Welcome to Cocktail Hour, the Friday afternoon newsletter where I offer drink suggestions, book recommendations, cute critter pics, binge-worthy shows and even a little advice.
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Happy Friday, y'all. We made it to Cocktail Hour!
I finished all my grading and submitted final scores for the semester, so I have earned this week’s cocktail. And it’s a boozy-doozy with a good backstory that dates to 1937.
Next week Lovey and I are heading down to Knoxville (I can't type that without hearing Steve Earle's "Copperhead Road") to see his family for the holiday and then boogie-ing on down to New Orleans for some excellent jazz and po’boys.
So this will be the last Cocktail Hour for 2021. But I'll be doing "research" while I'm gone so I can bring back the best dranks for 2022 editions. Follow our adventures on Instagram, where we’ll be posting pictures and videos of us and Hank the Tank in the Big Easy.
Ok. Let's get to it!
Last year, Lovey and I decided to teach ourselves how to make cocktails that involve more than one ingredient (pour bourbon) or two ingredients (combine gin + tonic). In doing so we cracked open a copy of Charles Baxter’s seminal work from 1937, The Gentleman's Companion Volume II: Being an Exotic Drinking Book or, Around the World With Jigger, Beaker and Flask.
That first night, we randomly opened to a recipe called "Quarantine Cocktail, #1 in Manila." It seemed too fortuitous not to try, being in the middle of quarantine and all. After several failed attempts to resurrect the drink, we determined that 1937 tastes are not the same as 2020 tastes.
We called in reinforcements in the form of our friend, Dr. Kevin Peterson, who owns Castalia bar in Detroit and is all science-y about cocktails thanks to his Ph.D. and culinary degree. He and his lovely wife and business partner, Jane, rejiggered the drink for us, making it a perfect holiday cocktail. Boozy and decadent, but easily made at home.
We mixed up a batch and gave them out to our close friends as a holiday present, along with d’Affinois cheese, habanero-apricot jam that we had made and some tres delicious gluten-free cheese-y poufs that The Bestie™ introduced us to.
Naturally, we thought that was a fun lark and the need for a Quarantine Cocktail recipe would pass. But here we are, a year later and another holiday needing a Quarantine Cocktail. Thanks Omicron.
So this year I share with you all the "Quarantine Cocktail, #1 in Manila" from both Charles Baxter and Castalia so you can compare. Enjoy! And hopefully we won’t be drinking this again in 2022.
Quarantine Cocktail (Castalia)
Quarantine Cocktail (Baxter)
1 jigger Bacardi
1 tsp. gin
1 tsp. dry French vermouth
½ jigger orange juice
2 tsp. lemon juice
1-2 drops Anis del Mono
Sugar to taste
½ egg white
Pour all ingredients into a cocktail shaker with cracked ice.
Add egg white(s)
Shake, shake, shake! For ~20 - 30 seconds. You want it cold and aerated
Strain into a coupe glass
I feel like we should probably talk about the Sex and the City reboot, And Just Like That. Yes, I'm watching it. I can't not. I lived in Manhattan when the show first aired, and I made sure to be home in my tiny 14th Street studio on Sunday nights to watch what felt like a revelation. Here's a great piece from Emily Nussbaum at the New Yorker about what made the show so great.
As for And Just Like That? My advice: Temper your expectations. It's super cringe-y at times. Everyone gets a BIPOC friend in a way that feels like tokenism rather than true evolution. But, like the original, it is again revolutionary in how it portrays women. (At least certain women.) How many other “prestige” TV shows allow women to age and have roles beyond mother or caregiver? Anyway, it’s complicated. Here's how The New York Times describes it:
But for every misstep – Mr. Big has a subway card in his wallet? As Shana points out, we know that man has never seen the inside of a station – there is a moment of inspiration, like casting Sara Ramirez as Che Diaz. They fine. And funny. And that's enough to keep me coming back.
1. Am I The Asshole for perpetuating “ethnic stereotypes” about Jorts? If you haven’t yet heard about Jorts the orange cat, stop everything and read this right now. No, really. I’ll wait. Then read the update. Justice for Jorts! A highlight:
2. When I die, I demand an obituary like this one of Renay Mandel Corren. Every part of this is perfection. It is so good, I read this son’s tribute to his beloved mother outloud to Lovey. Seriously, if Andy Corren does not now have a permanent columnist gig somewhere, it is a god damned tragedy. Plus, how much do you wish you’d known “Rosie” IRL?
3. The secret lives of adjunct professors. Hint: Poorly paid (like below the poverty level) and responsible for the mental health of young people just entering the world. It’s a lot.
This week, I'm turning Binge over to Friend Shana. She couldn't stop talking about Yellowjackets at cocktails last week, so I demanded that she tell us all about it. Here's Shana:
I would love to be bingeing Showtimes's Yellowjackets. But, they're going old school and only handing out one episode a week. They're making us wait, one dark, creepy, mystery filled episode at a time. And I love it.
(Also, the soundtrack!!! Liz Phair, Salt-N-Pepa, Hole, Montel Jordan!!! )
The basic premise is Lord of the Flies, but with grunge era girls. A high school soccer team headed to nationals goes down in a plane crash, stranding them in a remote area of the Canadian Rockies.
We bounce between the decidedly-not-glamping post-crash situation and the present day with a few of the survivors. The cast alone is worth your time!
Christina Ricci gives us Misty, who is SO DEEPLY WEIRD. Creepy and plotting and surely up to NO GOOD. I cannot wait to see what she's gonna get up to!
Juliette Lewis is Natalie, exhausted and fresh out of fucks. She's been bouncing in and out of rehab for who knows how long.
Melanie Lynskey (if you don't recognize the name, I assure you, you'll recognize the face) is Shauna. Oh, Shauna. She needs a hug and three gin and tonics. She wasted the best of her fun trouble making teen years trying to survive in the forest and now she's in a dead marriage to a half-assed man and her teenage daughter is, respectfully, an asshole.
Since they're only giving us an episode a week. We don't know very much. Not everybody survives. They're maybe....not alone in the woods? They're maybe not alone, even now. Things in the woods get ugly, ceremonial costumes get made. Blood is a theme, so that's alarming. How badass (or savage) did those girls have to get to survive? What the hell is in those woods, possessing people, leaving weird symbols everywhere and demanding blood?
As someone who was a teenage girl in the 90s and is currently an exhausted woman in her 40s wondering a generalized "what the fuck" on a daily basis, they had me at the following line: The people who matter recognize Daria, okay?
That’s all for this week, friends. Hug those you love and get some rest.
See you after the new year for our next Cocktail Hour!
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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 email@example.com!
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