Welcome to Cocktail Hour, friends.
It's been a busy week over here at Bar\Heart. I taught a feature-writing class to early career community journalists, and we had the best discussions. My entrepreneurship students at Michigan State had to envision innovations for online learning, and their ideas were so fascinating! Lovey and I got the quote on some plumbing repairs. Gulp. And it was my niece McKenna's 11th birthday. Happy birthday, Mack! 🎂
So I'm lookin forward to Cocktail Hour. I just have a few more things to cross off before I join ya'll.
All right. Let's get to it...
Some of you have asked for a great sober cocktail for your Thanksgiving festivities. So this week, I’m suggesting the Truly Enlightened from my friend Kevin Peterson, who owns the sensory lounge, Castalia, in Detroit AND has a culinary school degree and a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering.
I first wrote about this drink in Issue No. 3 when I interviewed Kevin about what makes a perfect sober cocktail. You can read that interview and his tips here. But I wanted to bring it back because the flavor profile is perfect for celebrating. So serve this up for your guests who are abstaining, whatever the reason.
2 oz bottled coconut milk
½ oz. fresh lemon juice
½ oz. simple syrup*
½ oz. water
1” nub of ginger, thinly sliced
Nutmeg for garnish
Add ingredients into a cocktail shaker or, like me, a mason jar with a shaker lid.
Add a handful of ice, approximately 5 cubes
Shake vigorously for about 15 seconds
Strain into a chilled coupe glass
Sprinkle with nutmeg
*Simple Syrup Recipe: Combine 1 part sugar and 1 part water in a pot and cook over low heat until it dissolves. It will go fast; don’t walk away. Cool and store. You have simple syrup. I usually make it in 1 cup increments.)
Boozy Thanksgiving Cocktails: For those of you who need a little liquid cheer at your gathering, never fear: Next week, regular Bar\Heart Contributor Shana will give you the full run down. She’s got the largest collection of random liquor I’ve seen outside of a bar — like Matcha Kahlua from Japan; you can read about our experiment with that here — and she’s officially in charge of our holiday boozing. I believe there are three pairings.
👋 Hi, Momma Gerstner: I know you’re concerned, but, no, I don’t have an alcohol problem. I promise. (1)
If you want to dive deeper into the world of sober cocktails, I highly recommend Good Drinks. It’s beautiful to look at, but it also features delicious drink recipes and the fun stories behind the glass. I’ve linked to Amazon, but, as always, support your local, independent bookstore.
Say it with me...
I’m here for all of it, including her outfit. What f*ckery shall we spread?
According to a new study written about in Smithsonian magazine, there are apparently “gifted” dogs and “typical” dogs, and you can tell the difference by how they tilt their head. Or don’t.
My childhood dog, Murphy, was a border collie, and he could haul in the groceries (legit), fetch beer, bring in dad’s lunch box and more. He really was the goodest dog. And, apparently, also gifted. I thought that head tilt just meant I should get my own damn beer.
I love Jonny Sun’s Bulletin, A List of Small Knowable Things. (you should subscribe!) He writes beautiful essays about everyday objects and what they mean. This week he remembers his Digimon, a digital pet that he had to “walk” in order to grow it and keep it alive. Sun’s riff on that memory weaves into a lovely meditation on walking and the gamification of our lives.
As a criminal defense lawyer dedicated to aiding the most vulnerable clients, Natashia Deón found herself headed towards compassion fatigue.
The good news is that Ms. Walker, who is featured in this story, is going to be ok. I’m told that there has been an outpouring of support. Accountability journalism, like this project, focuses on changing policies and and systems so that Ms. Walker and others never find themselves there in the first place.
I’m obsessed with pockets. Always have been. One of my first words was “pocket” — or “pocks,” as I called them. My mother sewed my clothes, and she knew everything had to have a pock.
So the Algorithm Gods understood the assignment when they targeted me with Instagram Reels featuring people dancing and showing off their pockets to the same audio clip:
I’ve watched all the reels (you can go down the rabbit hole with me here), but this one is my fave. That little girl is pure joy. If I were a kid today, I also would have made my mom do a pockets reel with me.
And as an adult woman, I understand that pocks aren’t just useful, they are also political. Having a pocket changes how you get to exist in the world. Bags can be stolen — or taken — from you; pockets allow agency and freedom. Plus, there’s only so much you can fit, which means no spouses, children, besties can dump their shit on you. (2) Here’s a great episode of Articles of Interest, a podcast that explores fashion's mysteries, like the history of the pocket.
The episode even stops in a uniform store and discovers that women wear men’s uniforms because… pockets!
No one should be denied their pocks!
And hey, if you’re someone who prefers to read rather than listen, here’s the transcript of the episode. But the audio storytelling is really great so I encourage you to listen!
I’m sort of obsessed with these notebooks, which feature quotes from women writers such as Ida B. Wells and Willa Cather. I imagine that if I had them, I would become the sort of writer who always has a notebook on her in order to capture snippets of dialogue and passing thoughts. The kind of writer who is always collecting details for their next great novel. As opposed to the writer I actually am: One who is convinced she’ll remember the brilliant idea only to have it flitter right out of her brain 10 seconds later.
But hell, even if they don’t change my poor writing habits, they’d still make for stylish containers of grocery lists and to-do notes.
This is Hank. He’s the goodest boy, even if he isn’t a gifted boy. And he wakes up each day like this, as if he already knows it’s going to be the goodest day.
I hope you have at least one Hank-level goodest day next week, friends. See you next Friday for Cocktail Hour.
For those of you just joining us, my friend Joanne writes the Open Court Bulletin, and our moms read both newsletters. Awwww, moms! 🥰 But she has expressed concern about my cocktailing.
Full disclosure: I typically make The Bestie™ carry mine in her giant bag, and Lovey has been known to carry my purse for me when I get annoyed by it.
Do you want to contribute to Cocktail Hour? Got a great drink with an even better back story? Book you can’t wait to recommend? A piece of advice we all need now? Something to delight us? E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org!
🕵🏻♀️ Looking for a cocktail recipe? Check the archive.
💌 Got questions? E-mail email@example.com
💬 Got something to share? Leave a comment! I will respond.