For those nights when you get home hungry, stressed, and impatient, Hangry is here to help. Each Monday, Kendra Vaculin will share quick, exciting meals to rescue anyone who might be anxiously eyeing a box of minute rice.
Today: If play pretend is what you do when you're seven and on the jungle gym, play mixologist is what you do when you're over 21 and there's alcohol.
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When it comes to making drinks, there is mixology, and then there is real life.
Mixology, as the name suggests, is a science, all precision and technique. It is the result of study and training, and comes with a whole set of skills that lay people do not possess. Sit at the bar at The Violet Hour or Maison Premiere and you’ll see what I mean: There is a production going on back there, with droppers and swizzle sticks and many different shapes of ice. Mixologists do things like wave an orange rind just sort of in the general vicinity of your drink to give it *~essence~*, which sounds like baloney but is, in fact, totally real and amazing. They try your drink before they serve it, too, by sticking one of those tiny coffee straws into your glass, plugging it at the top with their finger, and then shooting the teeny test into their mouths. Then they nod their heads—yes, passes inspection, very good— toss the straw, and present you with the finished product. I love this practice. It makes me feel like the recipient of a masterpiece.
More: Even if you don't think like a mixologist, you can at least garnish like one.
Real life…is different. Real life looks like a Monday night with handful of friends and a hodgepodge of ingredients spread out over all available counter space. You mix the liquids at random, hoping to hit upon some divine combination, and spill a lot in the process. The floor is sticky with spicy gin, but no one is that worried about it. The point is friends, and alcohol. The point is not science. And yet the result feels equally like a masterpiece when you strike some sort of sweet and spicy balance and pass your glass all around the living room for everyone to confirm. This is the winner, right? This is the gold medal? When someone takes a sip and yells “Yaas queen!” from the couch, you know you’ve done it.
A New Way to Dinner, co-authored by Food52's founders Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs, is an indispensable playbook for stress-free meal-planning (hint: cook foundational dishes on the weekend and mix and match ‘em through the week).