“Who wants wine?” I yell down the hallway of the two flat apartment I share with my roommates. Three voices in unison shout back “me!”
Balancing four wine glasses in one hand and a bottle of cheap white wine in the other, I make my way through our apartment and into the apple green living room. I settle myself in the middle seat of our microsuede couch just as my girlfriend pushes play on the VCR.
It’s the series finale of Sex and the City and none of us want to miss it. We’ve been planning this night for weeks. While Carrie Bradshaw runs through the city chasing her bus in that ridiculous outfit, we sing along to the opening credit song like it’s our fight song. Because it is. We followed this show from college dorm life to our first apartment in the city. We pretend our lives are as glamorous as Carrie when really most of our entertainment looks like nights like this: a show to gossip over, a bottle of wine to share, and endless chips and salsa.
“Wait! Pause! We forgot the chips and salsa!”
We’ve heard there is this thing called DVR. But for now, we enjoy the routine of timing work schedules to get home in time for that night’s favorite show, taking advantage of commercials for bathroom breaks, and balancing recording schedules on our VCR onto overused VHS tapes, praying we aren’t taping over an episode we haven’t seen yet. We’re the girls that drink cheap wine. Clearly we don’t need fancy.
The joy of these nights, though, isn’t how we watch the show. It really isn’t the show at all. It’s an excuse for four friends following different paths in new chapters of their early lives to come together for one night over shared joy, laughter, and sometimes tears. And to not have to finish that bottle of wine alone.
Looking back at this memory now, it feels like another lifetime.
I miss watch parties. I miss sharing drinks with friends and speculation over plot dramas. It’s not just these “uncertain times” that have me nostalgic. Even the watch parties of “certain” times like 2019 didn’t have the same excitement as they did in my early 20s, before kids and jobs and real adult responsibility, when our biggest fear was mis-recording an episode or our favorite character getting cut from the show.
Like many things, we have learned to adapt. Texts fly back and forth about who likes the Queen’s Gambit and who doesn’t, gossip over who got cut at the end of the Bachelor, and the perfectly timed quote from Sex and the City we all have memorized. But it’s not the same as sitting on a couch together at the end of a hard day with the welcomed comfort of friends, wine, and a cued up VCR.
But what if we could bring it back?
No, I’m not asking you to dust off the old VCR in your parents’ attic. Nor am I inviting you to bust out of your bubble and open up a weekly super spreader event all for the sake of a Real Housewives watch party (oh, but aren’t you excited for when we can?!).
But I do recognize after months of trying to make *this all work*, we’ve learned how to bring our people close, even when they are far away. We’ve made adaptability our new favorite skill. I mean, we are moms; we’ve always been good at this. But this year our skills have really been stretched.
That’s why I’m thinking about reintroducing the watch parties of 2005 into early 2021 standards with the magical power of Zoom. Whether you used to watch in your parents’ basement, crowded into a tiny dorm room, or squished on the couch of your first apartment, we can bring this party back into our living rooms, and no one has to call an Uber.
Who’s with me?
Here’s how we’ll make it work.
Pick a date and a favorite show. Dress yourself fancy from the waist up (it’s a party, after all.) Choose the person with the greatest Zoom skills to share their screen (or google the best apps for watch parties). Log in. Party like it’s 2005.
But here’s where it’s different from 2005. If we have to act like adults we might as well drink like adults. This year, ditch the cheap bottles of wine and celebrate with a well mixed cocktail.
Need some ideas? I gathered up a cocktail recommendation to pair with your favorite show, sure to elevate any Girls Night Watch Party.
For the “Big City Living” Girls
Sex and the City was the show that made us feel fabulous. But maybe in your friend’s group it was Gossip Girl or Girls or Broad City. Whatever it is, this Big City show calls for a Big City cocktail. The Cosmo feels easy, but I wanted to take it up a notch. And sparkling rosé always does the trick.
The “Big City Living” Sparkling Rosé Cosmopolitan
1 ½ oz vodka
½ oz cranberry juice
½ oz triple sec
½ oz lime juice
1 oz sparkling rosé
Add vodka, cranberry juice, triple sec, and lime juice to a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake vigorously until outside of shaker is very cold, about 20 seconds. Add to champagne flute. Top with rosé.
For the “Here to Make Friends” Girls
I can’t imagine anyone surviving the 2000s without catching at least one season of the Bachelor. Even if you hate watching it. Gather the girls and watch the recent season or pick a favorite from season’s past. Just be sure you have plenty of champagne. And to take it up a notch, try this sparkly cocktail, a riff on the French 75.
The “Here To Make Friends” 75
2 oz. gin
¾ oz lemon juice
¾ oz grenadine
2 oz champagne
Combine gin, lemon juice, and simple syrup in a cocktail shaker. Fill shaker with ice, cover, and shake vigorously until outside of shaker is very cold, about 20 seconds. Strain cocktail into a large flute. Top with Champagne; garnish with lemon twist.
For the “Which Housewife Are You” Girls
I’m a NYC Housewife fan. Give me all the fashion week and Hamptons drama. What about your friends? Were you Atlanta girls? Beverly Hills? OG in the OG? We all have a favorite. You might have to flip a coin. Be sure to have everyone come in with their own tagline for Real Housewives of Twin Cities! And no Housewife party is complete without a wine spritzer. I love these because it feels like a mix and match whatever is in the fridge kind of party. Just follow the equal parts rule and it works every time.
The “Which Housewife Are You” Spritz
1 part bitter liqueur like Campari, Aperol, Amaro
1 part white wine
1 part sparkling water
Citrus slice for garnish
Add all ingredients to a glass filled with ice and stir well. Squeeze citrus peel over top and add to drink.