Earlier this year, I had friends over for a mid-afternoon party in honor of a pal who'd recently gotten a new job. The dining room table was crowded with a crazy array of food people had contributed to the potluck lunch. Edith Piaf's Greatest Hits were on the stereo.
Drink-wise, the festivities started out classy, with Martinis and a batch of subtle and delicious cocktails that featured brandy and homemade grenadine, courtesy of my friend Kam, then went rapidly and precipitously downhill when I dug out a bottle of Watermelon Pucker from the back of my bar and dared anyone brave enough to take a swig. (The verdict: liquid Jolly Ranchers mixed with general perplexedness at the existence of said bottle in my possession the first place. Let's not talk about it.)
We ate and drank and listened to "Padam" and "C'est Toi" and talked and gossiped and laughed. It was a simple and unfancy and utterly delightful afternoon, and it was roughly a million times better than just wishing Geri well at her new gig via Facebook.
Our highly connected modern lives are amazing—I love being able to stay in touch with friends across the country and around the world with a few clicks—but would I rather be able to catch up with my people over drinks in my living room than through email or texts or social media? Yes. Yes. A thousand times yes.
At their best, cocktails bring people together, and, at the risk of going all manifesto-y on you, I gotta say that I'm pretty sure that's what we need more of right now. (Cue that Carpenters song.) You can of course enjoy that togetherness at a bar, but there's also so much to be said for inviting the people you dig into your home.
I started In Our Cups to indulge two of my great loves: seeking out amazing vintage cocktail ware, and then letting that cocktail ware inspire me to have people over. Sometimes I get all fancy, with carefully chosen drinks and themed appetizer spreads, and sometimes—well, sometimes I force Watermelon Pucker on my friends when they least expect it.
But the point isn't the fanciness, or the lack thereof: it's the people, and the music, and the laughter, and the gossip. It's the temporary setting aside of phones and talking face-to-face, no software required.
Raise a glass with me, won't you? Raise a glass to opening your home, welcoming your friends, and being together. There's nothing else quite like it.