Dear Rachael Ray,
‘Member a few years ago when Anthony Bourdain rained ninja spawn on you for shooting that Dunkin’ Donuts ad, the one where you sported a keffiyeh like some kind of cultural anthro major at Columbia? He was pissed because, in his ideal, folks like you should advocate for sound, wholesome foods, which you’ve gotta admit is a point.
I am mad at you too, Rachael Ray. I am mad because last year your eponymous mag, Every Day with Rachael Ray, printed this:
And I read: “Here’s a sweet idea: Use lollipops as color-coordinated cocktail stirrers.” O Rachael Ray, where do I begin?
It’s not so much that you advise dispersing a dose of corn syrup, glycerine, FD&C Red No. 40 et. al. into one’s mix of liquor and fruit juice (and probably sugar or simple syrup, too), because I well know the cocktail itself is no bracing shot of healthfulness. And I want not to stomp on the do-what-you-like freedoms of others, no matter how misguided, like the way Sarah Palin interprets a criticism of what she’s said as an indictment of her right to say it. I won’t even go into the fact that the legal drinking age in this country is 21, and that by sticking a lolli in alcohol, what you’ve created is, in effect, an effigy of Joe Camel himself.
The thing is, Rachael Ray, there are things such as taste and style, things that are arbitrated through the culture by media empresses such as yourself and, of course, bloggers read by dozens of people, like me. These things matter because they are linked to tradition and history, and because they are the cues by which society charts its behavior, and therefore, its course. Famous architects talk about how a building can provide passersby insights into a neighborhood and dictate their acts of civility or discord. Your validating a Blow Pop as an acceptable cocktail ingredient is like endorsing Red Bull and vodka; it’s telling people that, yes, some things should always remain what your grandfather used to drink, so you just sit there and look cute and don’t bother to evolve past when you used to mix Budweisers and OJ in high school. Where would you rather drink, Rachael Ray: Inside Mad Men or along the Jersey Shore?
Now, Rachael Ray, I completely admit that if there’s one thing I suck at, it’s coming up with a comeback in quick fashion. That’s why it’s taken me the better part of a year to concoct the cocktail I knew I would one day call the “I Hope You Get Diabetes, Rachael Ray.” I also admit that I copped this idea from a sketchy recollection of a drink my friend Michelle once ordered and adored somewhere in San Francisco. It is basically a martini with the slightest of tweaks — which, once I thought about it, I realized was just what the “I Hope You Get Diabetes, Rachael Ray” needed to be.
The “I Hope You Get Diabetes, Rachael Ray” needed to be pleasurable and amiable while being neither sweet nor briny. It’s just pure warmth, cascading in a botanically-tinged tingle across the tongue.
Plus it’s pink, Rachael Ray — Gwyneth-Paltrow-Oscar-gown pink!
That shade of pink, unless my husband was blowing smoke up my ass, is such an unlikely, beguiling, non-Pepto Bismol and uncandied shade of pink (for a cocktail) that even the male members of our species will want to plumb its depths. Men and women, Rachael Ray — sociably enjoying a cocktail together! Don’t you think your readers would like that?
The “I Hope You Get Diabetes, Rachael Ray”
2 ounces Hendrick’s Gin
1/4 teaspoon Cinzano dry vermouth
1 dash Peychaud’s bitters
Big, fat, oversized, green olive (optional)
Combine all three ingredients in an ice-filled cocktail shaker. Shake the ever-loving shit out of it. Strain into a (preferably chilled) cocktail or martini glass. If you like, garnish with a skewered olive.
The absolutely most important thing about this cocktail is that it must be served ice cold. That is why I’m suggesting you shake it, even though conventional cocktail-nerd wisdom would dictate stirring a mixture that’s all thin alcohols (no egg, cream, juice, syrupy liqueur, etc.). I, for one, could not get it cold enough through stirring, and when it’s only cool as opposed to cold, it’s too fumey and harsh.
The Hendrick’s Gin is key, but you can employ whatever brand of dry vermouth you happen to have on-hand. Peychaud’s is an orange flavor of bitters, btw, and the most popular, but should you have another brand (I am pretty sure Fee Brothers makes one) anything orange should do.