Welcome to Fern Bar Fridays, a lighthearted romp (is there any other kind?) through a decade of cool music and even cooler drinks. The fern bar era, which roughly spanned 1975-1985, was filled with giant lapels and ties (and then later teeny tiny lapels and ties), ridiculous drinks, and sweet sounds. Every Friday we’ll bring you a song and drink pairing emblematic of that delightful time to help you get the weekend started off on the right loafer-sans-sock-shod foot. Today, and throughout the month of October, we’re celebrating the season of the witch with: "Magic Man" by Heart and "Witchy Woman" by The Eagles.
It’s a busy time down at Rita’s, the imaginary fern bar that exists in my head. There are costumes to begin preparing, and cobwebs to hang, and pumpkin punch bowls in need of carving and oh! I’m just all a’fuss. You can’t even imagine what it’s like trying to keep the gang in line: Bertie has to be constantly monitored because every year he insists on being in charge of making the pressed leaves except he fritters off to that shed of his and forgets that he’s left the iron on and every. single. year. the fire department shows up to find an unattended pile of smoldering leaves, issues us a citation, and then the guys hang around waiting for a couple of chicken, grape and champagne pies to go.
One thing that I never worry about is putting together our annual Spooky Fern playlist. The era of the frond, she was a good one for spooktacular tunes. So good, in fact, that we won’t even come close to touching on all the songs we like to fire up during this most wonderful time of the year. (The rest of you can have Christmas. I’ll be facedown in the eggnog if you need me at any point in December.)
In order to account for the embarrassment of riches we’re faced with during this magical and marvelous time, this week we’re bringing you a Rita’s Twofer with "Magic Man" by Heart and "Witchy Woman" by The Eagles. They make a cute couple, don’t you think?
We’ll start with "Magic Man" because I know you know that there’s no way in hell that I’m going to let the Wilson sisters take a backseat to Don Henley, last worthless evenings be damned. And there are… some things about this video that we need to discuss. Can someone holler at Joanne to bring over a round of gimlets? Thanks.
This video has inspired my to take a page out of Frond of the Fern Bar Katie Baker’s playbook and begin to institute a scoring system of sorts to measure the relative ferniness of a given video or performance clip. To wit:
+17 for the dry ice.
-3 for Ann Wilson’s maternity-looking outfit.
+33 for the star pattern on Ann Wilson’s maternity-looking outfit.
+2,100 for Roger Fisher’s white satin half-blouse tied at the midriff.
Sadly, for old Don—and as an aside I cannot WAIT until we get into the later fern bar era and discuss Glenn Frey’s work as a solo artist because by “discuss” I of course mean “stare at photos of a sockless and pastel-clad Don Johnson”—the available video clips for "Witchy Woman" didn’t work out so well for The Eagles in terms of this new competitive time.
-7,000,000 for that creepy hand bird AHHHHHHHH GET IT OUT OF THE BAR GET IT OUT OF THE BAR BIRDS ARE BAD LUCK GET IT OUT OUT OUT!!!!!!!!!!
Sorry for the outburst. It’s just that that creepy bird hand terrifies me for several thousand reasons, and not in the fun Hallowe’en-y way either. But then again, I’m Italianish, which means I’m predisposed to be distrusting and fearful of birds.
You know what would soothe me? A nice, stiff drink. In honor of our very first Two-fer Fern Bar Fridays, let’s make like an antiquated Frenchman and reinforce casual ’70s sexism and gender essentialism with His and Hers Cocktails! And what could be more seasonally appropriate than His and Hers Ghoulishly Green Spirits?
For Him: Absinthe
Ingredients & Tools:
A wide fluted glass
An absinthe spoon
A carafe or pitcher full of ice-cold water
Pour an ounce of absinthe into the glass. Place the absinthe spoon over the rim of the glass and place the sugar cube on top of it.
Pour a small amount of water onto the sugar; when the sugar cube is saturated, allow it to sit for a minute or so, until it begins to dissolve on its own. Then start pouring a very thin stream of water slowly onto the sugar cube. Continue pouring slowly until the sugar cube dissolves completely and serve.
For Her: Midori Sour
1 oz Midori liqueur
1 oz. vodka
1 ½ oz. sweet and sour mix
Maraschino cherries and cocktail umbrellas for garnish
Pour Midori and vodka into a cocktail shaker filled with ice; add the sweet and sour mix and shake to combine. Strain the cocktail into a rocks glass filled halfway with crushed ice. Spear a maraschino cherry or three on a cocktail sword, garnish and serve.
Spooky and delicious! And casually sexist. The perfect thing to celebrate A Very Fern Bar Halloween.
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