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The Joyful Queer Revolution
Changing the language in hospo, Black female sommeliers, Pet-Nat Sake?, Floral vs Peaty Cocktails, Is sherry really a civilised drink? Are you a Negroni or a Mojito? All the important questions!
I hope you’ve all had a good week! We’re officially edging closer to summer! The countdown is on!
What’s been going on? Well, we have a new season of The Bear! I wrote about what The Bear says about the hospitality industry here if you’re interested. It’ll be interesting to see what Season 2 holds!
On another note, very late to the game I know, but I’ve started watching A League of Their Own a TV series set in 1943 about a professional women’s softball league. And no surprise, loving it.
Last week we had England’s coronation of Charles and Camilla (I know, who cares, maybe I do, maybe I should more?) but we did get some funny tweets about it, so this pretty much covers all you need to know:
On the personal front! Kate and I returned from our two weeks in Tulum, which turned out to be a super transformative space, work-wise. I basically spent 2 weeks trying to figure out my retirement plan, and how to make our dream of wanting a home in Spain, a home in Denver, and a farm all work out fiscally, which was a big slap in the face from reality but very much needed. Since I work for myself, I’ve never had a 401k, so while I invest what I can, it’s really not the same as an employer matching for 30+ years. The two weeks allowed me to slow down, get creative, and put together a working plan.
Since then, we have been bouncing around a lot, visiting friends and family, but it’s been a great deal of stress having only 2-4 days in each place, and not being able to see everyone or do everything we want to do. While it’s all been pre-planned, the month stays have been so wonderful, but the jumping around has been so much work, but not without a ton of fun…
Over the last few weeks, we managed to sneak in so many great memories. In Baltimore, we attended the Anita Baker concert, and I spent more money on a concert than I ever have in my entire life, because she’s an absolute legend, duh. The bonus for us was that Babyface opened and played some absolute HITS.
I also witnessed a miracle! While at Kate’s family farm, this little guy was born! I watched him take his first steps and his first sip!
We’ve finally landed down in Denver again and have a solid month here to get caught up on work and take some time to relax a bit and get our routines back on track.
After Denver, we plan to spend 5 days in Park City visiting my family (I have no idea how to categorize the relationship, but it’s my dad’s 1st cousin.) I’ve always called her my aunt since it makes the most sense. After, we fly back to Denver and drive to the countryside for another 5 days with Kate’s twin sister and her partner for some horseback rides, cooking steak on an open fire, and might even try to sneak in some fly-fishing.
In some VERY good news, Kate and I bought another house in PA! I don’t really talk about this much, as it’s part of the boring retirement plan, but this house is super exciting to me because of the gorgeous millwork inside (which we plan to keep during restoration) and the extreme height of the ceilings and doors. All of our current properties are long-term rentals, but this will be our first Airbnb property, so it’s a really exciting build. We plan to do this renovation ourselves, or at least the majority of the inside, so we’re actually going to spend a few months here which will get me back on the east coast for a bit before heading back to Denver more permanently.
Here’s the upcoming schedule - if you find yourself nearby, let us know!
June - Denver
July - Mexico
August - San Sebastian
September - San Sebastian
October - Pennsylvania
November - Pennsylvania
December - Pennsylvania
January - Denver
In this newsletter, I’ve got a bit of a mix of things that I’ve been reading about and a short intro to my next class Floral vs Peaty Cocktails!
If you haven’t signed up already you can do that here:
They’ll be two Zoom classes, part 1 and part 2 on the 16th and 28th of May! As always, we’ll be exploring the fun, diverse, and exciting world of cocktails, open to everyone! You’ll learn about the different flavors, recipes, history, and production methods behind these unique spirits. I look forward to seeing you there!
As always, anything underlined is a hyperlink. Without further ado let’s get into the week:
The Joyful Queer Revolution
Changing the language we use in hospitality
Black female sommeliers to watch
Are you thunder or lightning?
A new bombshell entered the villa
Floral vs Peaty. wtf am I talking about?
The Joyful Queer Revolution:
We’re almost at Pride month and the beginning of summer, meaning it’s time to celebrate and dance. In the spirit of this, here’s my due diligence to the latest of queer joy and music.
Beyoncé started her Renaissance world tour! An ode to queerness, Blackness, and 80s disco. Truly no better vibes to take into summer and no one does it better than Queen Bey, constantly redefining the music industry. The album (released last year) is dedicated to her Uncle Jonny who died of AIDS-related complications. As always, her work is complex, layered, innovative, and beautiful, full of enough references to fill a book (Dissect Podcast does a great podcast unpacking all the references in Lemonade if you get the chance) but perhaps unlike her previous music, this album throws out all the rules and is just plain fun. The beautiful Jenna Wortham and Wesley Morris spoke about the album on their podcast too!
I spoke in a few newsletters about the theory of Queering Time- the slowing down and valuing of the pleasure and the present, reclaiming a better future. This music, and reinvention of genre, identity, and pleasure is an extension of this. Imagining a joyful future. Given the state of the world, queer joy, and especially Black queer joy is radical.
The tour is also a homage to queer artists, shown through the set, costumes, visuals, music, and dance. And in case it wasn’t obvious enough she projected a giant Progressive Pride flag on the back (a side note, all the bathrooms were gender neutral!)
While we’re also on queer music and queer joy, (an idea that this band emphasizes in their music and performance) MUNA (who I briefly touched on last newsletter) has a great podcast called Gayotic, which has returned for a Season 2!
Janelle Monae has a new album coming out, entering her Age of Pleasure and joy era. She’s dropped a music video for her single Lipstick Lover and Float which celebrate queerness, blackness, feminism, and sex positivity pool parties!
This summer really looks like it’s shaping up to celebrate the joyful queer revolution!
Consider this the teaser for the next newsletter where I’ll be talking about the revival of record bars! Music and hospitality have such an intertwined relationship, I can’t wait to get into this!
Changing the language we use in hospitality:
Speaking of moving beyond the binary, let’s talk about the heavily gendered language that exists (largely unintentionally) in hospitality. What do I mean? I’m talking about the well-intentioned ingrained greetings and phrased questions from the second you walk in the door.
"Hello ladies! Can I get you a drink?” “Gentleman, are you ready to order?” “Thank you sir/ ma’am etc.”
Most people probably haven’t thought twice about it, or view it as purely polite niceties. However, with an increasing awareness of gender diversity and expression, it raises the need to change the language to reflect a respectful, inclusive, welcoming space that restaurants and bars should be.
Thanks, folks, welcome friends, hi guys, thanks everyone, hi there, y’all, etc., etc. It might sound a little cheesy or different, to begin with, but it can make the world of difference not be misgendered from the second you walk into a bar. Furthermore, how you feel in a space most likely will determine how much you enjoy and spend on the night. In the name of basic respect and comfort, a really small change to make. We know how to use inclusive pronouns, why don’t we bring this to the dining space?
Making people comfortable is hospitality 101. It’s time to evolve to meet the needs of our customers.
Black female sommeliers to watch:
Off the back of the last newsletter focusing on the future of cocktails and hospitality and the lack of diversity in these spaces, I thought I would spread the light on fifteen Black female sommeliers and mentors to watch and inspire you as they change the industry.
If you remember wayyy back in 2018 Julia Coney wrote an open letter titled “Your Wine Glass Ceiling is My Wine Glass Box. An Open Letter to Karen MacNeil and the Wine Industry” sharing the continuous barriers, exclusion, and gatekeeping in the wine world to women and people of color in response to an article by Karen MacNeil titled “Beyond the Wine Glass—A New Glass Ceiling?” that only featured white women (36 to be exact). Once again reminding us that a feminism that excludes other minorities or people of color is no feminism at all.
Coney’s letter included a list of things we can do as an industry:
Make diversity happen and quit being a buzzword.
Make other women feel welcome at industry events, even when they don’t look like you.
Look for new voices in wine media that represent the diversity of the world. They are out there.
Mentor when possible.
Get out of your comfort zone. African-Americans have been out of our comfort zone for centuries.
Be open to discussing others' perspectives of this industry.
Quit assuming all African-American people only drink Moscato. Yes, this is a thing.”
It’s now 2023, what’s changed?
Are you thunder or lightning?
I liked this piece in the Paris Review the other week about the binary, ridiculous, but deeply appealing statements like “There are only two types of people in the world”. Writer Sophie Haigney talks about the game she has created with her friends called “Dichotomies” where they create two ambiguous categories like Thunder and Lightning and then try to classify people as one or the other.
From the piece:
“All summer long I thought of other ways to divide the world in half: New Hampshire/Vermont, Picasso/Matisse, punk/hippie, still/sparkling, IPA/lager, Beatles/Stones, France/Italy, Bob Weir/Jerry Garcia, glamour/charisma, hater/enthusiast, ellipsis/etc., elusive/available, green/blue, beer/shots, Yankees/Mets”
A ridiculous but strangely entertaining game, where you somehow manage to attribute qualities to inanimate objects and divide people purely based on “the vibe”. (If you’re familiar with the Australian classic The Castle then you’re well and truly familiar with “the vibe”). At the risk of sounding like a 2015 Buzzfeed quiz, it got me thinking about the stereotypes of cocktails. Who would I categorize a Negroni whereas who screams Martini? Or to link back to the class are you a Peaty Cocktail or a Floral Cocktail?
As a hypothetical game, trading in stereotypes and lazy characterizations I thought it presented an interesting opportunity to think about our own stereotypes around types of cocktails, and how they are just as ridiculous as characterizing someone as strictly thunder or lightning. Anyways, a fun game but be warned if you call someone a Mojito who would proudly call themselves a Whisky Sour…
A new bombshell has entered the villa:
That’s right folks, brace yourself for Sake Pét-Nat. I read this week in Punch Drink that we’re about to experience some Arkansas homegrown sake! Taking inspo from IPAs, Pét-Nat, and Champagne blending. One brewery has tried a dry hopping technique to employ a secondary fermentation bridging ancient Japanese culture and modern wine and beer techniques.
Expanding in the market are Sake-Beer hybrids, Awa (Pét-Nat style Sakes), and Blended and Wine- Yeasted Sakes. So much to try!
If you’re after the bright, floral, fruity notes of an IPA without the bitterness try a sake-beer hybrid from producers like Heiwa Brewery and haccoba brewery!
Although it’s been around for over a decade, sparkling sakes, or awazake are fun, refreshing, and exciting to explore. It’s only natural that after the boom of Pét-Nat, this catches on quickly.
And lastly, a traditional option, your wine-yeasted sakes. Rivaling the terroir-driven wine heavy weights, IWA sake captures the complexity and depth of wine with the layered complexity of sake. Firmly established in the fine dining world at Michelin restaurants it’s worth a shot.
I find these hybrids super interesting so keep your eye out for more sake-forward content in the future!
Sherry revival (again):
A few days ago this article by Cara Devine claims like playwright W. Somerset Maughan many years before her “Sherry really is the civilized drink”. She talks about how “sherry has risen to claim its rightful place as a beloved modifier in cocktails, used to bring interest and depth in drinks, often by way of highlighting inherent deliciousness in spirit profiles”. I really enjoyed the way she spoke about the false dichotomy between ‘sherry’ and ‘wine’ and its underrated nuances.
In the spirit of clearing Sherry’s name here’s a delicious Black Wasp cocktail from Alejandro Archibald.
40ml fino sherry
40ml sherry fig liqueur*
10ml Amaro Montenegro
2 dash orange bitters
Garnish: skewered fig
*Slice 1 kg figs horizontally (as neatly as possible) and add to 500ml each amontillado sherry and Rutherglen muscadelle and peel of one orange. Allow to infuse for 5 – 7 days (or 4 hours at 60° in a sous-vide). Strain figs off (reserve for garnish) and mix in 10% by weight of caster sugar.
Add all ingredients to a mixing glass, add ice and stir. Strain into a chilled coupe glass and garnish with soaked fig.
But, I’m aware you might not have all the time for the fig preparation and as it’s Friday a cocktail is calling for now, here’s a recipe for a Coronation Cocktail from Talia Baiocchi dating back to the 1900s
60ml fino sherry
15ml dry vermouth
5ml maraschino liqueur
3 dashes orange bitters
Garnish: lemon twist
Add all ingredients to a mixing glass, add ice and stir. Strain into a chilled coupe glass and garnish with a lemon twist
Floral vs Peaty Cocktails, wtf am I talking about?
Annnnd just a hint of what you can expect for the classes, I know the terms ‘floral’ and ‘peaty’ might confuse a bunch of you, so here’s a look into what we’ll be talking about:
Floral cocktails, which often feature light, delicate flavors and showcase the beauty and fragrance of flowers. We’ll learn about popular floral ingredients like elderflower, lavender, and rose, and how to incorporate them into cocktails that are both refreshing and elegant.
On the other hand, if you're a fan of smoky, peaty cocktails, you won't want to miss out on this class. We'll explore the bold flavors of peaty whiskey and other smoky ingredients like mezcal, and teach you how to balance these intense flavors in a cocktail.
Step up your cocktails and understand the basics of layering flavors. See you there!
That’s all for this week! Thanks for reading! Don’t forget to share this with your fellow foodie and cocktail lovers!
I’ll leave you with this image of Mariah Carey cooking pizza in white silk. Not too sure what the meaning is but somehow it says everything I want to say.
Until next newsletter!