The above gem, I do believe, is Hotel Delmano's Hotel's Cocktail, recently cited in Eater NY's round-up of spring cocktails. (I say "I do believe" because I had several drinks that night, and my notes, ahem, are nonexistent.) Dry vermouth, gin, maraschino, cucumber. Make it at home!
Among my many compulsions is iPhone-camming cocktail menus from around town in the hopes of then duplicating said drinks at home. (See the Sweet and Lowdown, which I adapted from Hundred Acres; also, the North Fifth, which I adapted from Redhead's Gotham: a Manhattan cut with Kahlua.) Herewith, then, some recent menus I've sampled, so you can impress your own loved ones and friends. (Or not.)
Fatty 'Cue's special "reserve" list, contained in a Moleskine-like book that's brought to the table. The Fatty Manhattan, with Cherry Coke syrup smoked in one of the smokers, is out of this world.
The General Greene's brunch list—the Old Fig was lovely (and easy to make!).
The Bell House's indie-music-inspired concoctions. Don't know what's in them, but love the names.
Outside of Blackout Bar. Daddy's Lemonade? How can I take advantage of *that*?
Classics and originals served in 19th-century grandeur at Keens Chophouse. I'll be making the Sully as soon as I get some cava up in here.
Yesterday Lt. Dan Choi and Capt. Jim Pietrangelo chained themselves to the White House fence again, joined by four other servicemembers. It was another bold, poignant action organized by Get Equal, and at least some of the mainstream press paid attention this time (such as CBS News, which produced the above video). It was exciting to see the on-the-spot updates trickle through my Twitter feed, and I opined that "ACT UP would be proud of the WH actions, and ACT UP got things done."
ACT UP, of course, is the foremost example of successful direct action in America in the last 30 or 40 years. (The anti-globalization demonstrations in Seattle in 1999 and later in DC certainly sent a strong message of resistance but nevertheless failed to change the status quo.) Established in 1987, the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power sought to reverse years of government neglect of HIV/AIDS and to reduce the cost and clinical barriers to life-saving drugs like AZT. The group's website—yes, they're still around, and they meet weekly at New York's LGBT Community Center—has a detailed capsule history of ACT UP actions and impacts, but from the start, when they literally waylaid Wall Street to protest the profiteering of pharmaceutical companies, they were an unyielding force. By the time they began employing political funerals in 1992—that year "the actual ashes of people we love" were dropped on the White House lawn—ACT UP had enormously changed domestic HIV/AIDS policy.
It's this legacy that Get Equal has now picked up. It's not their only inspiration—the civil-rights movement and Gandhi are two others—but when I see Dan Choi, in uniform, chained to the White House fence, I see a die-in. It's not a die-in, of course—though some gay servicemembers have died in part because of "don't ask, don't tell" (like Barry Winchell), Choi isn't simulating death. Instead, he and his compatriots are simulating imprisonment: the literal, conceptual, and psychological incarceration caused by the military's ban on open service. (I heard the sight of Choi and Pietrangelo the last time made some gay vets, like Eric Alva, the first servicemember injured in the Iraq war, physically sick. But isn't that the point? Reduced to its essence in the cold light of day, "don't ask, don't tell" is nauseating.)
To be sure, ACT UP can't be separated from HIV/AIDS—it's the only issue the group cared about, and, in the late '80s and early '90s, it was the only issue that mattered. But because of ACT UP's powerful activism, the LGBT community became a political constituency that policymakers ignored at their peril. This is the message of the Get Equal advocates, some of whom disrupted a House committee hearing today demanding that ENDA be marked up. I suggest they take another tactic from the ACT UP playbook and go after defense contractors like Boeing or Lockheed Martin, both of which protect LGBT employees from discrimination (and offer partner benefits to boot). If their stock prices dip thanks to a direct action or two, the Pentagon might need to conclude their review of "don't ask, don't tell" quite soon.
My consulting client Susan Youssef recently secured the above title design by world-renowned graphic artist Reza Abedini for her debut feature Habibi Rasak Kharban (Darling, Something's Wrong With Your Head). Last week Youssef completed the rough cut of the film, the first fiction feature to be made about Gaza in more than a decade; the film's website is forthcoming. For more details on my 360 media-consulting practice, check out the link at the right.
[UPDATE: Bowing to public pressure, Governor McDonnell issued a mea culpa Wednesday evening, saying his failure to mention slavery in his Confederate History Month proclamation was a "major omission." He added—as I similarly mention below—that "the state that served as the Capitol of the Confederacy was also the first in the nation to elect an African-American governor."]
"Whereas, it is important for all Virginians to reflect upon our Commonwealth's shared history, to understand the sacrifices of the Confederate leaders, soldiers and citizens during the period of the Civil War, and to recognize how our history has led to our present."
So reads part of the resolution declaring April Confederate History Month by Virginia's extremist governor Robert McDonnell. Now I'm no historian, but the Civil War was about slavery, and the "sacrifices" that McDonnell refers to were on behalf of slavery. But unlike Virginia's last Republican governor, James Gilmore, who at least included anti-slavery language in his own Confederate History Month resolution (as per Wednesday's Washington Post article), McDonnell pointedly omits any reference to this country's "great sin and shame." Why? Because while the Civil War "obviously" "involved slavery," he told the Post, "I focused on the [issues] I thought were most significant for Virginia." McDonnell added that the declaration was meant to promote tourism—next year is the 150th anniversary of the Civil War's onset.
As if the gamesmanship between McDonnell and his equally disreputable attorney general, Ken Cuccinelli, for the hearts and minds of Tea Partiers both in Virginia and nationally could get any worse. (Who can forget last month's topsy-turvy over nondiscrimination protections for gays and lesbians at the state's institutions of higher education?) As a former 10-year resident of Virginia and a proud but cognizant graduate of the University of Virginia, whose founder was a slave owner, I'm aghast at what's happening there. American slavery may have begun in Virginia, but it was also the first state to elect an African-American governor—Doug Wilder, in 1989—and it voted for Obama in '08. As Wilder himself told the Post, McDonnell's dubious historical endorsement is "mind-boggling to say the least."
(Adapted from the "Grapefruit Cooler" currently on the drinks menu at Hundred Acres.)
1 oz. Hendrick's gin
1 oz. elderflower liqueur (preferably St. Germain)
1 oz. grapefruit juice
juice of a half lime
Directions: Mix the above ingredients over ice in a cocktail shaker, then serve in a stemmed glass with lime garnish.