By living and teaching abroad in Doha, Qatar, for fourteen years, our friends have become our family. So when the COVID-19 pandemic shut down our schools and workplaces in March 2020, our usual source of comfort and camaraderie was shut down too. Our tightly knit group of friends includes parents with young children, and couples in their 50s and 60s. Even though we lived down the street from each other—some of us even next door!—we knew we couldn’t get together in person so that we could keep each other safe. But being stuck in our houses for weeks and then months, as we made the decision not to travel back “home” for the summer as we would normally do, meant that we felt cut off not only from our family at home but also from our community abroad. So our group of friends turned to Zoom, getting together for online games nights and group hangout sessions. One of our friends had the brilliant idea of all of us watching Lynnette Marrero and Ryan Chetiyawardana’s Mixology Masterclass and making the cocktails together (over Zoom) once a week. And this is how the Wednesday Night Cocktail Club was born!
Every week, we would sit in our individual homes and Zoom together to make that class’s cocktails. Our screenshots of our virtual toasts are treasured mementos of these weekly experiences! Even once the Masterclass sessions were completed, we continued to get together for weekly cocktail nights on Zoom. Each week, another friend or couple became the mixologist—finding (sometimes even creating!) a new cocktail, sending around the recipe, and leading the rest of us through the making of it. Because of Lynnette and Ryan’s encouraging teaching style and insightful expertise, we were knowledgeable and adventurous. We made shrubs! We made tea infusions! We slapped mint to express the oils, carved citrus twists to adorn the sides of our glassware, muddled cucumber and berries, and experimented with salt and sugar rims. These weekly get-togethers helped lift our pain and fear and uncertainty during a very difficult time. We connected with each other over cocktails and bolstered each other’s spirits (ha!).
Now all of our friends in Wednesday Night Cocktail Club are fully vaccinated, and we are blessed to live in a larger community with a 90% vaccination rate. In the fall of 2021, we were finally able to get together in person every Wednesday to continue our cocktail nights together. The self-imposed isolation has made it such a joy to make a cocktail for each other “in real life”! Wednesday Night Cocktail Club has expanded our comfort with cocktails—and deepened our friendships with each other. Now that’s something to cheer for!