Divorce: a bitter pill too many of us must swallow at some point in our lives. When that happens, a spoonful of sugar just won’t cut it—you need a cocktail shaker and a twist of lime.
In my book The Style Guide to Divorce, my editors and I don’t recommend that you drink your way through your very own courtroom drama. Some of us have, and that’s why we don’t recommend it. I don’t want to mention any names, but one of us in particular knows the scenario all too well. Keep reading and you’ll figure it out.
We consulted with a nutritionist, and it turns out you cannot sustain your energy for more than a few days on a diet of merlot and malted milk balls. Admittedly, it’s not a complete meal until you add a Drew Barrymore movie and your bathrobe. But where is the style in that?
There will be days ahead when you feel the need to deaden your nerves—like after an expensive, all-day mediation that goes nowhere—and we think it best that your choice of sedative should have a kick and come served in a fancy glass.
We like to start things off with a punch, quite literally.
The Service of Process is a cool gin punch made with Pimm’s Cup, cucumber, mint, citrus, and ginger lemonade. As in, when life gives you lemons, or when you’re contemplating your options after discovering his affair, pour this drink into an iced tallboy. Garnish with a skewer of mandarin orange segments alternating with strawberry halves, and put your wedding ring near the top.
Some of us prefer a cocktail served in a coupe. If you have some of these pretty little things, use one to serve up the Gay Divorcée, made with light rum, rosewater, almond syrup, and a brown sugar rim. Always wondered when you were going to use that monogrammed silver service tray? How about now!
It goes without saying that during your divorce you simply must maintain the proper tools and a well-stocked bar. You don’t want to be caught in a crisis without a muddler or fresh mint. Inquire at your favorite liquor store or “packy” if they have a gift register — nothing quite says, “Thinking of you” than a twelve-year-old scotch.
If you need to pack in some vegetables with your booze, we recommend a nourishing drink like the Child Support Order (like a Bloody Mary, but with a turnip garnish, because getting an amount you can live with is no more likely than getting the proverbial you-know-what from a you-know- what) or perhaps a Settlement Conference (a shot of onion juice with Tabasco—makes you cry, leaves a bitter taste in your mouth, and you only get to drink half of it).
What to Nosh: Just because you’re drowning your sorrows doesn’t mean you should go hungry. You’ve got to eat to stay strong. First thing you do is invite over a friend who can cook. Then tell her your grand idea of making cleverly named divorce-themed appetizers. No, you don’t have any clever ideas, you were having a great time looking up recipes for split-pea fritters until you realized you didn’t have cilantro, then you called her in tears, remember? If that doesn’t work, we always keep three pounds of onion rings in the freezer, calamari if we’re feeling extravagant. Make sure you take them out of the bag before placing them in the microwave. Finally, if you’re at a total loss, focus on your vegetable content; there’s plenty of room in that glass of tomato juice for pickled asparagus or green beans.
On most ordinary days your experience of getting divorced won’t require two fingers of anything, but then again, why risk a frayed nerve from too much abstinence. Whenever you hang up the phone on a pointless negotiation over piano lessons, or when you’ve just proofread your child’s “My Family” essay, which mentions Dad’s new house on the lake, wash it all away with a cold, cheap beer. Might as well. Then picture his face as you crush the can under your foot.
Kathy McEnery is the author of The Style Guide to Divorce: Fashion, Fun & Savoir Faire
You can find her on on Facebook @StyleGuidetoDivorce