Photo by Emily Andreeva on Unsplash

Punch up your at-home TGIF game with these 12 craft cocktail recipes, including new-release liquors and wines, and artisan mixers, that’ll have you and your guests giving your favorite bar some stay-at-home competition, until you can venture out and support them again.

1. The Wall Street

Created by BLISS/ReBAR

1 1/2 ounces rye whiskey

1/4 ounce Sweet Vermouth

4 shakes of walnut bitters

Muddled blackberry

1 drop smoked tobacco elixir

Garnish with orange peel (zest), a small rosemary stem and a maraschino cherry (optional). Pour over ice and served in a tumbler.

2. Winter in Pear-is

Created by 5Church Atlanta

1 1/2 ounces vodka

1 ounce allspice simple syrup

3/4 ounce St. George Spiced Pear liqueur

3/4 ounce lemon juice

4 dashes Angostura bitters

Shake, strain, and serve in a martini glass. Garnish with a pear slice.

3. Hot Rocket

4 ounces Rocket vodka

8 ounces apple cider or unfiltered juice

1 teaspoon maple syrup

2 sprigs fresh rosemary

Add vodka to hot cider or unfiltered juice. Stir in teaspoon of maple syrup. Garnish with rosemary sprigs.

4. Frozen Persimmon Margarita

From The Wildcrafted Cocktail by Ellen Zachos

2 ounces smooth persimmon purée

1 1/2 ounces reposado tequila

1/2 ounce Cointreau

1/2 ounce fresh lime juice

1 tablespoon simple syrup

1 cup ice cubes

1 lime wedge, for garnish

Combine the persimmon purée, tequila, Cointreau, lime juice, simple syrup, and ice cubes in a blender. Blend until the texture is thick and smooth. Pour and enjoy.

5. Ode to Whisky [Sour]

Created by NYC mixologist Andrey Kalinin

2 ounces Laphroaig Select Scotch Whisky

3/4 ounce lemon juice

3/4 ounce heather honey syrup

3 dashes cardamom bitters

1 egg white

Fresh cardamom

Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker. Dry shake (if using egg white). Add ice and shake vigorously. Pour into a coupe or martini glass, served up. Garnish with cardamom flakes.

6. Holiday Road Punch

15 ounce pomegranate green tea liqueur with Everclear (recipe at makeityourown.com)

5 ounces vodka

5 ounces white rum

10 ounces lime juice

10 ounces champagne

Combine all ingredients except champagne in a pitcher or punch bowl. Mix and chill in refrigerator eight hours or more (overnight works best). Just before serving, add chilled champagne and stir carefully. Add ice, along with 10 lime wheels. Serve in punch glasses, ice optional. Garnish with lime wheel.

7. Chocolate Martini

Created by Mastro’s Steakhouse NYC

1 1/2 ounces Three Olives Cake vodka

1 1/2 ounces Godiva White Chocolate liqueur

1 1/2 ounces Chopin Dorda Double Chocolate liqueur

Splash of whipped cream

Chocolate-covered strawberry for garnish

Build ingredients in a shaker with ice, shake vigorously, and strain into martini glass. Garnish with chocolate-covered strawberry.

8. Autumnal Rum

Created by The Honeywell in West Harlem NYC

3 slices Fuji apples

2 ounces Plantation 3 Stars rum

1/2 ounce lime juice

1 ounce simple syrup

1/4 ounce Suze Gentian liqueur

Cinnamon sugar:

Muddle three slices of apples in a shaker. Put remaining ingredients into shaker in this order: Lime juice, simple syrup, Suze Gentian liqueur, Plantation 3 Stars rum. Shake and strain into martini glass. Dip apple slices into agave then dip into cinnamon sugar. Garnish with cinnamon sugar apples.

9. Matcha Hot Chocolate

1 1/2 ounces Baileys Original

1 1/2 teaspoons matcha powder

1/2 cup hot soy milk

1 ounce white chocolate chips

In a saucepan, combine Baileys Original, match powder, hot soy milk, and white chocolate chips. Pour into a copper mug. Top with whipped cream and a tall skewer of pink mochi balls painted with glittery luster dust.

10. Jingle Juice

1 1/2 ounces Port Cask Finished Virginia-Highland Whisky

1 ounce cranberry sage simple syrup*

1/2 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice

1/2 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice

1/2 ounce Cointreau

Fresh red cranberries

Orange bitters

Combine first five ingredients into shaker with ice. Shake vigorously until shaker is completely frosted. Pour into a sugar-rimmed glass and top with two dashes of orange bitters. Stir and garnish with red cranberries.

*Recipe for cranberry sage simple syrup:

1 cup water

1 cup sugar

1 cup fresh whole red cranberries

4 cinnamon sticks

10 fresh sage leaves.

Combine water and sugar in medium saucepan. Reduce over medium heat. Add cranberries, cinnamon sticks and sage leaves. Bring ingredients to a boil, then remove from heat and let steep for 20 minutes. Muddle then strain syrup. Store refrigerated for up to two weeks. Yields 1 1/4 cups.

11. Frísco Hot Toddy

2 ounces Frísco

1 teaspoons honey

1 teaspoons lemon juice

4 ounces hot water

Combine ingredients in your favorite mug. Stir until honey is dissolved. Get cozy.

12. Countdown to Cuvée

4 ounces Barefoot Bubbly Brut Cuvée

1/2 ounce honey-flavored whisky liqueur

Lemon peel

Sugar

Cut a long and wide strip of lemon peel. Dip both sides of the lemon peel into sugar. Place sugared lemon peel inside champagne flute, circling the inside rim.

Pour chilled honey whisky liqueur and Bubbly Brut Cuvée into the flute through the center of the sugared lemon peel.

Photo courtesy of KimChi Chic Beauty

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Mjolnir

Like many of the recent Marvel Cinematic Universe films, LGBTQ+ fans awaited the release of Thor: Love and Thunder in open anticipation of the inclusivity that both Marvel and Disney had promised. However, the fans were only setting themselves up for disappointment when the film was finally released.

Despite passionate assurances from studio heads to key actors, Thor: Love and Thunder was NOT spectacularly gay. It wasn’t even that good…

Premiere Night Promises

A bolt of lightning cuts across a rainbow on a dark and stormy night.

Lightning bold across the sky

Photo by Bill D.

Standing on the red carpet at the London Premiere of the film, director and actor Taika Waititi and fellow cast members Natalie Portman and Tessa Thompson were offered up the inevitable question: “How gay is the film?

Amidst some laughter from the crowds, Waititi gestured towards Portman to respond. The actress (who plays Thor’s love interest, Jane Foster, throughout the franchise) raised the microphone to her lips and thought for a moment, before delivering a quiet yet fateful: “So gay!

Barely a moment had passed before the gathered fans went wild and Taika Waititi gave his own verdict: “Super gay!”. Tessa Thompson made no statement on the ‘gayness’ of the film, instead opting to swing her microphone around suggestively. As more cheers erupted, a second round of “super gay” slipped out of Waititi’s mouth, before he urged the fans to enjoy the film.

Thor: Love and Thunder’s LGBTQ+ Potential

Thor’s movie-goers were definitely hyped up for a gay extravaganza and they had a specific character in mind. The fan-favorite Valkyrie, played by Tessa Thompson, stumbled her way into the MCU during Thor’s third film, Ragnarok. The Asgardian warrior won many people over with her wit, sarcasm, and pure badassery.

After the events of Avengers: Endgame *spoilers*, Thor Odinson gives up his claim to the throne of Asgard and names Valkyrie as king in his stead. This left many fans excited to see what would become of the character, especially after certain revelations were made at the 2019 San Diego Comic-Con:

“As a new king, she has to find her queen. So that’ll be her first order of business.”

With these words, Tessa Thompson threw her LGBTQ+ fans into a frenzy, with heavy expectations for the then-upcoming fourth installment of the Thor films. Indeed, in an interview with the LA Times, shortly before the film's release, Tessa Thompson was asked to comment on the sexuality of her character. She responded with several promising remarks, including “there’s a lot of folks that are righteously very hungry for that representation to exist in these movies, as am I”.

*Warning: spoilers ahead!*

So, How Gay Was Thor 4?

To put it simply: not gay at all. Not only did Valkyrie end up without a fabulous new queen, her non-heteronormative sexuality only got the barest mention (a brief line about a previous, now dead, girlfriend). Valkyrie may have made bedroom eyes at some pretty ladies before an action scene spoils the moment, but that’s about as much as we get.

The film does get some credit for introducing a trans character in a minor yet significant role. Thor returns to his people (after a brief stint as a Guardian of the Galaxy) only to find out that the daughter of one of his closest (and deceased) friends is now a boy. The issue is, whether due to personal prejudice or some alien inability to grasp the concept of being transgender, it does take Thor a frustrating few moments to come to terms with the change. And to stop deadnaming.

In fact, the only concession to the queer community was Taika Waititi’s extraterrestrial character Korg finding a husband in one of the closing scenes. This heartfelt moment was somewhat underscored by the revelation that Korg’s entire species is male, meaning he had no other choice but to be ‘gay’.

This Is Not Marvel’s First Queerbaiting Attempt

Close up of an eye reflecting an unknown scene as a rainbow crosses the image.

Photo by Harry Q.

This is, by far, not the first time that LGBTQ+ fans have been sorely disappointed by the workings of Marvel and Disney. In fact, people across many social media platforms have been chiding expectant viewers for once again falling for classic queerbaiting tactics. “Being queerbaited by the MCU is like being a golden retriever with a human who always pretends to throw the ball”, one Tumblr user declared.

Captain Marvel, starring Brie Larson, was the perfect moment for the MCU to introduce its first lesbian lead. Larson’s character seemed to have an intense relationship with another woman, going so far as to help raise her child (before Larson’s Carol Danvers disappeared from Earth for 6 years). Despite leaning into several romantic tropes, the status of their relationship was never fully fleshed out. However, it was also the franchise’s first female-led superhero movie, so maybe they thought that introducing her as a lesbian would make the film too awesome.

The heavily anticipated Avengers: Endgame was also slated to introduce the MCU’s ‘first gay character'. While many fans were excited, particularly as this would be the second of Larson’s appearances on screen, the big gay build-up was a massive letdown. The film’s director Joe Russo made a cameo as a blip survivor mourning the loss of his husband. A five-second throw-away scene that had no impact on the outcome of the film. Big whoop...

Even when we did see a film with a gay lead, The Eternals, there were also ten other straight leads. At that point, it just seemed more like basic probability than an attempt at pushing LGBT+ superheroes into the spotlight.

Why Can’t Disney Let Marvel Be Gay?

The big problem with allowing a few characters to be anything other than cishet is that there are still many countries in the world that outlaw homosexuality. As much as we like to think that the MCU is being made for comic book fans, we all know the purpose of the films is to make money for Disney. And without certain markets in Asia and the Middle East, Disney wouldn’t be raking in up to (and over) one billion dollars per theatrical release.

Is There Any Hope For LGBTQ+ Fans In The MCU’s Future?

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, the second in the much-loved Black Panther arc, will be released in cinemas this November. The studio has confirmed that the film will contain a queer character. Actress Michaela Coel will play Aneka, a warrior, and trainer of the king’s guard. Whether or not her diversity will stand out in the film (let alone endure for more than a 10-second scene that can be easily cut) remains to be seen.


Next year’s The Marvels film, starring Brie Larson, Iman Vellani, and Lashana Lynch may offer the MCU a chance to redeem itself in the eyes of its LGBT+ fans. The studios may feel it’s finally time to offer us the heartwarming lesbian relationship between Larson’s Carol Danvers and Lynch’s Maria Rambeau that seemed to be teased in the first Captain Marvel. Don’t raise your hopes too high, though, as you may yet end up as a stubborn golden retriever waiting for a cinematic universe to finally throw that rainbow ball.