I think I may have finally figured it out. Why I always seem to suffer that annual letdown that comes officially on Jan. 2 but sometimes as early as Dec. 26th, the pit in your stomach, the relief wrapped in boredom that is to welcome the mundane after-party of the holiday season. Luckily this year, I had an elixir. A freelance gig that paid better than most, a newly painted living room and the active ingredient: a visit from some dear friends. Gerik and Annette were the perfect pair of guests because they were so relaxed, so happy with anything you decided to take them to and because they had some other friends around to show us fun that we sort of haven't seen since Philadelphia. Our time together involved milkshakes, people. And Brunch. But even though we did lots of things last weekend, there were these little beverages on Sunday evening made from Krupnik, a polish honey vodka, that nearly stole the show.
Having them fixed so carefully at a real bang of a barbeque, amid a fair amount of bustle, made me remember what I used to really cherish about my time in Russia: the ritual of food and drink, the specific rules to be followed guiding their consumption and the absolute devotion to them shared by all. I owe my own experience of krupnik to Gerik and Annette's friend Ben, whose own time in Poland I'm sure guides this persuasion of his for ritual. I'd tell you to find some of the stuff to try for yourself, but what I would mean is, you should probably just find a Polish friend to make you one.