This post is part Animal Planet and part house-arrest-drinking. So if you have no interest in Neighborhood Nature or Lockdown Liquor Drinks, then move on, sister, this is no place for you.
#QuaratineLife has made me a more tuned-in day drinker.
For me, day drinking – usually reserved for vacations, weekends, and Tuesdays that piss me off – has become less reckless-college-road-trip reminiscent and more of a subdued back-deck-bourbon event.
It has become somehow less taboo in a world in which no one can smell the contents of my cup.
I’m not looking for confessions in the comments, gang, but admit it. You’ve started some early ass cocktail hours since mid-March, haven’t you?
For me, it’s also become an interesting game I play with my dog, Hamish. He wisely does not snitch to those who flirt with him during conference calls, and I, in turn, allow his backyard shenanigans when I am on my third Quarantini.
I try to exercise a modicum of restraint; I do not watch any news while imbibing so as not to become belligerent, and I eat snacks to avoid being completely legless before 7pm.
Hamish would like to point out that my cigar habit is probably not the best one to broadcast during a pandemic of a respiratory virus, but for those of you wanting cigar and Quarantini pairings – you know how to get in touch.
I am only human. I have paused Zoom to cut more limes and used the mute button to cover the noise of the blender. Sunny afternoons, Hamish and I have been known to engage in existential day drinking discourse about his thoughts on the chipmunk he has been stalking since last weekend. (And he is, of course, relentless in his never-ending orations urging me to allow his furry ass on the couch. But on this policy, thus far, I remain steadfast.)
Next Fun Fact.
I am enthralled with the way nature has responded to the lack of humans and humanness out and about in the world:
Probably looking for the late night club scene, wild boars roamed the street in Catalonia.
Hungry goats taking over a seaside town in Wales.
With a lack of ferry traffic, dolphins swam into ports near Sardinia.
Leopards are lounging about in temples in southern India.
Two deer walk into town, quietly judge a souvenir shop in Nara, Japan.
On a daily, I have found that in the quiet moments, watching nature has been a soothing balm that balances with my Merlot levels and aides with pandemic anxieties.
Brace yourself, I’m about to throw my inner hippie on you. (If you have a turtle or wolf spirit animal, then you are zen with this and can probably just skip to the cocktail recipes at the end. Everyone else, keep reading.)
We have no trees (our house was built on open farmland) but we put out as many bird feeders as we can manage. We have three pairs of Cardinals who come to feed, bluebirds, chickadees, and all manner of finches.
It’s not a Marlin Perkins flashback and it’s not the Quaranpiña Colada talking. The flapping and pecking are raucous; the singing and chirping are nothing short of magical.
A quick search for the phrase birds are louder on Twitter reveals that I am not entirely alone in thinking: Are the birds chirping more fiercely these days, or do I need to drink less?
Sometimes, like a badly dubbed kung-fu movie, I give them voices and personalities to go with the flitting and flirting. The cardinals are loving and attentive, the finches are competitive. There is food enough to share, and they have all learned to fend off the asshole blue jays. I feel like there are lessons to be learned here, though I have no idea what those might be. That’s not the point is it?
Watching these birds, as well as the other critters in our backyard, has become a comforting activity in a weird house-arrest sort of way, when we don’t venture much beyond the fences.
One friend has watched a family of foxes drink water every morning from a broken bird bath lying on the ground. Another friend has a diligent wren who has built nests in his garden. The wren sings daily, diligently, to attract a mate but so far, no one has swiped right, poor fella.
We have a clutch of cottontails that live by one corner of the fence, and we hear coyotes sing some evenings. We have an elegant red tail hawk that lives nearby, and we see him hunting sometimes; I vacillate between which one I most identify with. I fear the coyote, respect the hawk, but some days I feel like the bunny.
Isn’t it ridiculous that we get so involved with our lives that we forget the world manages just fine without us in so many ways? That so many living things go on with their days, unseen and unnoticed because we are not still enough long enough to see them. My hope is that we’ll return to post-pandemic work and remember them every now and then. That we will think, “I wonder how that garter snake is faring today?” instead of “where should I go to lunch?”
In the meantime, as we all continue in this mad mad world, here’s wishing that you find some peace underneath the frogs invading your gardens, or in the birds flitting about the natural spaces in which you wander and wonder.
And, if you are lucky like me to have a backyard and a cool place to watch it, I hope you do it with your favorite drink to hand.
Here are the ShropHQ April Quarantine Cocktail recipes,
which have all been personally field tested.
(And are still tasty if you are sick of the nature
both in your backyard and in your living room!)
*good any time of day
Barefoot hard seltzer Pineapple and Passion fruit flavor
Or in a blender
combined with fresh strawberries!
Home-School Slushies – by subject
*Served in tall Tervis ½ way with ice – drink w straw
Truly hard seltzer grapefruit flavor
fill rest with pink lemonade
chilled shots of El Jimador tequila
Truly hard seltzer berry flavor
with Gatorade Zero Glacier Cherry
Crystal light pink lemonade
Truly hard seltzer wild berry
with Gatorade Zero Berry
Sunny Day Sippin’
Crystal Light lemonade
Drink outdoors w a good book and 15 SPF
Corona Coffee (AM)
fresh brewed coffee
Splash of half and half
Refill as needed
Corona Coffee X2
*for AM Conference call with people you really don’t like
fresh brewed coffee
Splash of half and half
Refill as needed
* for conference calls with 3 or more people (better to make a pitcher and be prepared)
*no garnish. Make sure your tall glass/cup is not see-through
Zing Zang Bloody Mary mix
pickled okra brine
horseradish (in my case, loads)
Smile after every sip
Afterschool or Recess Refreshments
Botanist or Gunpowder Gin
Food Lion Diet Tonic
three limes wedges
Drink with slow deep breaths
*for only the truly devoted day drinkers or Saturdays with a chaperone
In a blender w ice
2 cups Chi Chi’s piña Colada mix (has rum in it)
2 cups Kraken rum
Garnish with pineapple if you have it
Hold on tight
KEEP CALM & BE KIND
Your Derelict Debutante