Drinks

Considering the Cocktail

‘Tis the season for fun and flavorful drinks! Cocktails, and alcohol in general, are some of those rare beverages that bring people together no matter where you are in the world. Not only is alcohol a common accompaniment to meals in various different cultures, but it is also a mark of significance and celebration when one reaches the legal drinking age of 21 in the United States. Whether it’s a business happy hour, a holiday, or a social gathering, alcohol is guaranteed to liven up spirits in any environment. My favorite memories with cocktails were going to happy hour every Monday night before my Congress and Legislative Behavior class with my friends at one of American University’s favorite bars and restaurants, Chef Geoff’s. Let’s learn about how cocktails have played a role in international politics and the fashion industry!

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Photo Credit: Travel Channel

Cocktails and History

According to The Foundation for a Drug Free World, the history of cocktails and alcohol began when fermented grain, fruit juice and honey had been used to make alcohol (ethyl alcohol or ethanol) for thousands of years.

Fermented beverages existed in early Egyptian civilization, and there is evidence of an early alcoholic drink in China around 7000 B.C. In India, an alcoholic beverage called sura, distilled from rice, was in use between 3000 and 2000 B.C.

The Babylonians worshiped a wine goddess as early as 2700 B.C. In Greece, one of the first alcoholic beverages to gain popularity was mead, a fermented drink made from honey and water. Greek literature is full of warnings against excessive drinking.

Several Native American civilizations developed alcoholic beverages in pre-Columbian times. A variety of fermented beverages from the Andes region of South America were created from corn, grapes or apples, called “chicha.”

In the sixteenth century, alcohol (called “spirits”) was used largely for medicinal purposes. At the beginning of the eighteenth century, the British parliament passed a law encouraging the use of grain for distilling spirits. Cheap spirits flooded the market and reached a peak in the mid-eighteenth century. In Britain, gin consumption reached 18 million gallons and alcoholism became widespread.

The nineteenth century brought a change in attitudes and the temperance movement began promoting the moderate use of alcohol—which ultimately became a push for total prohibition.

In 1920 the US passed a law prohibiting the manufacture, sale, import and export of intoxicating liquors. The illegal alcohol trade boomed and by 1933, the prohibition of alcohol was cancelled. Alcohol is now used as an accessory to meals and social gatherings worldwide!

Cocktails and Politics

One of the biggest political issues surrounding cocktails and alcohol in the United States in particular is whether or not the drinking age should be lowered. Those who support a lower drinking age do so because doing so will make alcohol less of a “forbidden fruit” to those underage, making them less likely to drink dangerously out of rebellion or uncertainty about when they will next be able to drink again. Alcohol is also very easily accessible as those under 21 can obtain alcohol from friends of theirs who are of age. Additionally, lowering the drinking age to 18 allows legal adults to not have to hide their drinking habits due to legal restriction, enabling them to drink under better safety precautions such as with police, security, or other health officials around. Following this, countries with a lower drinking age such as China, Italy, and France have fewer alcohol-related emergencies and incidents. Finally, if individuals who are 18 have the right to take a bullet for our country in the military and decide who the leader of our country should be, they also deserve the right to drink alcohol.

Opponents of a lower drinking age say that keeping the drinking age at 21 has reduced teen drinking and driving rates by 54 percent, and reduces fatalities due to both suicides and car crashes related to alcohol, according to LiveScience. Additionally, Boston University Researcher of Public Health William DeJong points out that students drink less overall when the drinking age remains at 21. With strong arguments on both sides, what do you think?

Cocktails and Pop Culture

While most people opt to find a nice cocktail at a fancy restaurant or lively bar, cocktails and other alcoholic beverages are finding themselves at other places vital to pop culture…department stores! Shops like Target, Nordstrom, Brooks Brothers, and Saks have all invested in adding bars to their interiors, as it enhances the shopping experience to make it more relaxing, entertaining, and exciting. Why do cocktails have such a presence in the fashion world? Well, just as your clothes reveal a lot about your personality, wine and cocktails do the same. In fact, cocktails are a huge deal for Fashion Week…here to share with us some inside scoop from the fashion world is a USC fashion insider and public relations enthusiast, Lin Lee!

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Photo Credit: Lin Lee

What sparked your interest in fashion?

I think my interest came from two aspects: the influence of my mom and girls’ nature to pursue beauty. When I was still a little girl, my mom would buy me a lot of clothes and dress me up. She would also take me shopping and bring a lot of fashion magazines home. I can say that I was surrounded by a “fashion” vice since I was very young. My mom is a very stylish person until now and probably my first fashion mentor. Under her influence, I began to pay attention about what to wear and how to style different clothes. She still gives me fashion and make up advice now! I enjoy the visual pleasure gained from simply looking at the beautiful dresses, shirts and shoes. I appreciate every piece of fashionable item as art. Designers are true artists and people wearing the items are stewards. My perspective over fashion also had evolved as I have grown up, I realized that fashion is beyond color, texture and tailoring, but it has the power to make us feel more confident. Fashion speaks a lot about our personality and style. I would like to call fashion style to be our second identity card. When we use fashion to embrace our identity, personality and to become more confident, we will start loving ourselves more.

What has been your experience been in the fashion industry?

I am and will always be a big fan of shopping. I love scouting different stores on weekends. I attended DC Fashion Week and a few fashion trunk shows from the beginning of 2015, where I got connected to designers, stylists and fashion photographers. I was very lucky to be spotted by a fashion photographer at DC Fashion Week. He said he loved my vintage fashion style and posted my pictures he snapped on the Facebook Page of DC Fashion Week. After that event, I had my first photo shoot with Mark. I started truly getting involved after I moved to Los Angeles. Between DC and LA, I was fortunate enough to intern for a fashion agency in London during the summer. That was the best summer of my life! At the fashion agency, I assisted the preparation of press days “ Christmas in July” with luxury brands such as Maurice Lacroix, Aigner and Wempe. I styled venues and rails in the showroom on a daily basis. My other responsibilities included maintaining the clipping service, and up to date filing system using fashion GPS, responding to sample requests from Vogue, Marie Claire, Cosmopolitan etc. I also prepared gift bags to celebrities like Miranda Kerr, Amal Clooney, and Gigi Hadid.One time I was lucky enough to select clothes from the showroom for a photo shoot of David Gandy, a top UK male model.

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Photo Credit: Fashion Gone Rogue                     Photo Credit: Harper’s Bazaarmiranda

Photo Credit: Primped

After that internship, I had a street wear coverage in the Style page of a UK newspaper called Metro, definitely a highlight of my summer in London.

In general, fashion work is very fast-paced and detail-oriented. You are always fulfilling diverse responsibilities, either on computer, in the showroom or out picking up samples from clients or press. Talking about being detail-oriented, for example, it matters how your fold the clothes and where you put clothes on the rail.

I started modeling for many freelance photographers and filmmakers in Los Angeles. Most of my works are prints and used for photographers’ portfolios. I also modeled for a fashion boutique in LA to help promote the sales of their clothes. I still get reached out by photographers sometimes. For me, photo shoot is an enjoyment, from which I am able to release pressure, freely express my emotions through facial expressions and poses and imagine myself to the person I would like to become. Recently I got reached out by a model management professional and will hopefully start acting in independent artists’ music videos.

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Photo Credit: Lin Lee                                           Photo Credit: Lin Lee

I put most of my modeling works on my Instagram @lin_leelovesfashion, and have a personal website: www. jialinliblog.wordpress.com.  I get a couple of features on fashion Instagram accounts, too.

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Photo Credit: Rachel Zoe

I am currently an editorial intern for The Zoe Report AKA Rachel Zoe. It is a daily online style outlet curated by American stylist Rachel Zoe. She styled clients from Miley Cyrus, Anne Hathaway, Cameron Diaz, Backstreet Boys, etc. From working for the company, I could learn a lot of fashion, beauty and lifestyle trends. I am now pitching my topics to the editorial director. Hopefully I will have my first article on The Zoe Report soon! This semester, I also had a great opportunity to volunteer for Spring Summer 2017 LA Fashion Week in Hollywood Athletic Club, where I met a lot of interesting people in the fashion industry and passionate fashionistas who are looking to go into the industry. It was a wonderful three-day show filled with glamour, laughter and inspiration. I would love to fly to New York for the New York Fashion Week in Feb. 2017.

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Photo Credit: Lin Lee

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Photo Credit: Lin Lee

What are the ups and downs of being in the industry?

The excitement comes from the diversity of tasks. You are always doing things, either on computer, in the showroom or out picking up samples from clients or press. But the tasks can be overwhelming as well, since fashion companies are very fast-paced. You cannot expect yourself to be sitting by the computer and sipping coffee all day.  You have to pay extreme attention to what you are doing. For example, it matters just how your fold the clothes, where you put clothes on the rail, what clothes are next to each other etc.

There are some challenges with modeling, too. It can be an exhausting and demanding job. When I was a marketing model for a fashion boutique, I had to put on and take off clothes as fast as I can. It was basically like, put on the dress, go into the studio, take a picture, come out, take off the dress and put on another one. I remember I probably tried on almost 100 outfits within 3 hours, no break! Another time I had a shoot at Venice Beach, I had to climb on a slippery big rock. I was pretty scared! Once I was walking in heels at a canyon. These challenges are nothing compared with my love of fashion.

How would you describe your sense of style? What are your influences?

To be honest, it is very hard to define my sense of style. I am very adventurous and like trying different styles. I wear dresses a lot and like using a mix of different colors. I am also good at using accessories, such as hat, hairband, necklace and scarf to style a plain outfit. How I dress really depends on occasion. In general, I love vintage fashion a lot because it perfectly presents femininity and elegance. I love everything classy and elegant. For example, the little black dress created by Coco Chanel is never out of style, applies to all occasions and easy to go with any accessories. Look at Audrey Hepburn in that cute dress in Breakfast at Tiffany’s! I also love the flare dress and blouse worn by Audrey Hepburn in movie Roman Holiday.

audrey-hepburn

Photo Credit: Vogue

Talking about influences, my initial influence could be my mom. Sometimes I think every fashionista can give me some inspiration on how to dress. I love observing people’s style in the street!

What is the biggest fashion trend today?

Well, I do not believe in fashion trend too much. I agree that the fashion trends advertised in magazines, televisions and online are beautiful, but it would be too boring if everyone blindly follows the trend and wears same items. It is best to find a style that fits you the most, whether it is body shape or personality. For example, I read that one-piece and metallic heels are popular now, but both items may not apply to every single girl. Victoria Beckham and Kate Middleton are both fashion icons but they dress differently. You have to first think about whether this trendy item makes you look better or not. Fashion trend rotates in a cycle, and there is always a comeback for some old items, which is called retro.

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Photo Credit: Harper’s Bazaar               Photo Credit: Elle

Another perspective I hold about fashion and style is that, the most expensive is not necessarily the best. The master of fashion knows how to wear a $50 dress like it is $1000. Olivia Palermo is a good example. She was often spotted wearing Zara, Topshop, Mango or Banana Republic, even at some important ceremonies. However, cheaper clothes never stopped her from looking gorgeous. She does not have a super model shape and is not very tall, but she looks like a super model when she is dressed up so well! You do not have to be obsessed with only luxury brands, like Louis Vuitton, Prada, Gucci, etc.

What are your fashion and career goals?

There are many options for me. I hope to work on the marketing/ PR side of luxury fashion brands and work all the way up to executive positions. I will strive to become a future fashion icon to be invited to all major fashion weeks in Paris, Milan, London and NY. I would also love to style celebrities in the future. My ultimate goal is to become a fashion inspirer to help more people join in the league of fashionistas and love themselves by embracing fashion.

Any highlights and inside scoop from LA Fashion Week?

On the last day of LA Fashion Week, I saw a group of people on wheelchairs and a few handicapped boys coming into the venue. I got very surprised when I heard that these people were models. They are so different from models we see on media, those who are tall, gorgeous and stylish. Actually the last show of LA fashion week was specially prepared for this marginalized community. Despite their physical disabilities, they are never forgotten by fashion. Every one has the right to pursue fashion and look good, no matter if you are healthy or not. Fashion is not only reserved to the model-looking people, but belongs to everyone. Inclusiveness is one of the charms of fashion.

What are some big things we can look forward to in the fashion industry?

I am not an authority in fashion industry, so this is a hard question. I see many oriental elements appearing in top fashion collections, such as Gucci, Fendi, Giorgio Armani. The application of oriental elements like embroidery, dragon, panda, Chinese knots are unique and innovative. Met Gala last year brought the oriental charm to the center of world New York with a theme called “The China, Through The Looking Glass”, the theme It is eye-opening for western customers and also caters to eastern customers. I expect there will be more cultural fusion in the fashion world in the future.

Last question, what are your favorite cocktails?

I love mojitos, piña coladas, and margaritas!

Cranberry Holiday Mojito

cranberry-mojito

Recipe and Photo by Betty Crocker

Ingredients

Ice

1/2

cup fresh mint, chopped

1/2

cup fresh or frozen cranberries, if desired

2

cups sugar-free sparkling cranberry juice

Splash 100% cranberry juice blend

6

oz (3/4 cup) clear rum

Directions

  • 1 Fill 3 tall mojito glasses with ice. Divide mint and cranberries evenly into glasses.
  • 2 Into each glass, pour 1/2 cup sparkling cranberry juice. Add to each a splash of cranberry juice and 1 1/2 oz rum; stir quickly to muddle flavors. Serve immediately.

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