Standing around a bunch of good-time-Charlies in a bar is one of the dumbest things you can do right now. I don’t care if it’s open-aired or inside. Drink at home, you fools!
No beer buzz is worth COVID. You know what’s worse than having some guy in a golf shirt and visor slide behind and “accidentally” grab your fanny, on his way to the Golden Tee machine? A ventilator. Think you are going to find the person of your dreams in the bar right now? God doesn’t work like that, and if he did, then God would be a real murderous jerk. (Amy reads First and Second Samuel in the Old Testament. Welp.)
I know a draft beer in a chilled glass is wonderful. Some bartenders are artistes. And it’s hard on the pocketbook to keep a fully stocked bar cart because top-shelf has that name for a reason. If the bartender has to pull out a stool and risk a herniated disc to grab your spirit, that’s gonna cost you extra.
But even knowing all that, we still need to drink at home right now. If you want the kids back in school in the fall, it’s time to be your own bartender.
Where everybody knows your name
Make your own home the bar. Pretend all those fireworks going off from 10 PM to 2 AM are announcing your grand opening. You have a very strict entrance policy, one that would have put Steve Rubell to shame. Only the cool kids can come, and you are the only cool kid around. Your dog is your bouncer and instead of a neon sign, you have a glowing Himalayan salt lamp you bought at HomeGoods. What a hot spot!
I’m not telling you to install a draft beer system in your house. You don’t need to build a wainscoted bar in the basement with a nautical theme, complete with seining nets, bosomy wooden mermaid mast heads and shellacked boat steering wheels, just like my old neighbor Mr. Dean had. Mr. Dean ratted me out to my mom about the roach clips I bought at the flea market to wear in my hair. Not cool, Mr. Dean. Not cool.
All you need is a clean kitchen counter, some good House music, alcohol and mixers. And make sure you put some fresh citrus fruit in your Instacart. You just built a bar!
Have a signature drink!
So for your own tavern — the place where you drink because it is not safe to go to bars right now — create your own signature cocital, or steal one from someone else.
I found a great brand of cocktail mixers to help me make fancy drinks called Bootblack, because who wants to make extra trips to the Stop n’ Shop for niche ingredients. Bootblack’s tag line is Demand Better Cocktails, and their cocktail and soda syrup give you combinations I would not have thought of. I mean, Ginger, Cardamon and Lime? What is this, Top Chef?
I’ve fallen in love with their Cranberry Jalapeno syrup, because it pairs so well with Reposado Tequila and Mezcal, my favorite booze. Or is it boozes? Boozeses?
Every Bootblack bottle comes with a simple recipe guide on the label, or you can check out their illustrated guides for more complex concoctions like the “Kiss Me, I’m Southern,” which was also the name of my Bumble profile.
The drink menu at my place includes my take on the Bootblack Smokey Summer, which we call the Smokey Summahhhhh:
Rocks glass over ice
1 oz Bootblack Cranberry Jalapeno Syrup
1 oz Reposado Tequila
1 oz Mezcal
fresh squeezed lime juice
fresh squeezed grapefruit juice
Garnish with a flamed grapefruit rind. Use the lighter you light your candles with, the ones you also bought from HomeGoods.
What do we want? A cocktail!
When do we want it? After 4 PM!
Where do we want it? At home, you fools!
Amy takes pride in being a grumpy optimist. Want to talk sports ball? Amy is your girl. Her favorite New York Times crossword puzzle day is Tuesday. If your book is set in the former Soviet Union or World War 2, Amy will read it. As a recovered Southern Baptist, she is raising her daughter to be happy.