I don’t know crap about cocktails.

I don’t know much about drinking in general, despite having worked in a bar back in the day… a lifetime ago, at this point. I’ve always had the taste buds of a six-year-old, which means that no matter how cool I thought I’d be if I could walk into a bar and say, “Scotch, neat,” the face I’d make while I sipped it would give me away in an instant. I love the idea of having strongly worded preferences about how a martini should be prepared, but when I take a sip, I make a squinchy face and involuntarily recoil. And I always wanted to be that cool girl with a beer at the party, but beer still smells and tastes like pee to me, so there goes that.

All those mom posts about wine? I want to relate, but I don’t. Downing a glass of wine is yet another thing I have to do that I’d rather not.

I’ve had my moments: tequila shots, the occasional gin & tonic, red wine with dinner, but it’s always so laborious. Why is it such work for me? Why can’t I like things sophisticated adults like? After years of trying, I finally just accepted my lot. Sometimes I would even get a drink at social gatherings just so I could use it as a prop and stop being asked if I wanted one. Wine pairings? They’re lost on me. I used to enjoy sweet treats like Bailey’s Irish Cream, but to quote Rhoda, “I don’t know why I’m putting this in my mouth. I should just apply it directly to my hips.”

And then we arrived at shelter-in-place, or as it was originally called, self-quarantine (and then self-isolation). I thought about how nice it would be to have a glass of wine at the end of the evening, then realized it would only be nice if I LIKED it, which I don’t. Damn.

But in a burst of inspiration on a difficult day, I remembered something: I DO have a favorite cocktail. And I could make it at home! I donned my mask and out I went, on my mission to find three items: Vanilla Stoli, ginger ale, and limes.

We don’t have nice cocktail glasses, or even a proper shot glass for measuring, but we made do, and I fixed some cocktails for myself and my husband, to the confusion of my teenagers. “Are you going to get drunk and fall down?” my daughter asked.

I poured our drinks. I stirred. We sat by our front window and watched the sun set, sipping our sweet treats. And you know what? That one drink just took the edge off, and felt like a reward. The next night, my husband switched to Johnnie Walker and soda, which brings out my squinchy face again, but I’m sticking with my Vanilla Stoli & ginger ale. I have one on Fridays, usually, and also on Sunday evenings when my pals at TrekMovie and I gather on Zoom to watch an episode of Star Trek together. I haven’t had more than one in an evening, and I don’t see it becoming a long term thing, but in these strange times, when the days can blend right into each other even when I’m working on different projects, it’s become a reassuring ritual that makes me feel just a little bit more adult, despite the toddler-friendly flavor. So while this thing is still going on, on Fridays and Sundays… cheers!

About Laurie Ulster

A transplanted Canadian living in New York, Laurie Ulster is a freelance writer and a TV producer who somehow survived her very confusing adolescence as the lone female Star Trek fan in middle school. She writes about pop culture, lifestyle topics, feminism, food, and other topics for print, digital, podcasts, and TV.

View all posts by Laurie Ulster

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