When I started this blog about three years ago I was hoping to contribute some insights into the inner workings of the United Nations, and maybe have a few laughs. I never thought I would help inspire a cocktail.
Allow me to introduce The Diplomatic Hangover:
1 ½ oz Russian vodka
1 ¼ oz lemon grapefruit cordial
To make the cordial: 2 cups grapefruit juice; 2 cups lemon juice; 3 cups sugar in a container with zest from the lemons and grapefruits, rested for two days in a fridge. Will last about 1 week refrigerated.
(See full recipe, including French rosé and Kenya's Tusker Beer topping, here.)
Earlier this month, I wrote a story describing how the U.S. Ambassador for United Nations Management and Reform Joseph Torsella had scolded his diplomatic counterparts for excessive drinking during marathon budget negotiations in December.
The reaction -- which I detailed in a follow-up piece entitled "America's Diplomatic Hangover" -- was fierce.
The U.N.'s African diplomats -- who suspected Torsella was talking about them -- refused to participate in budget negotiations after normal working hours. (Though they have apparently relented, agreeing to hold weekend meetings).
Dominic Girard, a radio journalist for the Canadian Broadcasting Company, called me to say he was producing a pilot radio program, Sociable, which explores "how alcohol shapes society for bad, for good, for fun and for nought." He wanted to do a spot on the drinking habits of U.N. diplomats, so Girard invited Sociable's bartender in residence, Oliver Stern, to develop a drink to go with the program. (Yes, apparently such a job does exist, though I suspect he is unpaid. He is a managing partner at the Toronto Temperance Society, where he also tends bar.)
"I thought of diplomats coming from all corners of the world sharing their traditional celebratory drinks: vodka, wine and beer," Stern writes of his new drink. "When I mix hard spirits with beer and wine I normally end up having a hangover, hence the name and the cocktail."
Now that we have established the backstory, I think we need to look ahead.
Later this year, the U.N. will be reopening its famed delegate's lounge, and bar, following a major renovation by a Dutch design team, including the architect Rem Koolhaas* and designer Hella Jongerius. It would only be fitting if Mr. Stern's concoction could find its way onto the drink menu.
For those who wanted to keep a clear head, he has come up with an alcohol free alternative: "The Diplomatic Immunity."
So, Amb. Torsella, what will it be?
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(an earlier version misspelled Koolhaas. Turtle Bay regrets the error)
Longtime Washington Post correspondent Colum Lynch reports on all things United Nations for Turtle Bay.