Welcome to Buy You a Drink, where GOOD’s resident mixologist selects the libations to pair with each week’s newsmakers. This week: cocktails perfumed by the sweet smell of schadenfreude.
The past 10 days of media scandal have provided me the rare and exciting opportunity to define the boundaries of my personal moral code. As it turns out, I’m fundamentally opposed to dancing on the graves of the recently deceased—even if the deceased were scum-sucking bottom feeders like Andrew Breitbart and you swear the grave-dancing is an homage to scum-suckery itself. But when it comes to living assholes, I’m all in favor of a little schadenfreude. And if the health of Rush Limbaugh’s radio program really is in jeopardy, then pardon me while I lace up my dancing shoes.
Don’t get me wrong— I try to be a generous person who always sees the best in others. But I make an exception for social toxins who make their careers out of loudly refusing to see the best in anyone . If the advertiser exodus over Limbaugh’s bullying of Sandra Fluke continues, I won’t feel guilty about mixing a cocktail and pulling up a seat.
And I do expect it to continue, unless Rush sincerely retracts his appalling remarks suggesting that the 99 percent of American women who have used birth control are “sluts” and “prostitutes.” It’s a rare pleasure to see the gears of capitalism turning to discourage someone from being such an asshole. I can’t wait for Rush to abandon his free-market dogmatism just long enough to wail that he’s the victim of some kind of conspiracy instigated by the Liberal Media. It’s also fun to imagine women stopping Rush on the street to explain how birth control pills work (“wait – so it’s not like Viagra? You take the same number of pills no matter how often you have sex?”), or simply hurling rotten fruit at him from across the public square.
Of course, nothing livens up a long day of laughter at the misery of others like a stiff drink.
The Call: Gaseous Wines for a Gasbag
Now that our New Year’s hangovers and resolutions have dissolved, perhaps it’s time to bring Champagne back into our lives. After all, the freude in schadenfreude means “joy,” and no alcohol is more closely associated with joyful celebrations than our old pal champers. To amplify the joy of watching a bigoted broadcasting legend crash and burn, I started with a classic that I often enjoy with a weekend hangover brunch.
Death in the Afternoon
¼- ½ oz. absinthe or pastis (pretty much anything works, but St. George Absinthe is divine)
Champagne or sparkling wine, chilled
Pour absinthe into a chilled flute. Top with bubbly.
Good absinthe is bracing, but rich and luxurious, too. It will both round out the flavors of sparkling wine and anchor them to the earth like a system of roots. Mixing up a Death in the Afternoon signals that you’re celebrating the scorn heaped on Rush while standing with the very grounded Sandra Fluke. Ms. Fluke could not have expected this ordeal when she went to Capitol Hill, yet she has remained calm and professional throughout. While we’re all drinking, let’s raise a glass to her.
But what if you want something a little more intense? Maybe you’re still amazed that Rush’s career wasn’t crushed by the revelation of his pharmaceutical predilection, and the monumental hypocrisy it exposed. Perhaps you’d like to celebrate his overdue tribulations by taking your booze with the dedication Rush applied to his oxycontin habit. For you, I present a DitA variant I named for the personification of schadenfreude, Simpsons legend Nelson “Ha Ha!” Muntz:
The Nelson Muntz
½ - ¾ oz. Lemon Hart 151 rum
¼ oz. cherry brandy (I used Detting Reserve)
¼ oz. absinthe or pastis (I used 100 proof Herbsaint)
¼ oz. Cointreau
¼ tsp. powdered sugar
Squeeze lemon juice
Champagne or sparkling wine, chilled
Add all ingredients except bubbly to a cocktail shaker with a few ice cubes and shake briskly, for just long enough to dissolve the sugar. Strain into a chilled champagne flute. Top with bubbly.
The Nelson Muntz is a kitchen-sink kind of drink, packing enough hooch to leave lighter drinkers in no shape to mock anyone’s misfortune but their own. I can personally vouch for the importance of proceeding with caution. After just a couple Muntzes, I started to hallucinate an army of semi-literate misogynists parroting Rush’s paleolithic stance on contraception.
Wait—those dudes were real? Maybe it’s not time to pop the bubbly just yet.
My favorite sponsor withdrawal to date: the Cleveland Cavaliers, who pulled ads from their own flagship station, just to distance themselves from Rush. Send your favorite, or your ideas for a future column, to email@example.com.