📖The Handmaid’s Tale: 🍸mayday

📖: Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale (1985)
🍸: mayday

Why this book?

With Halloween around the corner (and Election Day shortly after), what I’m really scared of is living in a country where people’s lives aren’t protected or represented, especially those who have been historically marginalized.

This week’s news included the Supreme Court confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett. I’m worried about what will happen to our reproductive rights and access to healthcare (and immigration and racial equity and LGBTQ+ rights and the list goes on…). Atwood’s dystopian world of Gilead has always felt bleak and foreboding, but it feels especially terrifying now. Are we already living in our own dystopia?

What makes Gilead really scary is the amount of complicity and corruption of power it takes to create such a world. The novel makes me reflect on how we, as individuals, may be (knowingly or unknowingly) complicit in upholding structural injustices and exploitation, through both our actions or inactions. How can we best resist? While that depends for each of us personally, it’s important to remember that no act of resistance is too small. It all adds up. Just like our votes in this critical election. Will you join in early voting and encourage others to do so too?

Despite these somber musings, I think it’s still important for us to find rest, comfort, and joy however we can during these tough times. While this is not a “usual” review, I still hope you’ll enjoy the pairing since many of us won’t socialize in person this Halloween (which I normally would have loved to celebrate with friends). Stay safe, and take good care of yourself!

Why this drink?

For this pairing, I chose a drink that had the same deep crimson color as the handmaid’s robes, and the name Mayday comes from the handmaids’ underground network of resisters.

This drink is the Pomegranate Blood Orange Shandy recipe by Ashley Rose Conway. For the drink I made here, I slightly tweaked the proportions — you can see my substitutions and modifications in the tweaked recipe below.


6 oz blood orange shandy beer
2 oz ginger beer
3 oz pomegranate juice
1 oz blood orange or orange juice, freshly squeezed

for garnish:
rosemary sprig

  1. combine all ingredients except the shandy beer and stir well
  2. top off with the beer
  3. serve in a chilled glass
  4. garnish with a sprig of rosemary (smack the rosemary before serving to release its oils and aroma)

Quarantine substitutions:
*The original recipe calls for wheat beer, but I used a blood orange shandy instead. As long as the beer is wheat based, it should be good.
*The original recipe calls for blood orange juice, but I used freshly squeezed regular navel orange juice instead and it turned out great.
*I changed the proportions by adding more pomegranate juice and using less beer. The original recipe called for 8 oz of beer and only 1 oz of pom juice.

Another round, please! 🥂

You might also like:
Leni Zumas’ Red Clocks (2018)

Let’s discuss!

Finished the book? What did you think about it? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!

📖Here Comes the Sun: 🍸here comes the sun

📖: Nicole Dennis-Benn’s Here Comes the Sun (2016)
🍸: here comes the sun

Why this book?

Here Comes the Sun is a novel about working class women living near Montego Bay, Jamaica, a neighborhood on the brink of being dismantled by the rise of new luxury resorts — on the “other side of paradise,” according to the author. As white developers swoop in to evict the local people, the disparities continue to widen between the wealthy and working classes.

The novel centers on four women who Dennis-Benn depicts in a lovely and nuanced way: Margot (who engages in sex work at the hotel where she works to earn extra money for her family), Thandi (Margot’s younger sister who is expected to attend medical school), Delores (their mother, who sells souvenirs by the dock), and Verdene (Margot’s partner and outcast of the town). All hold dark secrets that lead them to betray each other in some way. Throughout the story, Dennis-Benn unravels these secrets at a brilliant pace, making the novel a quick page-turner, all the while continuously complicating the readers’ impression of these characters throughout the plot.

While the novel deals with difficult issues like colorism, poverty, economic exploitation, homophobia, violence, and sexual abuse, there are beautifully quiet moments of love and recognition between some of the characters, which the author depicts with great tenderness and care. In spite of these moments of possible joy, the novel’s somber closing left me wondering if these characters will someday be able to find themselves in the light and warmth of the sun.

Why this drink?

I found a beer-based cocktail recipe that is also called “Here Comes the Sun,” from DC-based restaurant & bar Roofers Union. It’s a bright, light, and crisp drink that accompanied me through this heavy, but beautifully written story 😭. I swapped out the rye for a bourbon and replaced the wheat beer with a blood orange shandy. Recipe credits to Travis Mitchell via liquor.com.

here comes the sun

1.5 oz whiskey
3/4 oz ginger syrup*
1/2 oz lemon juice
1 oz summer shandy

*for garnish: lemon wheel

  1. combine all ingredients, except for the beer, in a shaker with ice and shake well
  2. serve in a chilled glass
  3. top with beer – add more than 1 oz if desired
  4. garnish with a lemon wheel

*how to make ginger syrup: Pour sugar and water into a pan (using a 1:1 sugar-to-water ratio) and heat the mixture on the stove until it starts to bubble. Once tiny bubbles start to appear, immediately take the boiling syrup off the stove and pour it into the into a glass jar with freshly grated ginger. Cover the jar with airtight lid until cool. Strain out the ginger after liquid cools.

quarantine substitutes:
Whiskey: the original recipe calls for rye whiskey, but I used a bourbon. Tasted great! Use whatever whiskey you like 🙂
Beer: the original recipe calls for a wheat beer, but I used a blood orange summer shandy. If you don’t have exactly these kinds of beer available, choose something light, crisp, and fruity. Yum!
No fresh ginger? You can try using ground ginger instead.

Another round, please! 🥂

You might also like:
Alexia Arthurs’s How to Love a Jamaican (2018)

Let’s discuss!

Finished the book? What did you think about it? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!

And check out these reviews to learn more about the book: