Things people have been asking me since the coronavirus crisis set in:
“This doesn’t really affect your everyday life, does it?”
Outwardly, I know a lot looks the same for me. I’ve been working from home for years, and my ER doctor husband is very much needed at work. But that doesn’t mean the virus isn't impacting my everyday life. Just like you, it has limited my movement, derailed my upcoming plans, made me fearful for my friends and family, and forced me to rethink some things for my business.
“How’s your husband?”
Thank you for asking. He’s tired, worried, and stressed - doing about as well as you can expect someone fighting on the front lines to be. I echo his request that you continue to do your part by staying home. (Don’t forget to order carry-out from your favorite local restaurant.)
“Is it okay to start drinking yet?”
Now, I’m not sure what time you’re reading this, but I’m going to say “probably.”
The way I see it is this…
This virus has quickly and radically changed even the most basic foundations of our everyday lives. (There’s a meme I love that says, “Coronavirus has officially cancelled more shit than Morrissey.” And while I hope he doesn’t, he might cancel his next show in my city just because I said that.)
One thing you can’t let it take from you is your sense of personal agency and self-control.
Be reasonable, of course – especially when it comes to indulgences like cocktailing. A good general rule: unless you’re a mixologist working on new recipes, you probably don’t want to drink at work. (Best not to start too soon afterward, either.)
Trying to keep your kids busy all day?
Zero judgment here if you put a little liqueur in your coffee for an added boost... though swapping out your glass of water for vodka or tequila is a bit much. (Another guideline: if the kids can tell you've been drinking, it's a good sign to ease off.)
But as long as it’s not interfering with anything else you want to do, why not have a cocktail when you feel like it?
Sure, this sentiment is kind of out of line with the recent sentiment toward drinking…
We’re living in the age of Dry January, when post-holiday detoxing is more popular than ever – and for a lot of people, it extends well beyond the month. High-end mocktails have made their way onto menus at trendy bars. Millennials and Gen Z-ers are drinking less than their parents did at the same point in their lives.
Yet alcohol has been an important part of society for thousands of years, especially when it comes to life’s big occasions. We use it to celebrate happy events (“Cheers!”), mark religious ones (“Amen”), and soothe us during somber ones (“Here’s hoping…”).
I think the mass replication of the deadliest virus in over 100 years counts as a major, cocktail-worthy occasion.
And I'm not the only one. Because just as quickly as COVID-19 has taken a foothold in our lives, so has the quarantini.
This is basically a martini that you drink alone in your house. If you’re a traditionalist, it’s got 2.5 ounces of gin or vodka and half an ounce of dry vermouth. Maybe it’s got some olive juice in there if you like it dirty. It’s got an olive or onion for a garnish, or maybe a twist of lemon. (Here’s a version with orange bitters and lillet blanc, a fortified wine that’s similar to vermouth.)
Two things, though…
First, I’m not a huge martini drinker, so I take the term “quarantini” figuratively. To me, it’s really whatever cocktail you feel like having while you’re isolated/self-quarantined/social distancing. My standard quarantini is a negroni – but I always reserve the right to change my mind.
Second, you’re not really drinking alone because you’re supposed to enjoy your quarantini over virtual happy hour. Instead of meeting at your usual watering hole, you’re jumping on a video call with your drink and toasting your friends from wherever you each are.
Feeling daring? Have a cocktail with colleagues you would normally never spend time with outside of work – and talk about things other than business.
You can also do happy hour in person with your neighbors… not too many of them, of course, and leave the prescribed 6+ feet of space between you.
Other than that, when it comes to happy hour in this strange new world, anything goes! Just have fun with it, and be grateful that technology is advanced enough to let us enjoy cocktails together anywhere in the world.
To you and yours!
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