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I've been a bit focused on cocktails lately. Okay, for a while now. It's been a heck of a year you know. I've gone through some great canned cocktails, tried some amazing tequila, tasted a lot of rum recently, and I can't even tell you how much wine I've gone through. All for the sake of *ahem* research. It seems the only thing I haven't had was vodka, until now.

Photo by Crystal Head Vodka

I recently obtained a Crystal Head Vodka Pride bottle and I haven't opened it yet. If you've never heard of Crystal Head, then let me tell you! I haven't opened the bottle yet because one, it's beautiful and shiny. Two, because it literally looks like the Crystal Skulls from an ancient legend but without the mystical powers (I think). Who knows, maybe it does. I'll let you know when I finally open it.

Full disclosure, they sent me a sample but only AFTER they told me they weren't doing any marketing or advertising in my area. Which is fine, they were nice enough to send me a sample anyway. They sent me a nice packaged bottle. Inside the box was the Crystal Head Vodka itself, a vodka fan, a Made with Pride t-shirt, and some literature on their product.

LGBTQ+ Community Support

When I was reading the flyer in the box I was surprised to see that they support the LGBTQ+ community every day. Every month and year-round. They don't just tout the Pride Month support, they have ongoing programs across the country that they are involved in.

They work regularly with Stonewall Sports Program, The Test Positive Awareness Network, Kaleidoscope Trust, and Lurie Children's Hospital Transgender Youth Program. This year they have also partnered with Gay Pride Apparel which is a Mexican-American and LGBTQ+ owned brand that focuses on empowerment, pride, and authenticity for year-round pride. For every bottle of Crystal Head Vodka and Gay Pride Apparel t-shirt sold, they are donating a portion of the proceeds to the Human Rights Campaign.

All of this made me think so I did a little digging. What other brands were supporting us year-round? I found an article about 11 brands that support the LGBTQ+ community year-round, and another 12 companies that support LGBTQ+ families year-round. It's great there are so many companies now supporting our community more and more. It makes me feel better about supporting them too.

What is Crystal Head Vodka

Crystal Head Vodka is a premium vodka made from Canadian corn and owned by Dan Aykroyd and John Alexander The vodka is distilled four times and blended with water from Newfoundland then filtered through Herkimer diamond crystals. The spirits are also free of any additives such as glycerol, citrus oil, or sugar and their factory is certified kosher. Currently, you can purchase the bottles in the United States, Canada, and Europe.

You can purchase three varieties of vodka:

  1. The original vodka comes in a clear bottle and is made from Canadian Peaches and Cream sweet corn.
  2. The second vodka is called Aurora and is made from English wheat. The flavor is drier and spicier than the original and the bottle is opalescent to represent the Aurora Borealis.
  3. The third vodka is called Crystal Head Onyx and is made from blue agave from the Jalisco Mexico region. Onyx is the first agave-based vodka.

Vodka Recipes

Sugar Daddy

Photo by Crystal Head Vodka

Ingredients

  • 2 ounces Crystal Head Vodka
  • 4 ounces Fresh Grapefruit Juice
  • ½ ounces Simple Syrup
  • Muddled Raspberries
  • ½ ounces Cointreau
  • ½ ounces Fresh Lime Juice

Instructions

  1. Add ingredients into a cocktail shaker and muddle. Add ice, shake and double strain into a chilled martini glass with pink sugar rim.

Red On The Runway

Photo by Crystal Head Vodka

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ ounce Crystal Head Vodka
  • ¼ ounce Campari
  • ¼ ounce St. Germain
  • ½ ounce Tart Cranberry Juice
  • ½ ounce Fresh Lime Juice
  • ½ ounce Simple Syrup
  • Top with Soda

Instructions

  1. Combine ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a highball glass with ice. Top with soda.

Tropic Like It's Hot

Photo by Crystal Head Vodka

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ ounce Crystal Head Vodka
  • ½ ounce Campari
  • ½ ounce Apricot Liqueur
  • ½ ounce Fresh Lime Juice
  • 1 ½ ounce Fresh Pineapple Juice
  • Pinch of Salt
  • ½ ounce Simple Syrup
  • Morello Cherry

Instructions

  1. Build ingredients in a cocktail shaker and shake with ice. Strain into glass with crushed ice. Garnish with a pineapple leaf, cherry, and pineapple slice.

Pineapple In Your Pocket

Photo by Crystal Head Vodka

Ingredients

  • 2 ounces Crystal Head Vodka
  • 2 ounces Fresh Pineapple Juice
  • ½ ounce Falernum Syrup
  • ¼ ounce Lime Juice
  • 5-6 Mint Leaves, muddled

Instructions

  1. Add ingredients into a cocktail shaker, muddle, and shake on ice. Double strain into a highball glass with ice. Garnish with mint crown and dehydrated pineapple ring. Add a colourful yellow straw.

Green Drama Queen

Photo by Crystal Head Vodka

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ ounce Crystal Head Vodka
  • 4 ounce Thai Basil Lemonade

Instructions

  1. Using a blender, add lemonade and 250g Thai basil with the stems removed. Blend together for 1-2 minutes until liquid. Strain basil from the lemonade and discard. Fill a highball glass with ice and add Crystal Head Vodka and Thai basil lemonade. Garnish with a cucumber wheel.

Blued Up

Photo by Crystal Head Vodka

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ ounce Crystal Head Vodka
  • ¾ ounce St. Germain
  • ¾ ounce Blue Curacao
  • ½ ounce Lemon Juice
  • ½ ounce Pineapple Juice

Instructions

  1. Hard shake ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice. Double strain into a chilled coupe glass and garnish with a lemon peel.

Lady Lavender

Photo by Crystal Head Vodka

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ ounce Crystal Head Vodka
  • 1 ounce Fresh Lemon Juice
  • ¾ ounce Lavender Syrup
  • Muddled Blueberries
  • Top with Sparkling Wine

Instructions

  1. Muddle ingredients in a cocktail shaker and shake on ice. Double strain into a wine glass with regular ice. Top with sparkling wine and garnish with a blueberry skewer.

What's The T?

Photo by Crystal Head Vodka

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ ounce Crystal Head Vodka
  • ½ ounce Honey Simple Syrup
  • ¼ ounce Fresh Lemon Juice
  • ¼ ounce Cointreau
  • Top with Black Tea

Instructions

  1. Build ingredients in a Collins glass and stir. Garnish with lemon.

Black Magic

Photo by Crystal Head Vodka

Ingredients

  • 2 ounces Crystal Head Vodka
  • ¾ ounce Blue Curacao
  • ½ ounce Fresh Lemon Juice
  • ¾ ounce Crème de Briottet

Instructions

  1. Build ingredients in a cocktail shaker and shake with ice. Strain into a chilled Nick & Nora glass and garnish with dehydrated lemon or lime.

How to talk about transgender issues

So how do we talk about transgender issues (even if you're not transgender)? There are three main things to remember when discussing transgender issues today, so before getting into the meat and potatoes of it all, let's keep these things in mind:

  1. It is not a political discussion, it is a human rights discussion.
  2. There is a rich history rooted in transgender rights that must be considered when discussing these issues.
  3. Humanization should always be at the forefront of the conversation.

Before going into any conversation, no matter who it's with, try to keep these things in mind before you say something that may be inappropriate, misguided, or just plain wrong. Even those with the best intentions can mess up; remember that it is always ok to admit when you do not know something or when you are wrong. That being said, let's get into it.

sign with a 'friendly for all genders' image showing a person in a wheelchair, and a person with half a dress and pants on.

Transgender bathroom bills

commons.wikimedia.org

So whether you choose to become a transgender activist or if you just want to be a better ally, this easy talking point will generally keep you in line and on the safe side of conversations while still putting forth the effort to encourage and better represent transgender rights.

Easy, all-around approach: This will work for almost all transgender issues and expand on the previous three rules; firstly, trans issues are not a debate. When discussing with someone, do not indulge in hypotheticals and always remember that transgender people are the exact same as anyone else, with the exact same feelings. Keeping this in mind, let's use the bathroom bill as an example. When discussing this issue, one should humanize, de-politicize, and normalize the conversation. How does one employ this, though? Here is an example of how the conversation may go.

Person 1: I don't want men in the women's restroom, they will rape my daughters.

So this statement is clearly based on reactionary conversation perpetuated by anti-transgender ideals. This means that the person probably has a misconception of the history and oppression of transgender people. They also show concern for their family, which is a step towards humanization, despite the misconception. Here would be an appropriate response that helps to humanize, de-politicize, and normalize the conversation.

Person 2: I don't want men in the women's restroom, either, which is why we need to make sure people who identify as women are using the women's restroom. There has never been a documented case where a transgender person has raped either a man or woman in a public restroom. And by forcing people to use a restroom that does not match their gender identity, it is promoting violence, as there is a strong history of physical violence against transgender people.

By only saying about three sentences, you are able to do the previous steps while discussing the issue in a civil manner without opening it up to debate. The key to this is to keep it short and sweet, stating both the truth and an ally's stance to support the transgender community. It's critical to make sure that what you say is backed with confidence, though, which is why this second approach is more encouraged as it gives the person speaking more confidence in their opinion.

gif of a man in a suit talking about number 1. Number 1 GIF by PragerU Giphy

The second approach: backed by facts and history, is the exact same as before, but this approach leaves the other person with more questions about their stance and gives them something to consider. Before going into this approach, however, it is important to keep in mind that you are not debating the existence of trans people, nor are you trying to change someone's mind. That is not the goal; the goal is simply to get your opinion across in a way that honors both the trans community and their ideas. Let's take the same example as before but add the new sentiments.

Person 1: I don't want men in the women's restrooms, they will rape my daughters.

Person 2: There has never been a documented case of a transgender person raping anyone in a public restroom, and the only published cases of such were proven to be false. Further, when people say things like this, they are perpetuating violence against transgender people, which has historically (and still does) oppressed and insight further physical violence against them. And honestly, the most common reason there is this stance is because the person typically does not know a trans person and may not even know a person who does know a trans person. But the truth is, they probably do. The probability is more likely that the transgender people around them are just not comfortable enough in the environment to come out and speak up about their gender identity. And yes, everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but it is quite sad that some people's opinion does not invite civil discussion but instead incites violence.

This approach is more confrontational, which requires more confidence when using it in a conversation, but it still holds true to all of the previous rules and sentiments. It adds truth based on history, which is an important aspect of trans rights as it reminds people of where we were/ where we are currently with human rights. These ideas can be transferred to most all trans issues and will honor the transgender movement and your allyship. The last thing to keep in mind is the person or reason you are standing up for/with trans rights. The passion -the compassion will shine through in conversation if you keep your reasoning close to heart. Whether it is because of a transgender friend, family member, or just because of your moral values, if you put your emotions into your reasoning, it will create more compelling statements, especially if the statement is well versed with the facts.

Tips to Remember When Discussing Transgender Issues

  1. Transgender issues are not political, they are human rights issues
  2. There is a rich history behind transgender issues
  3. Humanize transgender people through our words and ideas and don't forget to include:
    • 3(b). The facts
    • 3(c).The confidence
    • 3(d). The inspiration behind the support for transgender rights

10 LGBTQ+ Movies on Amazon Prime You Need to Watch

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Photo courtesy of Amazon Prime

LGBTQ+ Movies on Amazon Prime


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