An Elegant Play on the Manhattan with a Hint of Apricot Captures the Spirit of Freedom for LGBTQ

published Jun 1, 2022
Roads Beyond Rhodes Recipe

Roads Beyond Rhodes is a deft combination of Amontillado sherry with apricot liqueur in Tiffanie Barriere’s homage to Alain Locke, the first African American Rhodes Scholar.

Makes1 drink

Prep3 minutes

Jump to Recipe
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wavy surface with cocktail and hard boiled eggs
Credit: Photo: Heami Lee; Food Stylist: Jessie YuChen; Prop Stylist: Beth Pakradooni

American philosopher, educator, and patron of the arts Alain Locke was the first African American Rhodes Scholar and became known as the father of the Harlem Renaissance. Locke was an out homosexual and encouraged and supported other gay African Americans who were part of this monumental movement.

Writers such as Langston Hughes and Countee Cullen, whose sexuality was a topic of speculation and rumor, hid their sexuality in their writings and even married women to mask their bisexuality. Due to the stigma in the 1930s and 1940s about what was a socially acceptable expression of African American personhood, be it straight or LGBTQ, it was unlikely to see any person of color openly express their sexuality. During this time, homosexual liaisons had to be hidden, so people used codes in letters to friends, poetry, and even signed letters to their beloved with a pseudonym.

But Harlem had its own rules. Harlem — a place of art, music, fashion, creativity, and style — allowed freedom on a level no place in the world could offer a Black human. Social clubs allowed comfort, via an experience of free expression in liquid form, that played an important role in the construction of the Harlem Renaissance and the gay community.

Locke contributed to all movements that championed the rights of marginalized individuals, with a special emphasis on those who exhibited a creative bent. He promoted diversity and relationships in the Black community while encouraging education about the traditions of other cultures, with a heavy focus on bringing them all together. Locke’s work tapped into emotion and spirituality all while amplifying his voice for his two communities: Black and Queer.

What makes this time in history poignant is that in the midst of the Harlem Renaissance, when African American voices were gaining acknowledgment for their contributions to art and literature, an important aspect of the inner life of one of its seminal figures remained hidden from public view, thus obscuring the full brilliance of his message.

In spite of that, Locke’s voice and influence remains powerful and resonant, although it may beckon in a whispering tone, much like this cocktail inspired by his work and legacy.

Roads Beyond Rhodes Recipe

Roads Beyond Rhodes is a deft combination of Amontillado sherry with apricot liqueur in Tiffanie Barriere’s homage to Alain Locke, the first African American Rhodes Scholar.

Prep time 3 minutes

Makes 1 drink

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • Ice

  • 1 ounce

    amontillado sherry

  • 1/2 ounce

    brandy

  • 1/4 ounce

    apricot liqueur

  • 2 dashes

    Peychaud’s Bitters

  • 1 (2-inch long) piece

    fresh orange peel

Instructions

  1. Refrigerate or freeze a small stemmed cocktail glass (such as a Nick and Nora) until chilled, or fill the glass with ice and let it sit to chill while you prepare the cocktail.

  2. Place 1 ounce amontillado sherry, 1/2 ounce brandy, 1/4 ounces apricot liqueur, and 2 dashes Peychaud’s Bitters in a cocktail shaker or mixing glass. Fill the shaker with ice and stir until very cold, about 10 seconds.

  3. Discard the ice in the cocktail glass if needed. Pour the cocktail through a strainer into the chilled glass. Twist 1 piece fresh orange peel over the drink to release the essential oils, then garnish the drink with the peel.