Saturday, April 26, 2008

A Kamikaze for Valerie

Adapted from Recipe for One True Margarita from Ceres & Bacchus

It's been a very sad week for me. Yesterday on a glorious sunny spring day with every flowering tree and shrub in bloom - weeping cherry, forsythia, crab apple, magnolia - I had to go to a peaceful spot of earth and stand with a huge gathering of family and friends, each one of us in shock, to attend the funeral of my cousin Valerie, who only found out she was desperately sick six weeks before.

I would like to describe Valerie to you; to give you a little glimpse into who she was, but everyone who knows Valerie would agree she defies description. Family stories about Valerie are legend. At how many funerals would you see an old boyfriend, an ex-husband, and a fiance talking to each other and mourning together?

Valerie didn't find a cure for the common cold; she didn't eliminate world hunger; she didn't even get the Dalai Lama back into Tibet. But she did raise a beautiful daughter; she did create amazing art; she never stopped making everyone laugh (yes, I will admit, sometimes at our expense). Valerie lived life larger than anyone I've ever known, and at the end she showed the strength of Thor, the courage of David, and the grace of Saint Therese of Lisieux, who when she was very sick and dying remained smiling and cheerful.

So Valerie, there are loads of us who love you, who will never forget you, and who will miss you for the rest of our days. "To the well-organized mind, death is but the next great adventure." * Rock on, cuz.

Valerie's favorite drink is a Kamikaze. In fact she introduced me to this (sometimes) lethal concoction. Most recipes for a Kamikaze call for equal parts vodka, equal parts triple sec, and equal parts lime juice. Some specify Rose's Lime Juice and some specify fresh. But my kamikazes are essentially my margaritas with vodka in place of tequila, served straight up in a martini glass with (I would think, obviously) no salt around the rim. Here's to you, Val.

½ lime
2 shots vodka
1 shot triple sec (I prefer Bols)

Slice one wedge from the lime half and reserve. Place vodka and triple sec in a stainless steel drink shaker along with the juice of the rest of the lime half and some ice cubes. Shake well until the shaker is frosted then pour into a martini glass. Serve straight up. Repeat as necessary.

Print recipe.

*Albus Dumbledore to Harry Potter, Sorcerer's Stone


  1. Oh, dear Victoria - I'm so sorry for your loss. I don't really have any words of wisdom, but having lost several people very close and dear to me over the past four years, I can only say that keeping the memories of your cousin alive and well can help you feel as if she's not really gone.

  2. I can't believe I just found out about this now. I'm still shaking from the news. Even though I didn't know her, any loss of a beautiful soul such as Valerie is a personal loss.
    So sorry Victoria, I send my condolences to you and your family. Thank you for giving us a glimpse into her beautiful life.

    To cheer us up, we'll have a couple of Kamizake's in her honor. Seriously, we will. Thank you.

    Hugs to you!


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