THIS MONTH marks the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, an event widely regarded as the catalyst for the modern gay rights movement — and for those in the LGBTQ+ community as well as their allies, a prime time to celebrate. The five decades have brought tremendous progress from the decriminalization of homosexuality in many parts of the world, through the AIDS crisis to marriage equality in the US and beyond. Yet, there remain miles to go, especially when it comes to transgender rights.
With that in mind, may we suggest — for your own pride parties — a toast to trailblazer Marsha P. Johnson?
A black transgender activist and member of the Hot Peaches, a performance group, Johnson was one of the instigators of the Stonewall uprising and was a fierce advocate for LGBT liberation until her death in 1992. The “P” in her name stood for “Pay It No Mind,” a rallying cry for unapologetic, radical self-expression. New York is honoring her and fellow trans activist Sylvia Rivera with a permanent monument, one of the world’s first for transgender people.
For your own tribute: an approachable pink and fruity, yet-powerful punch. Think of it as a celebratory riff on the low-cal vodka soda that’s so ubiquitously drunk by folks as to be nicknamed “gay water.”
The peach tea infusion might seem daunting at first, but it’s a low-effort, high-impact way to add a layer of flavor to drinks, and neutral vodka is the perfect base for it. (From there, feel empowered to experiment with additional tea/spirit combinations such as green tea and gin — or black tea and bourbon, if your tastes lean more that way.) To this, you’ll add fresh lime juice, for bright acidity, and pink sparkling wine, for color and an additional layer of flavor. Rather than go all-in on the bubbly, use sparkling water as way to add length to the drink and keep your guests from getting too rowdy.
As a nod to the flowers Johnson often wore in her hair, edible orchids are available online. They are very much worth the splurge for this 50-years-in-the-making celebration.
PAY IT NO MIND PUNCH
• 750 ml. chilled peach tea-infused vodka (below)
• 10 oz. simple syrup
• 8 oz. fresh lime juice
• Ice1 750 ml. bottle chilled rosé sparkling wine
• 1 liter chilled sparkling water
• Edible orchids, for garnish
Pre-chill all ingredients for at least four hours before serving. Combine tea-infused vodka, simple syrup, and lime juice in a punch bowl with four cups of ice cubes or, preferably, a few medium-sized blocks of ice (they can be made in deli containers or Tupperware food savers) to reduce melting and dilution. Top with the rosé sparkling wine and sparkling water. Garnish with edible orchids.
For peach tea vodka
• 10 grams or 5 bags peach tea (such as Harney & Sons)
• 1 750 ml. bottle vodka
Combine tea and vodka in a nonreactive container; let steep for 10 minutes and strain. The yield will be slightly less than you started with, but it will work with the recipe above. The infusion can be prepared up to one week in advance.
FOR SIMPLE SYRUP
Combine equal parts sugar and water in a small pot over low heat, stirring occasionally until all the sugar is dissolved. Let cool before using. Keep in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to one week. — John deBary, Bloomberg