THE MOCK-TAIL GALLERY PT 3
15th August, 2014
My Mum is one of those quiet achiever types. The type who keeps to a routine to juggle home and career, who takes on the hundred humdrum tasks others would shun because ‘they just have to be done.’ Her brand of bravery is to subdue her every day in a calm, persistent way that makes it so easy to forget how punishing her schedule already is.
Whenever I see Mary Cassatt’s Auguste Reading To Her Daughter, I can only think of Mum. She would only smile at my moue of discontent while I contemplate on the excitement that is outside my frame. But like running water polishing a rough stone, she will either wear me down or win me over. And just like the painting, her gentle and genteel veneer masks that dependable courage that lurks underneath.
This Impressionist masterpiece of a resilient mother and a restless daughter is the appointed muse for my next mock-tail offering.
The Cassatt (2013)
Under the Cassatt’s subtle teals and luscious pinks, is a flavour that reveals the pluck to this concoction. The layer of blueberry and citrus brings a brittle tartness that cuts through the spike of sweetness from the cherry nectar strata. For a display of bravado, I thought, a lime spiral to embrace the stem and fronds of fairy floss to feather the rim. It was easy to negotiate the spiral into steady curls but the confection proved to be as petulant as a child, turning into a sticky tangle thanks to the humidity in the kitchen.
But art is as much about boldness as it is about patience. This I learned from Mum. My Mum, and the floor matted by many wasted packets of cotton candy after painstaking hours of application. The effort proved to be worth it. One look at the finished Cassatt on the counter and I am immediately transported to my own childhood, semi-reclining on my mother’s lap while she sat on a shaded park bench on a sultry summer day to read.
If Mum was a silent brook, Dad is a blustering sea. My father’s entrance into any room would involve an interrogation, an invention, an innovation, an idea. Like a raging storm, he will exhaust all faculties until the calm of perfect understanding is reached.
His bravery is the kind that takes on the challenge others would avoid because it is unprecedented and come hell or high water, sees to it that the ship reaches its fitting destination.
My father lured me into his adventures, enticed me with his schemes, enthralled me with his anecdotes seasoned with wit and humour and being Daddy’s little girl I excitedly went to where no man has gone before. Paul Gauguin’s Where Are You Going? is the inspiration for my next mock-tail. My ‘thank you’ for having a Dad who taught me to chase after dreams not to get lost in them.
The Gauguin (2013)
With its gaudy papaya yellows, bright berry-reds and deep cocoa browns, the Gauguin evokes the extravagant and the experimental. The drink is gregarious and does not endeavour to be understated. As a smoothie, the Gauguin begins with a friendly invitation. A shot of orange sweetness from ripe cantaloupes lulls you into the kind of laziness of a sultry afternoon in the tropics. The bittersweet of the ruby goji berries stabbed by the tang of fresh cherry tomatoes transitions the palate to a muted acidity, reminiscent of the enduring cocktail, the Bloody Mary.
The drink finishes with the sobering earthiness of cucumber chunks for a well-timed equilibrium. A dessert in itself, the mock-tail makes for an easy dinner company.An explosive, fun-seeking extrovert I can always come home to at the end of the day, the Gauguin is now the final instalment to the Mock-tail Gallery series.
As we in the Gallery always say, success is a drink that we mix and the price of admission is steep. Gauguin abandoned friends and family. Cassatt gave up her on own motherhood. Degas forsook his father’s dream. Monet lost his eyesight. Van Gogh, his sanity and a fraction of his ear. The enduring masterpieces, whether framed on a canvas or poured into a crystal, introduced an alternative, a new perspective for us to savour. We marvel. We swoon. We are touched by the courage that chose to strive for that which most could only dream. Humbly, we realise that time and opportunity happens to us all, but success belongs to the bravery that purchased the dream, that treaded the path to the place set aside for dichotomy, where discipline discourses with disorder and caution cajoles with chances. Many times I lingered at the junction, mustering courage while I contemplate a choice between what is safe and that stuff that dreams are made of. Logic taunts to remind me that it is prudence to compromise ambition for economy, to cower within the boundaries of calculated risks. But, through the mixing, the straining, the sampling of the Mock-tail Gallery’s tribute to their works, I salvaged and sought a bravery of my own. And while this journey ends here, I take an uninhibited leap towards that someday, hoping that where and when I land, I shall meet you, thirsty for more.
PS: Time passes us all too quickly and though I regrettably spend much of it remiss in updating the site, know that those of you who have taken each step with me thus far have my dearest and sincerest gratitude. May you enjoy this last part of the series and find consolation for its sudden absence in the humour of my Twitter updates.