Character Reference

cranberry cocktail in tall cut glass, with orange garnish and metal straw, on countertop beside cocktail shaker

I’m not certain what’s been going on with my dreams lately.

I’m generally a heavy dreamer — most nights will have two or three — but I tend to have a particular menu:

• The one where I’m late for something and it takes me a distressingly long time to pack my suitcase. The longer I look, the more laundry is spread across the floor, most of it mismatched socks.

• The one where I break into the house of somebody I used to know 20 years ago and look for someplace to take a nap.

• The restaurant with a dishwashing area the size of a warehouse, and they start turning the lights off before I’m done with the dishes.

• The one in the world’s largest hotel, with a fantastic view of the ocean.

But for the past week or so, I’ve been having a whopper at some point during the night that is unusually crisp and to the point. It’s almost like one of those TV shows where people accidentally have each other’s dreams.

Last Wednesday, apparently Dream Me got blackout drunk and behaved very badly. The whole dream was different friends and acquaintances filling me in on how much I had disgraced myself. Interestingly, my Dream Friends were not much more responsible than I was:

“You let me DRIVE!!?”

“Well, we weren’t going to miss this!”

Normally I would probably be bothered by this and wonder what was going on with my subconscious, but the night before, I had led a revolution in Polynesia against a supernatural regime, armed with a bar of soap. Soap might not seem like a very effective tool for social change, but my followers were very inspired by it.

Last night, I was involved in a competition between superhero colleges. Students from competing schools kept asking what my superpower was. I’d tell them to slap me as hard as they could, and they’d start to, but something huge and distracting would happen. Finally, one of the other students put together that my superpower was Dodging Fate.

Which is to say, the more I try to figure out what message my brain is trying to send me, the more I need a drink.

Here is a seasonal one that is delicious and fairly straightforward. I wrote a story a few years ago about a girl who was trying to scam her way into a Cranberry Queen beauty pageant. It is called:

The Character Reference

As we all know, character references are, by their nature, deceptive. So is this drink.

  • 2 ounces vodka – this is a good job for Tito’s
  • 1½ ounces triple sec
  • 3 ounces unsweetened cranberry juice
  • seltzer to top, ~3 ounces

Shake the vodka, triple sec and cranberry juice with ice, and strain into a tall glass.

Top with seltzer, and stir gently.

Garnish with an orange wedge and a straw.

This is a lovely, light-tasting highball that, like most character references, neglects to tell you its whole story. Cranberry and orange are another classic combination. The vodka plays its part behind the scenes and will look over its shoulder saying, “Who? Me?” if you go looking for it. Keep in mind, though, that this has three and a half ounces of alcohol in it.

This is an excellent holiday party drink — it looks so lovely that other party guests are likely to ask for a sip, then ask for one of their own. After several people have had several of these, the conversations will get significantly more interesting.

As will your dreams

Featured photo: Character reference. Photo by John Fladd.

Stay in the loop!

Get FREE weekly briefs on local food, music,

arts, and more across southern New Hampshire!