New year, new cocktails. I began 2021 with messages from companies that wanted to show off their mocktail liquor for a dry January. Then the Capitol riots happened, five are dead, and our departing president has been impeached a second time. His Twitter account is gone, along with his Facebook, Snapchat, Youtube and so much more of his support. People constantly talk about cancel culture as a key aspect of modern society, but right now is the first time I think it’s actually happening.
Not that I’m mad about it.
But also, this has been a running theme since the beginning of 2020: I want to go on with life, and then insurmountable conflict rears its ugly head— insane conflict. The pandemic and threat of civil war takes the cake from the 2008 recession and, in my view as a Democrat, the entire Bush era.
And it isn’t that I couldn’t go running in the streets in a rainbow onesie right now, it’s that the appropriate response is most often somber, or angry, or frustrated, or fearful. I’m supposed to be calling friends and expressing concern about our world today or making endless posts on social media about how mad it all makes me.
Sometimes I just want to drink, or laugh, or spend time with friends, or wear a frilly outfit and make a social media moment out of it. I used to love wearing patriotic drag, for example, and I even put a July Fourth face mask section on my apparel store in 2020. But then I realized people might take that the wrong way — that I actually support the country as it is or our current leader.
I left the section up but didn’t promote it, and then I idly wondered about who was buying my American flag masks in Texas.
When Trump lost the election, I remember jubilant sentiments from friends, commentators and comedians to the effect “I’m just happy he won’t be colonizing so much of my brain anymore.” Me, too. I stopped checking his Twitter as much and added him to a list of daily stressors I worked to minimize in my life: the pandemic, the holidays, protests, riots, the economy, rent, and jobless rates. What I’m really talking about is my Facebook feed, which morphed the past 12 months into every sort of misdirected rage and frustrated post under the sun.
Absent that, we are in lockdown because vaccines are not yet distributed. So social adventures aren’t a thing, and I mostly wake up with a sense of looming dread that this all is not yet over, at least insofar that I can go back to just being alive, baking cakes and showing off my funny wardrobe to friends. No bars or restaurants are open. Do you know how much I’d love to just go alone to my favorite crepe place and stare wistfully out a window?
I feel paralyzed at the moment and in ways, guilty for wanting to find joy in little things when so much bad is happening. I’m grateful to be alone in a safe, peaceful environment, far from quarantine or a stressed-out roommate. But it’s hard to do much else beyond stare at a wall and hope things get better soon.
Like many other events this year, I didn’t want to be tone deaf and ignore this one in my column.
So here we are: Trump is impeached for a second time, and with my typical set of bartenders on hiatus for the foreseeable future, I opted instead to provide you with two peach-flavored cocktails. Because if anything else is a theme I’ve witnessed lately, it’s that all my friends are drinking more.
Please mix these two up and toast with me in hopes of more laughs and lighter times in 2021.
This one serves two, so share the love or polish them off yourself. Drink responsibly.
1 cup peach schnapps
1/4 cup orange liquor
1/2 can of frozen orange juice concentrate
1 cup frozen peaches
Directions: Soften the orange juice concentrate by leaving it out of the freezer for about 20 minutes. Add it to a blender and pulse a few times, then add the rest of the ingredients and blend until smooth. Garnish a tall glass with peaches and add a straw.
Peach Gin Fizz
1 ounce gin
3 tablespoons peach simple syrup (recipe below)
Directions: Add simple syrup first to the bottom of a glass, then a pinch of sugar on top of it. Pour in gin, then top with club soda. Optionally, garnish the cocktail with peach and blueberries.
Peach Simple Syrup
2 white peaches
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
Directions: Slice peaches and place in a pot with sugar and water. Boil for five minutes, then reduce to a simmer until only about half the liquid is left. Strain syrup and serve or store.
Saul Sugarman is a San Francisco-based writer, event producer and apparel designer. Read more of his content and buy his wares at saulsugarman.com. He is a guest columnist and his opinions are not necessarily that of the Examiner.