Thanks for listening to the Christmas edition of 14/59. I promised some bonuses online and the first is what you should be drinking while listening to Christmas music: a classic Manhattan. In my family tradition this is a drink for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Here's how I make it:
2 oz bourbon (can be rye, if you prefer, I use Bulleit usually)
0.75 - 1 oz sweet vermouth
a few dashes of bitters (can use orange bitters or mixture)
shake or stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass or tumbler (I like a tumbler with a large cube of ice in it)
garnish with a cherry (and I add some juice from the container with the cherry) and, if you want, a bit of orange peel
Allow both drink and listener to mellow together.
So now that you know what's in THAT drink, let's talk about "Baby, It's Cold Outside." The song is nearly 100 years old written by Frank Loesser, who you might know from musicals such as "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying" and "Guys and Dolls." The song originated as a piece he and his wife would sing for friends at parties, it was later sold and recorded for the public. Both the song's age and its origin help shed light on recent aspersions that it is too "rape-y" because of the insinuation that there is an unknown substance in the female's drink. Context matters and, in this case, I think makes the song acceptable to enjoy. It is worth noting that many people listen to the song NOT knowing the context- so go tell it on the mountain!
So let’s talk about that drink. I’ve discussed solely looking at the lyrics of the song and its internal universe so far, but I think that the line “Say, what’s in this drink” needs to be explained in a broader context to refute the idea that he spiked her drink. “Say, what’s in this drink” is a well-used phrase that was common in movies of the time period and isn’t really used in the same manner any longer. The phrase generally referred to someone saying or doing something they thought they wouldn’t in normal circumstances; it’s a nod to the idea that alcohol is “making” them do something unusual. But the joke is almost always that there is nothing in the drink. The drink is the excuse.
But what if the writer of the song was actually a feminist? What if Frank Loesser, the famed lyricist of “Guys and Dolls” and “How to Succeed In Business Without Really Trying,” should be thought of as a progressive voice in the fight for gender equality, as a man who was ahead of his time in recognizing and calling attention to the social plight of women?