Time for One Thing: A Cosmopolitan

A cocktail recipe to soothe a mother's nerves.

Topics: Cocktails and Spirits,

sometimes a cocktail is what you really need. Even so, there is a right
way and a wrong way to have a drink, as self-satisfied TV beer advertisers
are forever cautioning us.

Among the many wrong ways is that taken by the delicately beautiful Lee
Remick, as she buckles under to the drunken, sour whining of Jack Lemmon in
1962′s Academy Award-winning “Days of Wine and Roses.” As Joe Clay, a
rising San Francisco public relations flak embittered by the hidden cost of
his job involving procuring dates for his leering clients — something he refers to as “a little matter of personal
integrity” — Lemmon
staggers loudly home after a 16-hour day and as many highballs. Singing to
their sleeping baby while waiting up for Joe is his young wife, Kirsten,
played by Remick — blonde, pure, fine boned, her face like a petal.
Shushed gently by Kirsten at the door to the nursery, Joe explodes,
attacking Kirsten for not being fun any more and for refusing to drink with
him. Who could forget Lee Remick’s anguished whisper, “You know I’m not
supposed to, on account of my milk,” while clutching her breasts through
her flowered nightie? (“You’re gonna ruin your shape!” Joe petulantly
gripes.) Later, after Joe sobs his apology into her lap, Kirsten resignedly
pours herself a drink. The next time we see Kirsten, she’s slumped in front
of the TV, watching cartoons during naptime with a glass in one hand and a
lit cigarette in the other.

But one drink needn’t lead to burning down the apartment and abandoning
your child. In fact, in some cases, one drink might prevent it.

Our nomination for the perfect warm-weather cocktail is the
Cosmopolitan. Born in San Francisco and considered a sort of grown-up’s
Kamikaze, the Cosmo is tart and cool, blush colored and easy to drink, as
its flavor is derived mostly from cranberry juice and lime. Served in a
chilled, stemmed martini glass, a Cosmopolitan sipped before dinner can
make you feel just a little more like an adult. If you can manage to sit
down with another adult while enjoying your drinks together, all the
better, but Cosmos have been known to work their not particularly subtle
magic even with “Sesame Street” blaring and full grocery bags lining the
kitchen counters as atmosphere.

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The “official” recipe for a Cosmopolitan differs depending on who you
ask. Use the recipe below, from Salon’s ever-attentive-to-maternal-needs
Surreal Gourmet, as a rule of thumb, varying amounts according to taste.
Mothers Who Drink favors a bit less lime and suggests Triple Sec as a less
expensive alternative to Cointreau. However you shake it, though, the right
glass seems a necessary part of the ritual.

The Surreal Gourmet’s Cosmopolitan

1 and 1/2 ounce vodka

1/2 ounce Cointreau

Juice of 1 lime

Splash of cranberry juice

Optional: sliced lime or orange peel for garnish

Shake all ingredients together with ice until well chilled. Strain and
pour into a martini glass. Garnish with an orange twist.

Kate Moses is the author of "Wintering: A Novel of Sylvia Plath" (St. Martin's.) She was the co-founder, with Camille Peri, of Salon's "Mothers Who Think" site, and she and Peri also co-edited the award-winning book "Mothers Who Think: Tales of Real-Life Parenting." She lives in San Francisco.

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