Even though it’s only July 3, this morning I woke up listening to the various folks at National Public Radio read the Declaration of Independence. They have been doing this for many years, and somehow hearing the Declaration of Independence always gives me a thrill. I love the beautiful language of the piece, and while I am mindful about the many deficiencies at the time of the founding of our new country—slavery, women’s rights, voting rights in general—I am also mindful that the Declaration of Independence was a start, the beginning of a journey toward freedom that is continuing still. It has been a fitful journey with many setbacks and with roads that shouldn’t have been taken. Even today, it seems that we slide back and forth between progress and regression. Still, there has been progress, and I have seen it over my lifetime. When I was in my twenties, I never would have imagined that a black man would be president, but there he is, and I am so happy I have lived long enough to see this happen.
At the little house in the big woods, we will be celebrating the Fourth the way we usually do—with food, friends, and family. It looks as though the weather is going to allow us to have our celebrations on the patio, where Clif will make his legendary grilled bread. This Fourth, he will be making it with Alice’s homemade sour dough. We’ll also have, among other things, hot dogs, a “baked bean” lentil dish, and red, white, and blue ice cream pie.
In addition, we’ll be serving Moscow mules, a historic cocktail made from vodka, ginger beer, and limes. We are even going to branch out and make a cocktail of our own devising—a “Maine” mule, with vodka, seltzer water, maple syrup, and lime. And, yes, Clif and I are quite proud of coming up with this simple but delicious cocktail. It is slightly sweet with a maple flavor but dry and refreshing. The lime gives it just a touch of zing and finishes the drink.
In the meantime, for American readers, a very happy Fourth. And for readers everywhere, a very happy Saturday.
- 1 ounce of vodka
- 1 tablespoon of pure maple syrup, the darker, the better.
- 6 ounces of seltzer water
- A lime wedge
- In a Collins glass—or a glass similar in size—add the maple syrup.
- Add the vodka.
- Next comes the seltzer water.
- Squeeze in lime juice from lime wedge.
- Stir gently with a swizzle stick.
- Add ice.