I was in Japan last week, and after dinner on my first night, a marketing exec from one of the country’s biggest beer producers shortened his steps to walk beside me. We’d been talking about politics at the table—mostly about America’s nonstop shitshow—and he had a few additional questions that didn’t start with “So how did that happen?”
“You have a bartender in Congress now?” he asked, and in my jetlagged highball haze, it took me a second to realize who he meant. He showed me a Google-imaged picture of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on his phone and asked what everyone thought of her.
Although the 29-year-old Ocasio-Cortez is proud of her service industry-past—as she should be—calling her a ‘bartender’ is still a reductionist way of describing her. (My new Japanese acquaintance, a former bartender himself, spoke the b-word appreciatively.) Her critics like to tell her to “Go back to bartending,” which is offensive on a number of levels, especially since they weren’t shouting at a novice presidential candidate to “Go back to mail-order steaks.”
ANYWAY, everyone who’s told her to get back behind the bar is about to get their wish, if only for one night, for a good cause. “I’ll be bartending in NY-14 this week to promote a national living wage,” she tweeted. “So there you have it, ya bunch of milk drinkers. Let’s see if my margarita+mocktail game is still on point.”
“What is your favorite Campari cocktail, AOC?” writer Luke O'Neil asked. “A Garibaldi/Garibaldi spritz is an underrated brunch cocktail,” she responded. “For those reading: it’s a Campari & OJ. Pull back on the Campari so it’s not too ‘woof.’ For the spritz, add prosecco or sparkling water, depending on how forward you want it.”
That’s a bold choice, especially since the New York Times recently and controversially cancelled its semi-related Campari label-mate, the Aperol Spritz, and also because the correct answer is a Negroni. The Garibaldi is the signature drink at Dante in New York’s Greenwich Village, and according to the bar’s beverage director, what would actually make it ‘too woof’ is sub-par orange juice.
Naren Young told the World’s Best Bars that Dante “perfected” the Garibaldi, in part because it uses fresh-squeezed Navel OJ which is then put through a Breville juicer to give it a “fluffiness” in the glass. (On top of high-quality juice, I’ll assume that AOC makes her Garibaldi Spritz with better-than-average Prosecco, to avoid some of the criticism that just garnished the glasses filled with that other Spritz).
“At the event I will also unveil my newest platform policy: Abolish Sour Mix 2020,” Ocasio-Cortez later tweeted, adding “Use real citrus juice for your sours, people! You deserve so much better than what you’re settling for.” That’s something we can get behind: I’d honestly rather have a margarita made with vape juice before I’d drink store-bought sour mix.
That also makes up for that whole Garibaldi-over-Negroni thing. We have a hunch that AOC’s fans will forgive her.