14. The L-Train

Named after the famous “elevated” train that weaves through the streets of Chicago, this gin-based cocktail literally took us all over town. L is for elevated train, and L is for lavender- the comically elusive herb.

The great Lavender quest of 2017 began bright and early as I brainstormed where I would look first. Naturally, I began where every resourceful woman begins— I texted my mother. She advised me to go to the grocery store. Revolutionary! A point for motherly wisdom.

We start at Trader Joe’s. As it turns out, they have recently stopped carrying it. Daren even checked the back room and the spice safe. No dice.

Back in the car, Sam gets on the phone with the nice folks at Mariano’s. After some searching, our friend gets back on the line, and breaks the bad news. No lavender, however he recommends that we check with the Bucktown store.

Moments later Sam is back on the phone and sweet-talking another Mariano’s employee. This time the conversation sounds much more positive. Success! This man (Kevin as we later learn) has a strong suspicion that they carry lavender flowers. Good enough.

We arrive, we park, and we bee line it for the flower department. The woman manning the department quickly informs us that no such lavender flower exists. But if they did exist, perhaps we could find them in the organic food section.

So we jog to the opposite end of the store, and we stick our noses in every suspiciously purple herb. No lavender. At this point my unflappable optimism is about to break. Sam carried the team at this point. He tracks down yet another Mariano’s employee who has a hunch that there may be dried lavender in bulk . . . on the exact opposite side of the store.

At this point I have already had a full work out, so I let Sam jog ahead. He gets a head start scanning the labels of an endless row of jars. By the time I arrive, Sam is standing there with the most satisfied grin on his face.

Lavender! By the pound!

So the morals of the story are as follows. Persevere. Befriend the stranger. And invite others in— the mundane doesn’t seem so mundane after all.

L-Train Recipe

Makes two drinks

2 shots of Gin

1 shot of St-Germain

½ shot Lemon juice

2 springs of Lavender

Combine ingredients in a shaker, add ice, and shake for 10 seconds. Double strain into chilled glasses.



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