate syrup
- 2 sprigs of fresh mint, for garnish
- 1 cup premium vanilla ice cream
- Whipped cream
- dash cinnamon
- 2 chilled martini glasses
- dash root beer
Muddle ginger and mint in a cocktail shaker. Add Root and chocolate syrup. Shake well. Scoop 1/2 cup ice cream into each and strain into chilled martini glass. Strain shaker contents into glass, float with 1/2 oz root beer. Garnish with mint, whipped cream and dash cinnamon. Toast your friend and tell him or her you love them.