Thirteen years ago a skinny boy with hair agreed to be my partner for eternity. I was a squishy girl in a poorly executed self afflicted haircut, in a dress I paid cash for, deeply unsure of who I was, and the only thing that I knew for fact was that this man was my future. Our families were circled around us. And we said our I-Do’s barefoot on a beach in St. John, USVI at sunset. Our vows were of the earth, the island
Weeks before, both of us suffered great losses in our lives – I, the death of my cousin, Ryan. And my husband-to-be, his father. A car in the middle of the night took my cousin. Cancer and a heart attack took my father in law. Both were taken too soon and the wounds of each loss were still very much open and bleeding pain.
Our wedding was exactly as it needed to be. It was intimate. It was beautiful. It was simply and profoundly lovely.
But the day before was one of the finest days in all of our lives. My godfather rented a catamaran for the day and the entire dual family set sail to The British Virgin Islands. We went to Soggy Dollar Bar in Jost Van Dyke, where we had to anchor the boat and swim to shore for cocktails and fun in the sand. We went to Foxy’s and listened to live music, and ate from a spread of the most delicious food made by the people surrounding us. We danced and ate and drank and danced some more. And then we all rode back on our big boat, slow dancing on the deck until we got too tired to stand, then lying shoulder to shoulder underneath the stars until we got too sleepy to speak.
There is no word other than magical that can be used to describe such an evening.
And during all of this magic… During all of this fun, and emotional moments where we didn’t know if we were crying from the laughter or crying from the loss of our loved ones, we each had a Painkiller in our hand. In little, clear, plastic cups, we all sipped from the same cocktail on this magical day… Pineapple juice, coconut, orange juice… and rum. Lots and lots of rum. And they were glittered with a whisper of cinnamon on top.
Although, they served them at Soggy Dollar Bar with freshly grated nutmeg… and it is still a great debate among the family whether the cinnamon or the nutmeg is best.
I have always said cinnamon.
But lately I think my heart steers towards the nutmeg. Because that’s how BVI did it.
I now think of Soggy Dollar Bar, and Foxy’s, and all the places that helped make our wedding so wonderful, and wish I could have stopped Hurricane Maria from taking them away. When we watched the news that evening, seeing what was left of our places… we both cried. It was devastating to see. Because we remembered exactly how special those places were, we remembered the eyes of the people who fed us and served us Painkillers, who helped us with our boat, who played us music, who called for us to dance… We remembered the stars in the sky and the outstretched sea that lulled us into deep, personal moments on that catamaran.
And even though we can’t change what happened, or wave a magic wand and make it all go away right now, we stuck to our anniversary tradition this year and I made us Painkillers to sip on.
This year we’re in the middle of home renovations and trying to sell our house, so life has been upside down and inside out. I’ve had a headache all over my body for like a month now. My husband has built like 56087 new structures. And I can’t remember the last ‘normal day’ we’ve had. But tomorrow is our 13th year being married. So we did take a moment today to set down the caulk gun, and the never-ending loads of laundered towels, to drink our wedding cocktail and remember one of the most magical days of our lives.
Food and drink are things that can always take us back to specific, personal moments. It sounds trivial. It doesn’t change the world. But we all need to remember to do the little things that bring us back to magical moments.
So here’s my recipe for a frozen painkiller! I’ve made them every year for the past 12 years, but this year decided to make them frozen, easier, and a lot healthier (without the use of any added/refined sugar!).
Make them soon and conjure up your own magic! Seriously, it could not be more easy to make these.
After all these years, and all the upside down / inside outness that surrounds us right now, it still brought love to our eyes.
FROZEN PAINKILLER COCKTAIL
NO ADDED SUGAR
In a blender, combine the following…
- 1 (20 oz) can pineapple (in juice!), drained and frozen on a parchment lined baking sheet til solid.
- 1 (13.5 oz) can coconut milk (full fat!), refrigerated until ice cold
- 1 (12 oz) can frozen orange juice concentrate (no sugar added!)
- 6 oz / 3/4 cup dark rum (Cruzan is what we drank there 😉 )
Blend until completely smooth and thick and creamy.
If you didn’t have everything frozen/ice cold beforehand, it may need to be placed in the freezer before serving. You basically want the consistency of a piña colada.
Serve each cocktail with…
- a sprinkling of ground cinnamon.
- OR nutmeg 😉
love ya’ll. don’t forget what (and who) makes you feel magical.
happy anniversary, baby. you’re the only human on earth that could handle this. xo