Periodically, once a month, on a Tuesday, from 6.30-8.30, I host a little cocktail party I like to call Tipple Tuesday.
The idea is for a casual midweek gathering that doesn’t commit anyone to more than a drink and three peanuts. It’s not dinner, but an excuse to see and be seen, to gather, meet, update, and report. Two hours of civilized moderation.
Usually, I try to have a house cocktail on offer, an experimentation with some trend or culture that’s caught my fancy, and a complementary nibble (e.g. szartloka and kielbasa or gin and tonic and Indian fried veggies). Guests never know what to bring and I never know what to tell them. Lack of provisions helps to break things up when the two hour window elapses, so a meagre spread is part of the appeal. Nevertheless, a bottle of wine is never unwanted nor was the homemade sushi platter, when it appeared.
Truth be told, these things can become pretty stuffy and insular: the same people talking about the same things. Without some effort, the naval gazing can be epic.
This Tuesday’s tipple was, I think, especially successful in sidestepping this inevitable difficulty. The menu helped a lot: beer cocktails and pickled eggs.
I had two varieties of beer cocktails on offer, one light and one dark. No one had had a beer cocktail before, and no one was particularly keen to intentionally mix their beer and liquor, so everyone was in uncertain, experimental, trusting territory. Generally, the most productive and creative place to be, I’ve found.
Similarly, I’d made an effort to expand the guest list, with invitees new to this coast, this country, and/or this event. In varying proportions, there was a healthy mix of familiar faces and exotic ones. Everyone had the opportunity to be in the company of a comfortable familiar, a distant relation, and a new friend.
The other truth to be told, is that these things usually don’t break up within the specified two hour window. While this night I didn’t find myself fixing dinner for everyone as I often do, hangers-on were present well into the evening.
And that’s perhaps ideal, representing a porous community with individual schedules, responsibilities, and proclivities. How boring if everyone did everything everyone else did?