Credit: Brian Guido

Cyndi Fecher and Brian J. Solem, founders and editors of Graze magazine, are downing:

Letherbee Gin After the release party for Graze’s first issue, we needed a good, stiff drink—emphasis on good. Naturally, we headed to Lula Cafe, our kitchen-away-from-home, where we discovered two things: the jade-colored Green Garter cocktail, which is a tango between attractive opposites jalapeno and cucumber, and the gin that makes the Green Garter extra special.

Produced by Lula Cafe’s head bartender, Brent Engel, and wine distributor Miriam Matasar, Letherbee Gin has an outstanding balance of floral flavors and juniper crispness to pair with just about any gin-friendly cocktail. We like that it’s a local, moderately priced spirit that we want to drink for the taste—not just because we want to support Chicago-area distilleries. Cyndi drinks it with a squeeze of lime or a home-brewed shrub, while Brian likes to watch its phosphorescence blush with splashes of Campari and sweet vermouth. We think you’ll like it just about any way.

Keith Ecker, producer/host of Essay Fiesta and Guts & Glory, is meditating on:

A Universe From Nothing When I find myself fretting about paying the bills or keeping to my gym routine, I’m comforted by the fact that one day the sun will explode, our galaxy will collide with another, and eventually the universe will expand and cool down to a point where it can no longer sustain life. That’s why I’ve really been digging A Universe From Nothing: Why There Is Something Rather Than Nothing, theoretical physicist Lawrence Krauss’s most recent book, which details the theories behind why stuff exists and what will one day happen to all of it.

Although Krauss sometimes veers into territory that bewilders my nerdy brain, I still can appreciate the beauty of cosmological theories that explain how order seemingly arises from chaos and the scientific creativity of the physicist’s mind. A staunch atheist—sometimes annoyingly so—Krauss sprinkles in some interesting factoids about religion and science. (Did you know the first person to propose a big bang was a priest?) Also, the theories on dark matter and dark energy illustrate just how science fact can be equally as fantastic as science fiction.

Mare Swallow, founder of the Chicago Writers Conference is smashing the patriarchy with:

How to Be a Woman I’m reading How to Be a Woman, by Caitlin Moran. It’s hilarious.

I don’t know when or why feminism became a bad word. Caitlin makes the case for why it’s not a bad word, and why all people with vaginas should stand up, be feminists, and be proud. And she does so with such biting, insightful, and incisive humor. She shreds all modern forms of bullshit against women (my words), such as thongs and the pressure to wax. Her description of a porno close-up had me laughing so hard my sides hurt, I fell off the couch, and couldn’t catch my breath. I tried in vain to read the passage to my husband—I couldn’t get through it without laughing.