Holiday Spirit: The Coping Mechanism

Coping MechanismIt’s that special Holiday time of the year, which can only mean one thing: like many Americans, I need a drink.

I’ve seen Halloween candy on store shelves as early as August. Department stores piping Christmas music in September. If companies start merchandising Veteran’s Day, I may begin to foam at the mouth.

By Thanksgiving, I’ve just about had it, which is a pity since it happens to be one of my favorite holidays of the year. But now that it’s riding tandem with Hanukkah, I very well may have to lock myself in the bathroom to have my quiet Holiday breakdown.

And I’ve found the ideal cocktail to take in there with me– it’s a take on The Filibuster cocktail by Erik Adkins of Oakland’s Flora restaurant, but altered just enough to help me cope while appearing festive enough to look as though my Holiday spirits are high.

Which they will be, thanks to the three ounces of booze per cocktail.

The Coping Mechanism

Short of a magic wand to transport you elsewhere, this cocktail has everything you need to help cope with Holiday get-togethers: plenty of liquor to take the edge off; maple syrup, which acts as a mild anti-depressant; egg white, which provides enough protein to help you forgo a plate of dry turducken; and lemon juice, which is excellent for softening dry elbows. And that little hint of nutmeg screams “Thanksgiving” just loud enough so you don’t have to.

But the most satisfying part of this cocktail is in the making of it. It must be shaken to achieve its eggnog-ish foam. And quite vigorously. It’s a marvelous way to vent one’s aggression, seasonal or otherwise.


• 3 ounces of bourbon. Use a decent one. Especially if someone else is paying for it.
• 1 ounce dark amber maple syrup. I like using Canadian because they seem as baffled over what to do with Thanksgiving as I do.
• The juice of half a lemon. Either Eureka or Meyer will do just fine.
• The white of one egg freshly liberated from a moderately healthy chicken. Turkey eggs are to be avoided. As are turkeys in general.
• Freshly grated nutmeg
• Plenty of ice


1. Into a large cocktail shaker, drop the ice. Pour over bourbon, maple syrup, lemon juice, and egg white. Close lid firmly.

2. Wrap a clean kitchen towel around the shaker to protect your hands from the cold. The wearing of mittens for this exercise is not recommended. Begin to agitate the contents of your shaker. Step One: Start the exercise as a pleasant dance routine– a conga tempo works very nicely in this case. Step Two: Increase the vigor of your shake, imagining that what you hold in your hands is not a mixology vessel, but rather the neck of your least favorite person in the room. Step Three: Feel incredible remorse at your formerly violent thoughts towards said person, crumble to the floor in a fit of tears. Your body’s own shaking will do the rest of the work for you.

3. Remove the lid of your shaker, strain the frothy contents into a cocktail glass, garnish with a pinch of nutmeg, consume the drink in one or two large gulps, and tell everyone who’s been staring at you for the past three minutes that you’re just fine.

Repeat as often as necessary.


About Michael Procopio

I write about food and am very fond of Edward Gorey. And gin.
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