I went to a wedding on Saturday on a little island off the southwest Florida coast. When the party ended, we piled into an old-fashioned open-air trolley to drive the 10 minutes back to our hotel.
The sky was brimming with stars. Every inch of the blackness overhead was saturated with stars, so many that they almost seemed to blend into shimmering swaths of light. We rode the trolley with the hot, humid night air pressing in on us. The road was dark and quiet, lined with palm trees that loomed above us, black and spiky and tropical-looking.
When we arrived, we walked down to the empty beach. Stripped off our clothes. Walked into the warm water. The waves were flat and silent, the entire ocean laid out before us. The bright sky gave off a milky glow such that a soft opalescence appeared to emanate from the surface of the water.
The ocean here hosts a curious, rare phenomenon: bioluminescence. Motion in the water lights up tiny bioluminescent plankton. Sweep your arm through the water and dozens of bright pinpricks of light appear. We rapidly kick our legs, creating swirls of cloudy light, and it’s hard to explain how mystical it feels. We dive into the inky black ocean, the pricks of light illuminating the field around our bodies, glowing in the dark.
I felt so transported for those minutes, like I was getting to see something most people don’t see. I’ll remember it for a long time, as an isolated incredible moment, but also as a reminder to never stop looking for beautiful things: Never stop exploring, never close yourself up to being surprised.
So in the spirit of exploration, here’s a cocktail recipe for you. Not something I consider myself an expert in, but I've been experimenting with drinks (okay kind of just an excuse to have a cocktail every night), fiddling around to find something I really like.
At weddings (and bars in general), I always feel stuck for what to order. I don't have a go-to drink, so I invented an easy one that most bartenders can do well: tequila, grapefruit juice, grenadine, and soda. Top it off with a wedge of lime, or a sprig of herb if you want to be fancy (I do, so I did here with some thyme, but rosemary would be good too).
Don't worry, just one of these isn't what got me tipsy enough to sprint into the ocean in my undies on Saturday night. But if you drink more than three, I make no promises about what will happen.
2 ounces very good tequila (I like Patron silver)
2 ounces freshly squeezed grapefruit juice
1 ounce grenadine (use 3/4 ounce if you don't like sweet drinks)
spring of thyme or wedge of lime
In a cocktail shaker, combine the grapefruit juice, grenadine, and tequila. Shake well and then strain into an ice-filled highball glass. Fill to the top with club soda. Garnish with thyme or lime.