Everyone wants to go to a bar with Rosie Schaap. And not just because she can shake up a mean cocktail — you'd expect no less from the "Drink" columnist for The New York Times Magazine — but because a bar is the ideal setting for her insightful and endlessly funny stories. For those of us who can't make it to closing time with Rosie, however, Drinking With Men, her new collection of essays, is the next best thing. (Read NPR's review, and an excerpt from the book, here).
Schaap sits down with Ask Me Another host Ophira Eisenberg to explain the particular appeal of a great bar. Good drinks, a cozy atmosphere and rhythmic sounds are a given, but above all, Schaap says, it's about the people. "I don't care how great a cocktail is made at a bar," she says. "If people aren't talking to each other, it's no fun." So we thought it appropriate to invite one of Schaap's regulars from her neighborhood bar to play her in an Ask Me Another Challenge called "What Are You Drinking?" This game imagines which famous cocktails might be the chosen concoction for various celebrities and fictional characters.
Rosie also created a cocktail just for Ask Me Another. With parts Canadian for Ophira and parts Brooklyn for Jonathan Coulton, we named it after this week's grand prize winner. So enjoy yourself a Dory Green — responsibly — while reading Drinking With Men and playing a puzzle or two.
About Rosie Schaap
Rosie Schaap has been a bartender, a fortuneteller, a librarian at a paranormal society, an English teacher, an editor, a preacher, a community organizer, and a manager of homeless shelters. A contributor to This American Life and npr.org, she writes the monthly "Drink" column for The New York Times Magazine. Her memoir, Drinking With Men, has just been published by Riverhead Books.
In the video below, watch Rosie Schaap mix up some literary cocktails with Studio 360's Kurt Andersen.
This segment originally aired on February 1, 2013.
OPHIRA EISENBERG, HOST:
Welcome back to ASK ME ANOTHER.
EISENBERG: NPR's hour of trivia, word games and puzzles. I'm your host Ophira Eisenberg, and joining me is Rosie Schaap.
ROSIE SCHAAP: Thank you.
EISENBERG: Rosie writes the drink column for the New York Times magazine and is author of the new memoir, the title says it all "Drinking with Men."
JOHN CHANESKI: Sweet.
EISENBERG: Welcome to ASK ME ANOTHER, Rosie.
SCHAAP: Thank you, Ophira.
EISENBERG: What do you think goes into - like what are the characteristics of the best bar?
SCHAAP: Well, I'm going to start by saying what I don't like.
EISENBERG: Okay, good.
SCHAAP: And I don't care how great a cocktail is made at a bar, if people aren't talking to each other, it's no fun.
SCHAAP: So a bar where people really engage with each other, a bar where you make friends, where, you know, I could go back to "Cheers," where everybody knows you.
SCHAAP: Where you know everybody, where you get a lot of free drinks.
SCHAAP: That's always nice.
EISENBERG: So, okay, so that - but that has to be a certain kind of structure.
EISENBERG: So I'm already thinking, you know, like are you drawn to dive bars?
SCHAAP: I love a good dive. But I feel like, you know a certain kind of dive bar is also just a neighborhood bar, and I think that's what I love most is your corner bar that you can rely on. And, you know, if you know you have a FedEx package coming and you're not going to be at home, you can have them send it to the bar.
SCHAAP: That's what I want in a bar.
EISENBERG: So really, you just make the bartender your doorman, let's just say.
SCHAAP: Exactly. Exactly.
EISENBERG: A place that I can store some of my stuff...
EISENBERG: ...is what I'm trying to say. Now, you are a successful author of a new memoir, but you've done a billion things. Fortune teller, librarian...
EISENBERG: ...at a paranormal society.
EISENBERG: English teacher.
SCHAAP: So I should be able to know all the answers in the quiz just by...
EISENBERG: Well, do you still do fortune telling?
SCHAAP: I dabble a little bit. And I've actually done a little tasseomancy, so I was all over that.
EISENBERG: Oh you...
SCHAAP: Yeah, but not with the wine dregs. I'm going to try that though. Yeah.
EISENBERG: I like that we've inspired you.
SCHAAP: You have. I'm so inspired.
EISENBERG: So I know a story from your book that I loved, about you doing some tarot card reading sort of as an underage bar attendant.
SCHAAP: That's such a nice way of putting it. Thank you.
SCHAAP: Nobody is getting in trouble here.
SCHAAP: Yeah, I started reading cards for myself and then for friends in high school. And then I sort of had this weird little racket going. I lived in the suburbs in Connecticut and I would come into Manhattan, like any self-respecting New York raised kid, to see my psychoanalyst.
SCHAAP: And I discovered the bar car, and I figured out that I could trade tarot card readings for beers.
SCHAAP: It was really fun until it went horribly wrong.
EISENBERG: Oh, it always does somehow, right.
SCHAAP: It always does.
EISENBERG: It always does.
EISENBERG: And you create custom cocktails, as you have done for us.
SCHAAP: I do. Yes.
EISENBERG: We have the Pour Me Another.
SCHAAP: The Pour Me Another. I'm going to take a sip.
EISENBERG: Yes, please take a sip.
SCHAAP: It's very good.
EISENBERG: What is in a Pour Me Another?
SCHAAP: Well, it's a variation on a Manhattan. But I was thinking about you.
EISENBERG: Oh, why, thank you.
SCHAAP: You're welcome.
EISENBERG: As only you do, I suppose.
SCHAAP: No. Everybody is thinking about Ophira, right
SCHAAP: Yes. But I was also thinking of Jonathan.
SCHAAP: So I wanted to do this Canada meets Brooklyn variation on a Manhattan.
EISENBERG: Oh, sweet...
EISENBERG: ...and sort of sassy at the same time.
SCHAAP: Yeah, so Canadian...
EISENBERG: Nasty and polite.
Yes. Exactly. You can all leave now.
SCHAAP: So Canadian Rye, specifically Canadian maple syrup - American syrup wouldn't do for this particular cocktail.
EISENBERG: Not the same.
SCHAAP: Not the same. But Brooklyn made bitters and seltzer, and of course, vermouth.
SCHAAP: That doesn't come from Brooklyn or Canada, so we're not going to...
EISENBERG: You know about drinks for every occasion. I have a couple occasions in my life that I'd like you to recommend a drink...
SCHAAP: Oh good. Oh, yeah, yeah.
EISENBERG: ...for me. After being stood up.
SCHAAP: Wow. Well, I have two answers. One, if you know a drink that that person really hates, I'd go with that.
EISENBERG: That's brilliant.
SCHAAP: Yeah. That's the first thing.
SCHAAP: And if you're not already at a point in your relationship where you know that, have a martini. It takes care of everything.
EISENBERG: Okay. What's a good drink to do a crossword with?
SCHAAP: You know, usually when I'm doing a crossword on a Sunday afternoon, I'm drinking a Guinness.
EISENBERG: Iron for the brain.
EISENBERG: Yeah, yeah, yeah, that's good.
SCHAAP: That's right.
EISENBERG: Okay. Do you ever play pub trivia?
SCHAAP: It's been a long time, and there's kind of a funny family story. Because years ago, I used to regularly play bar trivia at a little bar in the East Village called the Fish Bar. And at a certain point, my team enlisted another Schaap, the most know-it-all Schaap of the bunch, my cousin Phil. He's a jazz deejay.
EISENBERG: Oh, boy.
SCHAAP: We brought Phil in, and we won week after week after week. And finally, the bar owner took me aside and was like, listen, either Phil goes or your whole team goes.
SCHAAP: So we stepped out.
EISENBERG: Right, no one likes a winner.
SCHAAP: No one likes a winner.
EISENBERG: No one likes a winner.
EISENBERG: You were like out.
SCHAAP: Exactly. So it's been a while. That kind of - you know, that was kind of the end. We had a great run at the Fish Bar, but we couldn't just dump Phil because he was so good.
No, you're a family.
That didn't seem - of course.
EISENBERG: Yeah, that doesn't make any sense.
SCHAAP: That's right.
EISENBERG: All right, well Phil's not here.
SCHAAP: Phil's not here.
EISENBERG: But let me ask you, Rosie Schaap, are you ready to take the puzzle hot seat in an ASK ME ANOTHER challenge?
SCHAAP: I think I am.
EISENBERG: Yes, you are.
EISENBERG: All right, then let's get to it. How about a hand for Rosie Schaap?
SCHAAP: Thank you.
EISENBERG: And joining me onstage, we have our puzzle guru, John Chaneski.
CHANESKI: Hello, hi, Rosie Schaap. Hi.
EISENBERG: And once again, our one-man house band, Jonathan Coulton.
JONATHAN COULTON: Hello.
EISENBERG: Now, Rosie, we found someone to play against you. We pulled a regular from the bar where you bartend.
SCHAAP: He looks familiar.
EISENBERG: Yes, ladies and gentlemen, this is Ryan Lamb.
RYAN LAMB: Hi there, everyone.
EISENBERG: Ryan, you are a regular at Rosie's bar.
LAMB: I sure am.
EISENBERG: And what is your cocktail of choice?
LAMB: A tequila shot and a beer.
EISENBERG: That's not exactly a cocktail but I like that.
LAMB: Depending on the time of day.
EISENBERG: Depending on the time of day. What time of day is that best for?
LAMB: That's afternoon experience.
EISENBERG: Good answer. Good answer.
EISENBERG: Okay, so let me tell you about our game. In a perfect world, everyone would have a perfect cocktail that reflects who they are. Right? For example, the late editor of Cosmopolitan magazine Helen Gurley Brown should have always been seen with a girly drink, a Cosmopolitan.
EISENBERG: Ah. So in this game, we'll meet some famous people and fictional characters and you have to figure out the appropriate cocktail that they're drinking. If you need a hint, we will give you the ingredients.
LAMB: Oh, man.
EISENBERG: Okay, ready? Here's your first question. Hi, I'm Woody Allen. Amazing accent. My analyst thinks I'm suffering from some sort of egomania since I drink only the cocktail named after one of my movies.
LAMB: I would ring in, but I don't know.
CHANESKI: Good strategy. That's a good strategy.
(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)
EISENBERG: Rosie. Manhattan is correct.
CHANESKI: That's right.
CHANESKI: Hi, I'm Sheriff Rick Grimes from the AMC series "The Walking Dead." When I'm not fighting flesh-eating monsters, I settle down with a cocktail. It should be pretty easy to figure out what I drink. Carl, stay in the house.
(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)
CHANESKI: Zombie is correct.
LAMB: I didn't know you watched that show.
SCHAAP: I don't.
COULTON: Ola, I am revolutionary leader Che Guevara.
EISENBERG: Wait a second, is he here? Oh no, that's you, Jonathan.
COULTON: No, that's just me doing a voice, Ophira. Don't worry.
EISENBERG: Oh, yeah.
COULTON: I like a drink that inspires me to unlock the shackles of tyranny from an island nation 90 miles off the coast of Florida.
(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)
CHANESKI: Daiquiri, don't see it.
EISENBERG: Sorry. Ryan?
EISENBERG: Ryan, I don't even know you, but I like you. Can I just say that?
LAMB: We met earlier at the bar.
COULTON: What if I give you the ingredients of this drink? It is white rum, coke and lime.
EISENBERG: Go ahead, Rosie.
SCHAAP: Should I say?
SCHAAP: Well, a daiquiri is Cuban, but it's a Cuba Libre.
COULTON: Cuba Libre, that's right.
EISENBERG: Hi, I'm Bob Vila. When I'm done renovating this old house, I like to settle down with this old drink, named after something in my toolbox.
(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)
EISENBERG: Correct, Rosie.
LAMB: And I'm the one wearing the denim shirt, weird.
CHANESKI: I'm Popeye the sailor. I likes me a drink that's as refreshing as a gentle wind blowing off the ocean.
(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)
LAMB: A Sea Breeze.
CHANESKI: Yes. Way to go, Ryan.
LAMB: Thank you very much.
COULTON: John, you didn't want to do a voice with that one? That seems like an obvious one to.
COULTON: Hi there, I'm Glenn Frey of the Eagles.
COULTON: I don't often drink in the morning but when I do, I like a drink that looks like the dawn and tastes like regret.
COULTON: I even wrote a song about it.
(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)
LAMB: Tequila Sunrise.
CHANESKI: So that's what Glenn Frey sounds like.
COULTON: Just like that, yes.
CHANESKI: Rosie has three. Ryan has two. Rosie wins.
EISENBERG: Oh, Rosie.
EISENBERG: We have a prize for you, Rosie. It's what you need at the bar. It's a ASK ME ANOTHER Rubik's Cube.
SCHAAP: Oh my god.
EISENBERG: Here you are.
SCHAAP: I'm overwhelmed. Thank you so much.
EISENBERG: And you still have bragging rights at your bar. You can do whatever you want there because you beat Ryan. That's very important.
SCHAAP: That's right. Thank you.
EISENBERG: You're welcome. How about a hand for our winner and VIP tonight?
COULTON: Yes, Ophira?
EISENBERG: Would you like to play a tune?
COULTON: I would like to play a tune.
EISENBERG: What are you going to play?
COULTON: I have one that I think is probably appropriate. This is called "Drinking with You."
(SOUNDBITE OF SINGING)
COULTON: We work late and I pretend that I don't notice when you're next to me, but I do. I might be mistaken, but I sometimes get the feeling that you notice too. And I know this place that's near here, quiet, dark and small. When we're finished here, I think that I may need a beer. How about you? It'd be nice to go out drinking with you.
EISENBERG: That was Jonathan Coulton.
EISENBERG: But all the drinking games aside, please drink responsibly. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.