Welcome to the first issue of Bar\Heart's weekly Cocktail Hour! Each Friday afternoon we’ll send you the fodder you need for the upcoming weekend of cocktail parties and BBQs. You'll get drink suggestions, book recommendations, smart reads about dumb things, binge-worthy shows and even a little advice. We can’t promise to make you sound smart, but you'll never be dull. Cheers!
Recently, I sat at the Terminal Bar in Denver’s Union Station, feeling glamorous like an Old Hollywood heroine gliding through a train station en route to grand adventures. When the bartender asked me what I’d like to drink, I asked for a Paper Plane. A perfect martini might have made more cinematic sense, but it was a hot day and I had a taste for the slightly bitter, citrus-y drink that famed bartender Sam Ross invented for the Violet Room in Chicago.
Plus, I wanted to toast Dr. Megan Kate Nelson, whose book, The Three-Cornered War: The Union, the Confederacy, and Native Peoples in the Fight for the West, had just been named a 2021 finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in History.
Dr. Nelson first introduced me to the Paper Plane last year when I interviewed her about the book for the Shady Ladies Literary Society. She showed up on my 3 p.m. Instagram Live with a bright orange cocktail and declared it was a perfectly acceptable time to start day drinking. It's a pandemic, after all!
The Paper Plane is now my go-to summer cocktail at home because it’s so easy to make! Mix up a pitcher and serve them at all your backyard BBQs. (A thermos at the beach is great, too.) The recipie above makes one drink; triple and quadruple as needed.
Salut, Dr. Nelson.
This week's recco comes from Bar\Heart editor, Caitlin Cruz: It’s five weeks until the wedding of Abigail Nolan, the perfectly pious daughter of famous evangelical pastor, Luke Nolan, and sister of our narrator, Caroline. The pastor went viral for a sermon written on purity and for more than a decade, his family has dutifully stood by his side in keeping with a righteous life. But there’s a crack in the façade. When Luke’s lies come to light, Caroline and Abigail abscond to the ranch they inherited from their grandmother to try to figure out what they should do as their world crumbles around them.
Elle calls this a "tender, aching debut," and we agree. But we're also recommending the book, which came out late last month, because Kelsey attempts to answer many of the questions that Bar\Heart also asks, namely, what are the ties that bind us? The story is set in an evangelical church in north Texas, but it’s really about sisters and family and growing up and choosing what kind of life we want and who we want to surround ourselves with. Even if you’re not religious, the story of Caroline and Abigail is for you.
Welcome to our weekly feature highlighting the best advice about...anything. For the first installment, we turned to Zak Rosen’s delightful podcast, Best Advice Show, which features, well, the best advice, in three minutes or less. In this episode, Nancy Kaffer of the Detroit Free Press, tells him about her magnificent obsession with egg salad sandwiches. Hint: rubbing the bread with garlic is key. Take a listen.
Got some advice for us? Leave it in the comments. Maybe we'll use yours in the future.
— Developers built a segregation wall in Detroit to separate Black families from their white neighbors. (And also, you know, so white families could then qualify for federally backed mortgages their Black neighbors couldn't access.) Reporters Erin Einhorn at NBC and Olivia Lewis at BridgeDetroit look at the legacy of this racist development and how it impacted the futures of the families on both sides of wall.
— The latest accessory for virtue signaling is... a shelter dog. The competitive dog-eat-dog world of pet adoptions. May the odds be ever in your favor.
Tyler Mahan Coe, the son of Outlaw Country staple David Allen Coe, is back with a second season of his podcast that tells the stories he’s heard all his life. This season he’s obsessed with defining the Nashville sound and explaining why the story of George Jones is the story of country music. This podcast may be a bit of an acquired taste for those of you not steeped in the genre -- but even the New Yorker is raving.
Episodes creep over two hours, and I’m here for all of it. My fave so far is Episode 4, in which Coe explains how to make white lightning and offers the history of temperance. Here’s some classic Coe on what makes something moonshine:
A few weeks ago, I decided it was time to buy a new summer quilt for our bed. But when one has a 130-pound American bulldog and two cats (one purposefully named The Overlord) who sleep on the bed, one is not destined to have nice things.
But still, I ordered a midnight blue linen quilt with a diamond pattern thinking it was attractive while still being utilitarian. Do you know what shows up on a midnight blue quilt? Every speck of dog hair and cat dander. It’s impossible to not see that you, in fact, sleep with Pig Pen.
And so here, my friends, is the moral of the story: If you are living with pets in your bed, you must have wool dryer balls. I recently ordered a set, convinced by the algorithms of Instagram that they would change my life. I stuffed my quilt and six large wool balls, plus a hope and a prayer, inside the dryer and set it to air fluff.
What came out was nothing short of a miracle. All that hair and dander was blessedly beaten off. And when I wash the blanket, the dryer balls cut the drying time in half. Sadly, they do nothing for the drool.
(1) Special thanks to Maggie Choo's in Limerick, Ireland for the gorgeous photo. Go check them out on Insta. If I ever open a bar, it'll look like that.
(2) Of course, you don’t really have to have this. But once upon a time I was an editor at a very high-end magazine for very rich people and each week we ran a “must have” section where I, a girl from a trailer in rural Colorado, told said rich people what to buy. I included things like $7,000 whiskey sets. Because, why not? Here in Bar\Heart, I hope to tell you about the things we fall in love with, that change our lives — or that we wish would. But again, I once told people they needed a $7,000 whiskey set, so YMMV.