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The poet William Stafford once mused that children bear skillful qualities unavailable to adults. Specifically, he wrote that children “dance before they learn there is anything that isn’t music.” Observing my own children, I know he’s right. No matter the circumstance, good or bad, they’ll hear a moment’s musical accompaniment resonating from unhearable spaces. And then they’ll dance to it. Sometimes those spaces will send lyrics.

Again, fortune or tragedy, a danceable song will emerge. Strangely, my children seem more attuned to tragedy’s repertoire. In other words, while on vacation, their father’s face could get stingingly struck by a rubber ball in the swimming pool, and suddenly, a motion-filled song and dance begin. The song has ten glorious verses. Moreover, the musical interlude’s inspiration is so fantastical that onlookers desire a part, asking the victim, “Can I hit you in the face with the ball, too?! Go to the other end of the pool, and we’ll all take turns! See if you can do it without flinching!”

Never mind that Dad’s wound needs burn cream. The “Loser” song and its subsequent efforts are bringing incredible joy. As my wife so often says, “Parenting requires impenetrable self-esteem.”

Fortunately (or unfortunately) for my children, their father has retained much of his child-like self while also enjoying a high threshold for pain. With that, he’s more than happy to oblige their darkly performances—so long as he can volley its joy. This means he’s glad to accommodate their uncoordinated throws, responding to them with a more rocketing accuracy, leaving their soft, weatherless faces far redder than before.

Interestingly, it’s then that the “Loser” song is suddenly less danceable. It becomes dirge-like, strumming an entirely new riff, the kind that requires a soothing alternative. Sorry, kids. Only the adults get to dance to God’s better tunes. While you nurse your wounds with a juice box, I’ll groove to a New Riff Kentucky Straight Bourbon dram. I’ll be ready for more a few minutes later, having become even sturdier against your assaults.

Admittedly, like a rubber ball, the New Riff stings the nose a little at first. But it’s a coaxing sting, one stirring the imbiber to respond, “Bring it on.” Embracing its gruffness, herbal scents emerge. Another sniff rewards the resolve with honeyed citrus.

The palate reverberates similarly, plucking spicy vanilla strings on oaky frets. A little water causes a chord change. What was spicy becomes slightly sweeter, offering a swifter cinnamon and raspberry jam tempo. The medium finish scribbles similar notations.

The New Riff is an enjoyable ditty. If it were a song, you’d be inclined to play it on repeat. It’s certainly capable of providing a post-rubber-ball-war orchestration worthy of smiles. Well, smiles from Dad, at least.