As we come to the end of yet another year, we tend to ponder on the year gone by, retrace steps, occasionally wonder if we could have done things differently – and what the future may hold for us.
Instead, let’s spend time looking forward, visualising what we want and plan on making things happen. Pour a wee dram, look deep into the golden liquid and onto 2024…
I will leave you this year with a few words that I hope will fuel your thoughts and make them explode with ideas that will make you unstoppable in the coming year, and in the years to follow.
A very wise APJ Abdul Kalam (India’s former President) said: “Dreams are not those that you see in your sleep – but are those that do not allow you to sleep until you have achieved them.” Have you ever woken up in the middle of the night with thoughts or ideas that you just have to record that instant?
Thank goodness for the smartphone now! No hustling and fumbling for pen and paper, no lights to switch on; just instant notes that you can quickly put down, to expand on later. Do not go back to sleep. Write them down.
It is so very important to record every little idea, for these little ideas can lead to great journeys. I have a folder on my computer and my phone, especially for them. Some ideas are simple, some fantastic, some probably unachievable. But there they are. Skeleton outlines of thoughts that burst into visions of glorious possibilities.
Sometimes one idea leads to another even better. Here are some of mine written over many, many years:
- A hot dog stand shaped like a pizza cut into slices, each slice offering a different version of the dog!
- A laundromat-cum-mini-food stop with a special “near students” format;
- A cheesery and a women’s cooperative in a little village selling local produce;
- A mobile medical unit with specialist camps in outlying villages, especially for women;
- A platform for people who are forced to retire at 58 and are desperate to do more.
I remember one night when I tossed and turned and finally had to pound away at my computer keyboard for 3 hours as the words kept flowing! There was no agenda, just the mind connecting dots across a multitude of thoughts. Finally, when it stopped and I read back, I was amazed.
What I had was the beginning of what I finally captioned Spiritual Sweat! Of the learning from behind the bar and its reflection on my life and life in general. I dream now that these ideas will manifest in a book that people may enjoy!
Possibilities, not regret
A few friends and I started a restaurant a while ago. It was a great place, people loved it and we won a few accolades. Yet it wasn’t enough to sustain and turn a profit. After 2 years we decided to shut it down on a night of nostalgia, back- slapping and a few tears.
Sure we lost some hard-earned money. Yet what we remember most are the good times. The joy and the immense understanding that came from it, rather than regret. Even today it brings a smile to my face every time I think about it.
There are those that you plan, visualize, work toward and take to their rightful end, or not. Then, some opportunities that come about which make you rethink your capacity to explore and experiment. You will never know what you are capable of until you give it a shot.
Every time you have not succeeded, accept it, give it some thought and think of the learning, for there will always be some. Pick yourself up and begin planning your next move. Stop thinking about the past; use that time to look towards the future instead.
The ability to trust your instinct is a good thing, even if it is against all odds. The vision to see yourself where you want to be – it is an exercise you want to practice. I took a 7-year break from hospitality and the bar while my daughter was growing up. I didn’t give up on my dreams but simply put them down in my young neighbour’s scrapbook – everything I hoped to achieve. Then I forgot about it.
This neighbour went on to frame that page and gave it to me two decades later, on my birthday. I had actually achieved everything I had visualised for myself – except one: never to put on weight!!
Then there is the ability to keep calm and laugh at yourself. Don’t take yourself too seriously, don’t be angry. Laugh at the predicament you find yourself in, and you are bound to find a solution.
I will stop now at being annoyingly preachy and instead let’s look at what our glasses will hold in 2024. Will the gin phase continue? The serious players will stay; the rest will slow down and wither away. Does that mean no new options? Yes, sure.
There will certainly be interesting liquids coming our way. You’ve seen delicious variants of Greater Than and Stranger & Sons already, and I don’t see them stopping to surprise us. We hope to see more and better rums. We will definitely see a lot more Tequila and Mezcal.
Limited editions too are the new deal – Paul John Single Malt continues its tradition with Christmas edition 2023; Quaffine coffee liqueur has a very cool Christmas special in Goa; Mr. Jerry’s cocktails have a Very Merry Christmas toddy…
Xmas 2023 has seen Eekh agricultural rum distilled directly from fermented sugar cane juice with a surprising Tequila-like palate. Tequila Rose, an unctuous and sinful strawberry cream liqueur in a stunning black bottle, has made its presence felt as a perfect gift to have under the Christmas tree.
A few more Indian single malts this December; but the one that really crows is the Crazy Cock luxury single malt from South Seas Distillery in Aswa, Dahanu. The fourth-generation Chinoy family has introduced two variants of the exquisite sipping malts.
With such a brilliant end of the year, the incoming year can only be fantastic. Merry Christmas and a Merrier New Year!