Comedic memoirs are often ideal travel reading, and You Deserve a Drink, out today from YouTube mixologist Mamrie Hart, is no exception. With a telling tagline—”Boozy misadventures and tales of debauchery”—and pithy chapters about everything from an accidental stay at a nudist resort in Key West to the comedian’s first night in New York City, this collection of essays will leave you laughing even as your flight is delayed for a third time.
“My goal with this book is for it to be easy for people to pick it up and put it down—hopefully they won’t want to put it down—but it’s a paperback. You can throw it in your beach bag, in your purse to read on the subway, or in your car while you wait to pick up the kids from school,” Hart said of her writing.
“I want people to use this book as a little break from everyday stress, even more so if you’re able to read it with a cocktail, because we all deserve a drink.”
Here, the comedian-turned-author shares her favorite travel beauty products, her preferred in-flight beverage, and more.
Tell me about why you wanted to write a book of essays.
This is my collection of true stories from throughout my life—a couple from childhood, but mainly from college and my 20s in New York. I noticed that a lot of weird stuff happened to me and/or I’m completely irresponsible, so I have a lot of stories that always come up in conversation. I wanted to get those down on paper before I party too hard and forget ’em. No—I’m kidding!
It’s a collection of stories, and each chapter title is also a correlating drink recipe. So ideally, you can sit down with the recipe from the chapter and drink a cocktail while you read.
What chapter would you suggest reading if someone was stuck in an airport with a flight delay?
I guess it kind of depends on what mood you’re in. I’d hope to think that any chapter would be able to break through a terrible flight delay bad mood, but if I have to pick one, I would suggest reading the chapter that’s called Quickshots: Terrible Flying Experiences because I talk about my worst flights, layovers, delays. They’re so ridiculous that no matter what situation you’re in, it’s going to feel like paradise compared to those. It’ll put it in perspective for ya.
What makes a great cocktail on an airplane?
I’m a big fan of having a Bloody Mary on the plane. People say to take your vitamins because people get sick on planes all the time. I say Bloody Marys have lots of vitamin C in the tomato juice and especially if you throw in a lime or a lemon—so that’s my first defense from getting sick on a plane. I would also avoid things that are carbonated—champagnes and sodas and what not—because I feel like the air pressure naturally makes you feel gassy. So avoid the bubbles.
Window seat or aisle?
Aisle always. I don’t want to make someone stand up—I don’t want someone to control my bladder.
Check or Carry-on?
I check everything—I always keep my computer and the vitals with me in a big ole crazy Mary Poppins purse, but I check everything because of delays—I don’t want to be chained to it. Luggage becomes a ball and chain if you’re stuck in an airport.
Who would be your ultimate celebrity travel partner?
I’m contractually obligated to say Grace Helbig, but my ultimate travel partner—hmm, who is a celebrity with a very soothing voice?—I think it would be like a Morgan Freeman or a Kathleen Turner. They don’t need to talk to me, they just need to talk to put me to sleep.
What do you miss about L.A. when you’re traveling?
I’m a vegan, sadly. [laughs] So when I’m traveling on the road, unless it’s to a major city, I get screwed for things to eat. Doing the travel show or doing the comedy tour, if we’re not in a major city, a lot of times my meals end up being potato and salad.
So as soon as I get home to L.A.—like in the car on the way back to my place—I order from my favorite Mexican restaurant, Mixto. They have vegan burritos and kale salads and all your stereotypical L.A. stuff, and I order it so it will get to my door five minutes after I do. I have it down to a system: a kale salad and a soy chorizo burrito. It’s amazing.
A favorite series on your YouTube channel is called "Mask Me Anything." Do you have a favorite face mask? Or any favorite travel beauty products?
I’m not loyal to one face mask. I prefer to travel with the kind in individual packets, just because you run less of a chance of things exploding. So I do always bring some face masks, and now they have these eye gel patches that rehydrate your skin kind of like old-school cucumbers would—but I prefer my cucumbers in martinis, so these are perfect.
A new thing I’m doing is I bring a travel candle with me for my hotel room because some hotel rooms are just so sterile smelling, so I bring a little travel candle to light.
And I always bring dry shampoo. I always travel with always worst-case scenario in my brain, so even if you think you’re going to have time to get to the hotel after your red-eye, and shower and then go to the meeting it might not happen, so always be prepared.
Do you have a go-to travel outfit?
I wear slip-on shoes. I don’t care how stereotypical it is to wear big Uggs, but hey, I’m not hatin' on it in the security line. I always wear my glasses instead of my contacts, because I tend to fall asleep on planes, and you’ll wake up and feel like you have cardboard in your eyes, if you wear contacts on the plane.
I also like rockin' a scarf because sometimes you’ll fall asleep on a plane and realize that you’ve been sleeping with your mouth open like a total trout, so you can always put a scarf over your head.
Where are you most excited to go next?
The book tour kicks off in Chicago, but I’m going to be in New York City for the day of the release, and so I’m going to do a signing there, and I’m really excited because the first chapter of my book is about my first day in New York, and the city is just so ingrained in the book and who I am, so I’m really excited to be there and feel the full circle-ness of me arriving in New York City in the first chapter, and no coming back to it and having this book. It feels really, really cool. I’m really grateful.
Caroline Hallemann is the associate digital editor at Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Twitter at @challemann.