Three staffers, three unabashed recommendations.
I’ll be honest with you: Despite my love of cocktails and drinking in general, I’ve always felt an overwhelming boredom at “mixology.” But ever since having kids—which has cut down both my drinking time, and the allotted amount I can drink without getting too buzzed to, say, run someone to the emergency room—I’ve taken an interest in expanding our home bar, stocking the kind of mixers that can make stuff worth slowly savoring. And after a recent visit to Chicago’s Billy Sunday, a bar famed locally for its impressive selection of amari, I’ve gotten heavily into the Italian liqueur, which is known for its bitter, herbal taste and digestive qualities. I’ve picked up the standard Cynar (an artichoke liqueur) and Fernet-Branca (great as a straight shot), but my new favorite is rabarbaro, made chiefly from Chinese rhubarb. I found both Rabarbaro Zucca and Cappelletti’s Amaro Sfumato Rabarbaro at the liquor store, and I’ve been enjoying experimenting with them in plays on the Manhattan and old-fashioned. They add richness and complexity to rye and bourbon, they’re easy to mix without needing to understand too much about flavor profiles, and they’re great to sip on during that small window between when my kids finally go to bed and I collapse myself. [Sean O’Neal]
A bidet attachment for your home toilet
Bidets are common in some European countries, especially Italy. Italy’s influence is strong in Argentina, where the bidet is also common, and where I encountered one for the first time in my host family’s bathroom, where it was as normal a part of pooping as the toilet sitting beside it. That bidet was a whole separate fixture. Today, in this country, you can buy a device that’s installed into the toilet seat, connecting to its water system, to create your own at-home bidet. In my home we have a Tushy brand bidet. There are a few different options: The simplest, and cheapest, simply plugs into the toilet’s plumbing and shoots out cold water only. There’s one nozzle to adjust the water pressure. The slightly more expensive option, the “Spa,” comes with additional material to plug into the bathroom sink, which brings warm water into the mix. (The toilet has to be next to the sink for this option.) The Spa has two nozzles: one for pressure and one for temperature.
With a little plumbing research beforehand, my husband was able to easily connect the pipe to the sink. It does involve undoing the toilet seat and snapping it back on, and generally putting your face very near your toilet, so I definitely recommend a thorough cleaning before installation. Using a bidet takes a little getting used to, but once it becomes part of the bathroom routine, there’s no going back. I also like Tushy’s sleek design and colors; ours is an attractive teal, the sort of color you might find in a ’50s-era bathroom set of blues and greens. The branding of the Tushy company is a little obnoxious—it tries too hard to be cutesy, in my opinion—and it comes from Thinx founder Miki Agrawal, who left that company under allegations of sexual harassment and other slimy workplace practices (buying products is often a compromise, sometimes one that results in supporting obviously bad capitalists). But a home bidet that’s this easy to install, for under $100, is worth the price. [Caitlin PenzeyMoog]
Bunk: The Rise Of Hoaxes, Humbug, Plagiarists, Phonies, Post-Facts, And Fake News
I’ve been hooked on this book for what seems like forever now, crawling my way through Kevin Young’s encyclopedic, fascinating exploration of America’s relationship with fakery. It’s a powerful, passionate affair that’s on everyone’s minds these days, but it’s hardly new. Young covers it all, from The Sun’s “Great Moon Hoax” to Rachel Dolezal and, of course, the age of Trump, arguing beautifully that the country’s subconscious desire to be fooled—and to appreciate the fooler—is inextricably linked to humanity’s greatest, most damaging hoax of all: race. It’s riveting, troubling, and timely material, and the only reason I haven’t been able to gobble it up is Young’s prose. He’s also an accomplished poet, and that comes through in his dense, academic writing. It can get a little too knotty and clever for its own good, but it’s worth the effort to untangle. [Matt Gerardi]