Rachael | Set the Table


Welcome to Set the Table! My name is Rachael and I'm here to help you set your table with beautiful, healthy, delicious food your family and friends will love. More importantly, I'm here to encourage you to welcome everyone to your table. Talk. Listen. Laugh. Eat. Be kind. 

Cocktail Friday: Paris Stranger

Cocktail Friday: Paris Stranger

My sister, Rebecca, is back with an enchanting story of the Paris Stranger and a cocktail with the same name for this week's Cocktail Friday! These posts make me want to sit on the deck with her, chatting about all of the things. If only Minnesota were a little (or a lot) closer...

This summer, I read a book by Kristin Newman called What I Was Doing While You Were Breeding. It's a hilarious account of Newman's real life travel adventures as a young, single comedy writer. It was funny, fun, and full of surprisingly wise observations about life and travel.

One of her travel edicts is to do the thing you are supposed to do in the place you are supposed to do it in. You know, eat pretzels in Germany ... ride camels in Egypt ... drink vodka in Russia ... etc.

As I read, I thought about all of the places I've been and all of the times I didn't do the thing I was supposed to do in the place I was supposed to do it.

For example:

IT WAS A DARK AND STORMY OCTOBER NIGHT IN PARIS. My friends and I had met up with a parisian friend-of-a-brother (or something) who led us through Montmarte to a popular cafe for drinks. The cafe had two or three smallish rooms and all of them were suffocatingly full of people. We pushed ourselves against a wall to watch and wait for some chairs to open up.

As I scanned for leavers, my eyes unwittingly caught on a handsome face in the back of the cafe. It was years ago, but there is a picture burned into my brain of a man with light hair, thin, broad shoulders, an Oxford-ish look, with those smiling eyes that tend to make me go stupid, drinking beer. I was completely smitten. A dapper gent. A dapper, dapper gent ...

Anyway, I turned back to my friends, forcing myself to not ogle the thing I reeeeeeally wanted to ogle in the back of the room. Eventually, we realized no one was going to leave and decided to move along. As we turned to go, I cast one last look at my new favorite face in Paris ... AND GUESS WHAT!

Our eyes met! He smiled! He waved! AT ME! AT MEEEEEE!

Instantly, my head was full of thoughts:

Did he think I was someone else? Was someone behind me waving back? Was he making fun of me? (A particularly destructive-yet-common thought I have when something like this happens)

So I did what any insane person does: I turned my blushing face away as fast as I could and walked away.

I just walked away.

Once outside, I told my friends what happened and they almost insisted we go back. But I, in my determination to keep myself from ever facing scary things, said, "No, no. It's not a big deal. It's nothing. Never mind. Let's keep going. Never mind."

The end.

I could write a whole book full of sad stories like that one. I mean, aren't you supposed to fall in love with a stranger in Paris? If you have the chance? So many times, life has handed me something and said HERE! TAKE IT! IT MIGHT BE WONDERFUL! And I've looked down and said, "Never mind."

So, as a kind of penance, I'm calling this week's cocktail the Paris Stranger.

Cheers to him, whoever he was, and whatever he was waving at. Next time, I promise promise promise I'll make the scary move.

Paris Stranger

Serves 2


  • 2 oranges, peeled
  • 1 2-inch piece of fresh ginger
  • Whiskey
  • Ice


  1. Run oranges and ginger through a juicer (you know, the one you bought for making green juices and then never did). Add one or two shots of whiskey in ice-filled glass and top with orange-ginger juice.
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