Despite my advancing age, I still have a very hard time believing that we live in world where there is no magic. There's not a morning when I don't wake up and think "today's the day!" and expect some miraculous occurrence. It could be anything: a magical levitation (good for dealing with LA traffic); a cure for unrequited love (something I've been seeking desperately for nearly a year); a spell that repairs the Riedel wine glass I dropped in the sink (and possibly creates extra ones for the next dinner party); a magic mirror that lets me see the ones I have loved and lost (including that Blue Cult denim jacket that disappeared without a trace).
And that, in a nutshell, is why I love Harry Potter. I've read each book in the series many times. I pretend they actually belong to my kid, but those who know me know the truth: if you can't reach me, I'm hiding out at Hogwarts, where the magic flows like fine wine, and there's a potion for everything that ails you.
Given my enormous hunger for the the extra-sensory and the extraordinary, you can imagine my delight when I discovered a bona fide Potions Master living right in my own neighborhood. Picture a neighborly chat, two women sitting down in a kitchen to shoot the breeze and perhaps talk a little business, when things take a more, well, mystical turn. Now, please understand, we were clearly sitting in a magic kitchen, because there were shiny glass jars of delicious elixirs standing everywhere, including two I'd never seen before: Gabriel Boudier Saffron-Infused Gin, and Da Vinci Natural Peach Syrup.
Now, the magic wrought by Mr. Da Vinci is well known, but before I could inquire about Mr. Boudier's wizardly prominence, my own personal Potions Master leaped to her feet. "I'm going to concoct something new!" she cried, before dashing over to her martini-shaker-shaped cauldron and getting busy. Her ingredients: 1 part gin to 3 parts syrup, a bit of muddled basil, a twist of lemon. Shaken, not stirred, and poured into a glass with a lump of Kori Sato sugar. The touchstone that transformed it all? She rimmed the glass with a secret ingredient she called "Honey and Hot." (For a moment, I thought she was referring to us, but it turned out that it's a brand of hot pepper-infused acacia honey.)
The delicious result transported us. It loosened our tongues, set us dancing, and inspired her husband to shoot a home video that we're not quite sure should ever be publicly viewed.
Turns out the Potions Master is creating her own website, which means that soon we'll all have access to a little magic. In the meantime, if you come across the Half Blood Prince's copy of Advanced Potion Making, give me a ring, will you? The number's 366-2442.