Elizabeth and I host Happy Hour on Man Repeller’s Instagram Stories every Friday at 4 p.m., and doing so has helped our relationship in ways we didn’t know it would. Below are our thoughts on working together and how it’s brought us together—and of course some cocktail recipes for you to make at home.
Elizabeth: We’ve been confined to our studio apartment with our dog-baby Bow day after day since mid-March—I am no longer going into an office, and the bar Mikey bartends at closed because of the pandemic. Mikey’s never seen me in meetings with my coworkers or constituents, nor has he ever witnessed me in a “market hole” while compiling shopping for a story. I’ve never really seen him writing during the day and making cocktails at night. So here we are, seeing a side of one another we never really knew in the five and a half years we’ve been together.
Mikey: Liz is super focused and analytical. I’m more comfortable with winging it and taking things as they come, which is reflected in the cocktails I make during the happy hour series. I’m always aware that people may lack certain ingredients, and in my ideal world, cocktails would be way less about snobbery and more about just having delicious adult beverages. I make sure to suggest alternatives to specific ingredients throughout the videos. Our characteristics balance each other when filming, which I believe is a very important part of a relationship.
Elizabeth: We always had staples in our home bar—many of which we get DMs about how to use—but, as quarantine progresses, so does our bar. Pre-quarantine it was pretty small: I honestly never really drink (maybe once every few weeks), and Mikey was used to bartending at work, not at home. These days, our bar cart is packed with the spirits that Mikey is used to working with at his bar so he can make a good range of cocktails (and come up with some originals) for our videos. He’s always finding ways to suggest substitute ingredients for viewers who don’t have everything that a full stocked bar has.
Mikey: Speaking of working at bars, I always loathed the cocktail snobs, like the people who could tell the difference between an aged barrel versus oak aftertones. One time I took a mandatory sommelier course at a bar I worked at and a guest had the audacity to reference leather and soil as it related to the specific wine.
Elizabeth: We prefer to keep Happy Hour chill, and Mikey is the main source of that, because in reality, preparation for Happy Hour is actually quite intense! We start talking about what cocktails he’s going to make early in the week. When it’s time to go get materials, we go on the haul together (we love to go to the supermarket with each other). I coordinate with brands who we sometimes feature on the series, the sort of “market” work I’m used to for photoshoots. Day of, during set-up, I’m uptight and anxious and clumsy with the ingredients and materials. Mikey preps without any difficulty, and during filming, he’s his usual humorous, relaxed, and creative self.
While I can’t keep track of which spirits are what or properly list the recipe to our viewers (I’ve never been able to perform!), Mikey speaks with ease as he bartends. We’ve gotten so fast now that we’ve honed in on our individual strengths, and while there are frustrations of course, I genuinely look forward to working with him. He’s so talented and I’m proud to have him be part of my workplace. Happy Hour is fun, sure—it’s Happy Hour! But it also is such a representation of our relationship, our balance as a couple.
Mikey: Fixing these cocktails up each week helps me recreate the social parts of the industry that I miss. Hanging out with friends and coworkers, meeting new people, letting them in on some tips and tricks I’ve learned and just paying forward the skills the great bartenders I’ve worked with taught me. And of course, hanging with Liz. At the end of the day, I hope that you guys enjoy our series and get ideas to spruce up your next Zoom happy hour or make something for a special occasion.
On that note, below are three cocktails I’ve made for the segment. Cheers!
1. The Spicy Sandia
Make your watermelon juice by blending watermelon in a blender and then straining the juice from the pulp. Fill a glass with ice cubes + frozen watermelon cubes. Add watermelon juice, lime juice, triple sec or Cointreau, Ancho Reyes and/or jalapeno slices, and tequila. Rub lime juice on the rim of your glass and add Tajín to it.
2. The Cucumber East River
Peel the cucumber, reserving part of its peel for a ribbon garnish. Juice a cucumber or blend it in a blender and then strain the juice from the pulp. Mix the cucumber juice and sugar and warm it up over the stove or in the microwave and shake in a jar to ensure it’s mixed. Fill a Mason jar with ice. Add cucumber and sugar solution, plus lime juice, cucumber syrup, and rum or other clear spirit. Shake and top off with Champagne or club soda and a cucumber ribbon.
3. The Matcha Cosmo Wake Up
Fill a mason jar or shaker with ice. Add lemon juice, triple sec or Cointreau, and vodka, topping off with matcha. Shake and strain through a fine mesh strainer into another glass.
Photography by Beth Sacca.