It was a sun shiny Mother’s Day, full of the promise of Spring. The birds were chirping, bright colored dresses uncovering legs seeing their first sunlight of the year dotted the restaurant. It was the calm before the storm. Mother’s Day is the busiest day of the year for many restaurants. Not true for fathers day but I’ll leave it up to you to assign whatever values you choose to that. Mother’s Day business looks a lot like a bell curve. A few reservations at the very beginning, building to an intense crescendo in the middle and then petering out for dinner. It has been the same in every restaurant that I have ever worked in.
The two Spring lovebirds arrived early and sat playfully at the bar, pushing and pulling on each other, making every excuse for physical contact. There is no happiness like early love.
“Are you okay?” he said leaning in close and gently kissing her ear.
“I’m a little nervous,” she whispered, before returning the sentiment by kissing his ear.
He cupped her chin gently with both hands and looked her deep in the eyes.
“She’ll love you, because I love you,” he said for reassurance.
“I hope so,” she said far less confidently.
It was apparently their first Mother’s Day with his mother, an awkward proposition from all sides of the equation.
“We’ll have two Ramos fizzes,” he piped up. “For courage,” he added looking at his beloved.
I whipped up two of the perennial breakfast cocktails using our freshly made bulk mix. When you are going to make 200 of a certain drink, bulk mixes are the only way to go. That way every drink tastes the same. Hand crafting that many individual drinks is going to break down sometime after fatigue and freshness wear off.
“There she is,” he said almost a soon as I set the drinks down.
The couple picked up the drinks and downed them both in one gulp. He, because he knew what was coming and she, because she didn’t.
Future mother blew in the front door, a virtual tizzy of activity. Things dropped out of her bag and she shouted out orders, to the hostess, to the valet, to the manager by the front door and to her husband who followed behind, picking up the trail of her things.
“Sorry we are late but the car wouldn’t start, even though I’ve told him a hundred times to get it fixed, but he doesn’t listen, he’s too busy working on his yard or whatever it is that he does because lord knows I don’t know even know though I’ve asked him a hundred times, but he never tells me. Can I get a drink first? I’m thirsty and we didn’t have time to stop because the car wouldn’t start, but I think I said that already, you must be Helen, I’ve heard so much about you, but not that much because he doesn’t call enough or when he does he’s too busy…”
The woman I know knew was named Helen just stared. She then did the only prudent thing possible under the circumstances. She looked at me.
“Can we get her a Fizz?” she said to me.
“That would be nice,” said the potential future mother in law.
“But make it fresh, I don’t like mixes, and make sure to separate the egg and use cream not half and half, and I hope you have flower water, because I don’t like orange juice, and fresh squeeze the lemon juice and make sure the glass is chilled…And foamy I like it foamy,” said the future mother in law.
I reached for the gin bottle.
“No not that one, I don’t like Boodles, use Bombay or Beefeaters, or Plymouth or Bafferts but not that one,” she said pointing at the bottle in my hand.
So the rest of the drink preparation went with her correcting me at every other ingredient. By the time that one drink was prepared I checked the clock to see if it was time for my break.
Meanwhile, Helen’s beau and her potential future father in law just watched helplessly. Helen on the other land observed each correction with an increasingly perplexed look on her face. Food was ordered and Future Mom rearranged the plates at least twice, she handed me empty glasses and generally interfered in every action necessary. Helen did her best to help. At one point both women held the same plate of food by either edge, and a slight tug of war ensued.
“Over here dear, said future Mom.
“But there’s no room.”
“Yes there is.”
“Mom just let her set it down,” said Helen’s beau.
“I’m just trying to help,” said future Mom.
Helen looked long and hard at future Mom. Then turned that long calculating look at her beau and then at his helpless father. On and on it went until brunch was concluded.
I never did see Helen in the company of her beau again, it seemed that one Mother’s Day with her potential new mom was all took to know that she would hit her head on the bottom of that gene pool if she dived in. Leaving me two thoughts about future Mother’s Days.
- Sometimes when we stare into the abyss, we blink, especially if that abyss is the circumstances of the rest of our lives.
- “Helping” often looks a lot like controlling.
One high maintenance mother in law Ramos Fizz
1 ½ ounces gin
½ ounce simple syrup
1 ounce heavy cream
1 raw egg white, yolk separated and discarded*
1 lemon wedge
Splash orange flower water
Combine first four ingredients into a mixing glass with ice. Squeeze lemon’s juice into glass and discard. Shake vigorously until foamy. Rinse chilled cocktail glass with orange flower water, discarding excess. Strain cocktail mixture into coated glass and garnish with orange wheel. Sip while wilting under the watchful glare of your future mother in law. Or down in one gulp and run for the door.
* Pasteurized egg whites are an alternative for anyone concerned with intestinal health. Eggs can be omitted altogether however doing so will remove this cocktails signature fizz.