When I was making creamed nettles, I had the brilliant idea that I should write a queer-fandom food post on first date meal Carol and Therese eat in The Price of Salt (Carol): creamed spinach with a poached egg and a dry martini. I was going to make that, and then I fell in a nettle hole (not literally), and then I thought, why not make what 2017-Carol would order in Seattle: creamed nettles with an egg on top. Maybe she’d order a lavender martini. But I had the delightfully magenta San Juan Distillery Wild Rose and Lavender Liqueur in the fridge, so what started out as a martini turned into a riff on the Blue Moon and then turned into something quite its own. It’s a well balanced drink with tartness, complexity, and an unusual floral flavor.
When I wrote about nettles, I wrote about butchness and overcoming toxic masculinities by “cowboying down” (to use Ivan Coyote’s phrase). Today I want to talk about femmeness.
This cocktail is fancy, colorful, and extra, which are three words I’d use to describe my gender expression. I’m a nonbinary person who experiences gender very queerly. I’m a butchy femme and femmey butch. I describe my gender expression as “dapper androgynous femme,” like if Hannibal Lecter (as portrayed by Mads Mikkelsen) or 3rd-season Alana Bloom were genderqueer.* (This might be a variation of hard femme that I call “murder femme,” which involves a lot of brocade and burgundy lipstick with an undercut and body hair.)
Let’s back up–what is femme?
Autostraddlers write about what being femme is to them here–is it gender expression, attitude, caring for others, or a certain je ne sais quois?
I don’t associate femme with emotional labor at all, and actually, I don’t really associate femme with tenderness! I equate Femme with being able to ruin someone’s life IN A GOOD WAY if you wanted to, this bubbling-just-beneath-the-surface strength. Not that strength and tenderness are mutually exclusive, but maybe it’s that their approach feels different.
Melanie Gillman (they/them) wrote a great mini comic about being a nonbinary femme in “Nonbinary.”
Here’s a comic about the Mental Load, which is directed at women in relationships with men but certainly applies to femmes of all genders.
And here’s Hayley Kiyoko’s “Girls Like Girls,” because this hit me right in the feels (and there’s something gratifying about queer femmes smashing the patriarchy together.)
Or as a friend put it, won’t it be fun when straight people have to identify what their gender expression is, too?
Femme with a Twist
Inspired by “Blue Moon” from Food and Wine
1 oz (30 mL) dry gin**
1 3/4 oz (51 mL) lavender and wild rose liqueur**
1/2 oz (15 mL) lemon juice**
1 ice cube
Garnish: Brandied cherry, lemon twist
-Cocktail glass or stemless wine glass (or get creative)
Combine gin, liqueur, and lemon juice with ice cube into the cocktail shaker; shake and strain into glass. Garnish with lemon twist and brandied cherry.
*I think we answered the question of “who’s the dapper hard-femme psychiatrist and who’s the cozy flannel FBI inspector” a while ago but, you know.
-Increasing the lemon juice 3/4 oz will make it less sweet and more tart.
-If you don’t have this one very specific liqueur from San Juan Distillery, use lavender- or rose brandy or liqueur. It might not turn out as pink as this cocktail, though you could add some brandied cherry juice to punch it up.
-Using Old Tom gin instead of dry gin will make it slightly sweeter. I use Endeavor Gin from The Liberty Distillery.