Cocktails of the COVID-19 Quarantine


For six years part of my job was inventing names for cocktails for The House of Seagram. While I no longer work for that agency, I miss the days of brainstorming -- often accompanied by expense-accounted consumption of the appropriate beverage(s) or sampling at Seagram. Sadly in the Seagram test kitchen we had to spit out what we sampled.

So while I’m sitting here facing a world limited by our little house and the fence and shrubbery that bound it, I got to thinking that it was perhaps time to flex that muscle again. So take a whack at one or all of these after you get up from your hot laptop and the email and the instant messages and the texts that seem to arrive nonstop.

Some people think they know where this one comes from, and we're all afraid where it will lead us:
  • Chinese Virus. Baiju and absinthe. Baiju is probably the most consumed liquor in the world, equal parts pungency and power. Absinthe itself can be hot and harsh. Together they will go pandemic all over your world, leaving you to wonder whether there’s a cure for what you consumed.
These times call for staking out your territory and hunkering down. Maybe it’s something to have while you’re eating that Healthy Choice lemon pepper fish entree that’s been in the back of your freezer since the nineties or while you’re cursing how interconnected our world is today. If so, nothing helps you set and settle like creating a good …
  • Social Distance. Baiju, Jagermeister, and cream. Add the cream to the baiju so it curdles, then top with the J├Ągermeister. It’s a drink that looks awful, tastes worse, and will keep everyone six feet away. Garnish with Sen Sen candy. Usually served with an ugly sweater and a scratch ‘n’ sniff of your dad’s Christmas cologne.
When you’re working at home there are so many distractions. What music to play. What’s trending on Twitter. The dog that must be walked. The curtains that haven’t been washed since the last pandemic. The garden you’ve been meaning to grow with the little avocado pit from the last time you made guacamole. That’s why you need something that keeps you in place, like...
  • The Italian Border. Frangelico, amaretto, nocino. Serve with whipped cream and a cherry. After all, if you can’t get out, you might as well make the best of it.
Just because you’re working at home doesn’t mean you shouldn’t treat it like a professional. Sit at the keyboard in your best Tom Ford. Work that iPhone in your Jimmy Choos. Then shake and stir a...
  • Quarantino. 5 parts Limoncello to one part Campari in a martini glass. Drink for fourteen days straight and hope you still have a job.
In tough times, however, you want to turn to established authority. This is no time to turn to interns and apprentices. And while you want the latest news and the key data, this is the cocktail you’ll fly in if you need to, just to be sure you get the right info:
  • The CDC. Chivas Regal, Dewar’s, Coca-Cola. Drink it neat, drink it over ice, it doesn’t matter. Face it, you just want to get drunk.
The problem with what we’re facing and why we’re working from home is a world that makes us feel like we have no control. That’s...
  • The Pandemic. Grab the first five bottles you find in your bar and then just pour directly from them onto your desk. See whether you can lick it up before it spills onto the floor.
Or have you been afraid to touch things? Do you fear your own door knobs and refrigerator handles? Does your keyboard now frighten you? Are you squeamish about touching your iPhone screen? If that’s so, the solution for you is:
  • The Hand Sanitizer. Sambuca, Everclear, and simple syrup. This is a presentation drink. Your server or bartender (if you’re lucky enough to have someone sharing your little COVID-19 hideaway) fills latex gloves with each ingredient to you, then pours each into your shot glass and lights it.
Of course, today everybody is stressed by the not knowing and the waiting. So often the answer is in the alcohol. And except for one little problem, that would be true of...
  • The Test Kit. Except we don’t know what’s in it because no matter how many times you ask for it, it never arrives.
Will any of these cocktails actually help you? Who knows. But if something with a bit of a kick in a fancy glass helps get you through it, I’m not one to say you shouldn’t do it. Or something in a jelly glass. Or a plastic cup. Who cares. It’s a national health emergency. Drink up.

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