I have to admit, although I’m commonly a purveyor of all things fun and boozy, this week it’s been hard to muster the whimsical joy that comes from writing about imbibing. From the horrific details of the atrocities occurring with families searching for a better life at our country’s border, to Justice Anthony Kennedy announcing his retirement (also known as what many are concerned will be the end of Roe v. Wade and potentially Hodges v. Obergefell), it feels a little wrong to come to you preaching of the newest summer riffs on the Aperol Spritz. Now, don’t get me wrong — I adore an Aperol Spritz, and there’s certainly great value in talking about the innovative creations of my community, but right now I want to talk about how we can make conscious choices, right down to where we do happy hour and that have a positive effect on those most disjointed by current events and ourselves. Welcome to the bits and bobs of the barkeep’s brain, the thoughts that, right now, often bounce from daunted by the extent of it all to humbled action and self-care. And I do believe it’s OK for those things to intertwine with who we are on a day-to-day basis.
It’s always important to make deliberate choices when it comes to where we spend our money. Is it local? Is it going directly back into our community? Is it sustainable? Is it woman-owned? And, always, but right now more than ever, is it immigrant-owned? There are many spectacular immigrant-owned restaurants and bars in Louisville, so why not make an effort each time you head out for drinks and dinner to choose an establishment whose proprietor came to America looking for opportunity and, thankfully, chose Louisville as a place to lay roots and spread their talents? You could hit Queen of Sheba for the beautiful pairing of Kik-wot and Ethiopian plum wine, Mayan Café for the daily salbutes and the blood orange margarita or El Molcajete for shrimp tacos and a Michelada, or plan a trek through Beechmont and sample worldly bites and libations you may have never tried before. Show our immigrant community, through how you spend your dollars, that you’re here for them and will continue to support them through the enormity of these polarizing times. Have I mentioned the Sangria Swirls at Artesano? Drool.
Self-care and surrounding ourselves with positive humans can be mutually important to getting involved and taking action when we see and feel injustice. A friend shared a quote recently by The Talmud, “Do not be daunted by the enormity of the world’s grief. Do justly, now. Walk humbly, now. You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to abandon it.” We should try to carry ourselves with this notion and find a balance. My go-to when I’m feeling overwhelmed? A little vitamin D at the pool at American Turner’s Louisville, the Derby City swim and circus institution that holds the coveted monthly “Coat Check” pool parties. My partner and I scored a membership this summer, and we’ve found it’s the perfect place to relax with comrades, enjoy $2 beers (member pricing, y’all), super cheap tequila at the bar overlooking the pool and river and friendly banter amidst the regular crowd. We’re all entitled to a sunny pool day from time to time, but particularly for my activist friends, take a step back. Grab a chaise lounge. Crack open a cold one. You can’t help if you aren’t at 100 percent.
My next suggestion is going to be quite astonishing, I know, as this column is about booze, and I’m clearly a libation enthusiast always. Yet, when we’re navigating what feels like the failure of democracy, it may be a good idea to do something productive, with friends, other than going to a bar. I know, I know, especially in tough times, we all feel the desire to drown our sorrows with bourbon and rant to one another on how Sarah Sanders can possibly sleep at night. Trust me, I’m with you. But we’ve also got to stay healthy and level-headed through the sweltering heat of this summer’s apocalypse, so that we can move forward. Workout, go on walks (doggie pack walks are my jam) and share your creative outlets. I have a stellar group of friends that goes to Orange Theory Fitness in The Highlands and we all cheer each other on and hold one another accountable in our attendance and even performance, and we put our phones away for that hour of class. It’s part of my love I hold for myself and these humans. It’s part of my journey to be the best version of myself so that I have the drive and energy to unabashedly support my comrades from all walks of life. Find out how to best take care of yourself and we can all move forward, together. Cheers. •