Pride Week Drink: The Debbie Gibson

IMG_4651I never do much for Gay Pride. In fact, I typically go into hiding, which makes it very much like every other weekend of the year for me.

I don’t go to parades for fear of raining on them. I prefer to avoid the crowds because I’ve never cared for large masses of drunk people of any ilk. I much prefer to do my drinking in more intimate settings and with as few people as possible. Like my apartment, for example.

I can’t wear pink, because it has an unfortunate effect on my skin tone; I prefer my rainbows in the sky; and I never, ever get my money’s worth at a beer bust because I get the hiccups if I drink from a keg too quickly.

In many ways, I am a terrible homosexual.

And yet I am very happy that Pride Weekend exists. I enjoy the idea of the parties, the celebrations, and the parade and all wonderful gaudiness these things invite. I love them because I know they’re important for other people who need them.

I prefer to celebrate in my own way. Much more quiet-like. I’ll be watching old movies featuring Franklin Pangborn, Judith Anderson, and Eric Blore. While imbibing a smart cocktail or two.

And to honor Pride, I’ll be drinking something I’ve created for by myself and for myself. Something pink and strong with a ridiculous name.

Something I like to call The Debbie Gibson.

It satisfies four important, personal needs:

1. Its name harkens back to the period in which both Ms. Gibson experienced a brief vogue and, more importantly, I first started exploring and accepting my own gayness– sneaking into West Hollywood clubs in the late 1980s. Alternately terrified of getting caught and exhilarated by the knowledge that I was surrounded by people with whom I had something fundamentally in common.

2. It gives a nod to the 1930s*, when pink gin was all the rage among the lavender set.

3. Drinking more than two of them will knock you silly.

4. It’s pink, which makes me feel as if I’m doing something important, Pride-wise.


The Debbie Gibson

Named in honor of the Queen of 80s Bubblegum Pop, the consumption of which might cause you do to forget whatever you might need to. Including the career of Ms. Gibson herself.** It is bubblegum in color, but nowhere near bubblegum in flavor. It is as dry as Edward Everett Horton’s delivery.

Makes: One Stiff, Pink Drink. 


• 2 1/2 ounces dry gin
• 1/2 ounce dry vermouth
• An unheard of amount of Peychaud bitters
• Cocktail onions
• Ice cubes


1. Place as many cocktail onions as you think you might need for the time being into a small container. Shake your bitters into the vessel until the onions are submerged. Let sit for at least two hours, unmolested. In the interim, you may wish to contact the Peychaud organization, sharing your innovative way to get customers to use a tremendous amount of their product at one time.

2. Fill a small cocktail shaker with ice. Pour over your gin and vermouth. Stir until extremely well chilled. Strain the liquid contents into a clean cocktail glass.

3. With precision, impale one or two now-pink cocktail onions with a cocktail pick. Or, if you are poor and/or unprepared, a toothpick.

4. Gently place the skewered onion(s) into your gin mixture and retire to a comfortable chair or divan.

5. Seductively swirl the onion into your drink until it’s as pink as you please while you listen to one of Debbie Gibson’s greatest hits, like “Electric Dreams” or “I Think We’re Alone Now“. It doesn’t matter one bit if it was actually Tiffany who sang the latter, because no one of any value has ever been able to tell the two singers apart.

6. Drink it alone, because the only one you’ll be seducing is yourself.

*To me, the most fascinating decade of the 20th Century.

**Although this can easily be done sober.


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About Michael Procopio

I write about food and am very fond of Edward Gorey. And gin.
This entry was posted in Holidays, Liquids and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

18 Responses to Pride Week Drink: The Debbie Gibson

  1. AllesK says:

    “Shake your…” love “…bitters…”

  2. carole says:

    I once made a gallon of something we named The Pirate’s Pink Panties. If I could remember the recipe I’d have shared it, but after a couple of glasses it induced amnesia. As I assume the Debbie G would do as well!

  3. You always make me laugh. And that is not easy to do. Thanks!

  4. teawithhazel says:

    crowds are awful..can’t do them either..or queues..there’s nothing on the planet i’d line up for for more than five minutes..except if i had to feed my children..but they’re grown up now so they can do their own lining up..never heard of debbie gibson..but speaking of children..i was off the air during the 80’s looking after them..could have done with a few of these cocktails then..and your funny posts..

  5. Oh Debbie! That’s just fantastic. And took me right back to San Diego (and occasionally LA if we decided to make the trek) in the late 80s, dancing with my friends, and celebrating weird selves together. Thank you.

  6. CookBot says:

    All hail the great Eric Blore. Two words: Susquehanna Jail.

  7. Neil says:

    Michael, Apparently there is a tragic element to Debbie Gibson (and Tiffany?) fandom. I don’t count myself among her devotees, but I do like gin and vermouth. In the late 1980s I was a sort of orderly at the preteen unit of a mental hospital, and we had an adolescent patient who would sit and rock for what seemed like hours to the strains of her music. I wonder where he is now. I’ll have to drink one of these babies to his health . . . and yours.

    • Neil– This is both sad, wonderful, and fascinating at the same time. I think. Did Gibson’s music soothe the patient along with the rocking, or did it cause distress? Please have one of these babies for me, because I’m on the wagon this week.


  8. kitchenbeard says:

    I spent Pride selling premixed cocktails (water! sugar! color! and a smidge of flavored vodka!) for charity at the Civic Center and the experience left me with a distinct distaste for the masses. Especially any human being, gay or straight, who utters the words “woo hoo” above a whisper. I think next year I shall withdraw to the calm of a sunny pool side where bathing suits are optional and well mixed cocktails are free flowing.

    • Is water!sugar!color! a watered down version of Love! Valour! Compassion!?

      Frankly, I disapprove of anyone saying “woo hoo” at all. Unless it is done in the style of Droopy. Then I approve of it most highly.

      And just a reminder: sunny poolsides with clothing optional bathing and free-flowing cocktails (well-mixed or not) can result in sun stroke.

  9. Chris Bryant says:

    Thank you for those film links. Edward Everett Horton is up there on top along with Thelma Ritter in my supporting-actors-that-steals-the-show pantheon.

    • Chris,

      I’m glad you watched them. I love Thelma Ritter. Whenever shares their excitement over finding Doris Day parking, I can’t help but wonder what Thelma Ritter parking would entail.

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