Burned out from Andrew McCabe’s early departure from the FBI, disgusted at Trump’s announcement of no sanctions against Russia, and steeling myself for the evening’s State of The Union Address, I wanted just one thing: a milkshake. But honestly, I needed a cocktail.
It was snowing, I was deep in Brooklyn, and I googled “milkshake.” About ten minutes away on the B45 bus, was Butter & Scotch. I realized what I really needed, and I had found it. The ultimate safe space from America’s political nightmare is a spot with ice cream, sweets, booze and comfort food served up with a healthy side of political resistance. I found my shake of the union at Butter & Scotch.
I stepped out of time into a Franklin Avenue oasis—part neighborhood bar, part soda fountain, part bakery, with a welcoming needlepoint sign declaring “Bitches Love Sprinkles.” I ordered a Bourbon Barrow’s Intense Ginger Vanilla Milkshake.
The boozy milkshake is a beautiful balance of some of the most addictive substances known to man—sugar, fat, and alcohol. Not that this needed to be proven, but research shows that ice cream stimulates the same pleasure center in the brain, the orbitofrontal cortex, as winning the lottery and listening to your favorite music. Everything in ice cream screams to your body to feel good. Then you add alcohol. The milkshake? There’s something primal and comforting in sucking from a straw.
Butter & Scotch isn’t the only spot in America that combines your top pleasures in one tall glass of goodness. Fountain on Locust in St. Louis has an entire menu of ice cream martinis. 25 Degrees, the burger joint in the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, serves spiked shakes such as their famous Guinness Milkshake. Exhausted parents have found solace in cold and creamy cocktails throughout Disney World: Beaches & Cream Soda Shop, the France Pavilion at Epcot, and Hollywood Studios. Manhattan’s Tipsy Scoop Ice Cream Parlour claims to be the first alcohol-infused Ice cream in the U.S.
That temporary high from the perfect fat-sweet-booze combination won’t last long unless you’re feeding your spirit as well. In 2015, when bakers Allison Kave and Keavy Landreth opened Butter & Scotch, they launched a feminist-leaning menu. Since Trump, it’s all about resistance. The menu includes drinks called “Not My President,” “Smash the Patriarchy,” and “The Pussy Grabs Back.” All cocktails on their seasonal menu (this winter is themed “Witchy Women”), including the two intoxicatingly delicious liquor-spiked “Frozies,” deliver a $1 pledge to Planned Parenthood. Last year’s donation totaled $16,000.
Some combination of the menu and the vibe, inspired my barstool neighbor Mark and I to share tastes of my milkshake and his ginger pecan pie. Tom the bartender gave me the first sip of his homemade passion fruit soda, and we all got to talking social justice. I learned that Mark runs a website called EB Wiki that tracks cases involving people of color killed by police. The sugar, alcohol and glow of political comradery took the edge off my misgivings over the handsy reality star addressing the nation.
In the end, I skipped the State of The Union and cheered Joe Kennedy’s rebuttal. For a brief moment, everything was alright in the world.