2 oz mezcal for my brother, for the way he pretends liquor is water until he’s spewing spinach off the porch, morning Pollock found dried onto the cement, curling against the brick steps, seconds from the safety of the forsythia bramble guarding the ledge. Mezcal for its smoke, for its burnt-out anger.
½ oz simple for my father, for his distillations and the sweet descent toward sleep he takes on afternoons by the fire. Simple for the sugar he refuses to consume unless the boys are home and even then maybe not. As a child, I thought he was the grit, the pain, fingers twisted to keep me quiet in church. But no he was the sweet.
¾ oz allspice dram for my brother, a specific brand probably no longer on the market. He’s pumpkin pie familiar in expensive button downs. He’s the haircut everyone’s doing but doesn’t realize. His eyes glaze in every photo, and I’m not sure if its to keep his insides from coming out or the outside from knowing what’s in.
Lime for my mother, who wouldn’t want to be in a cocktail anyway, would squirm her way into kombucha instead. She’s the missing piece in a silent room. She’s the bite, the acid, the warmth. Give her a squeeze.
Shake. Pour over ice in a rocks glass. Garnish with a lime twist. Drink until the family’s gone, and only the dog remains.
Benjamin Mast grew up in a Mennonite community in northern Indiana, but currently lives and works in Seattle with his boyfriend. He started working in restaurants as a busser, and now serves tables at a whiskey bar. Though COVID-19 has paused his employment, he's had more time to write.