If you’ve picked up this book, you might already know the story of what happened between me and my ex, Tom Sandoval, because most of it played out on the Bravo show Vanderpump Rules
in early 2023. Tom and I were together for 9 years (like 56 years in dog years) before he had an affair with our co-star (and my friend at the time) Raquel Leviss. The media dubbed the event Scandoval.
Having the whole thing unfold publicly was painful. Everyone had their own hot take on all of the people involved, and it’s easy to lose sight of what is real and what isn’t when you’re in the middle of a storm of rumors and sensational headlines. I’ve had a lot of people support me throughout this time, and a lot of people treat me like a villain, or worse: like I deserved the betrayal that I was served.
Taking inspiration from classic albums about betrayal like Alanis Morissette’s Jagged Little Pill
, Kacey Musgraves’ Star-Crossed
, and Beyoncé’s Lemonade
, I wrote this book as a way of reclaiming the narrative—of channeling my pain into something creative instead of destructive.
I’ve been bartending since 2008, so making drinks has always been in my wheelhouse. When Tom and I were on the show together, it was also something that we did together—it’s how we met, and the reason why we wrote our first book, Fancy AF Cocktails
. It was something people associated with our relationship, but bartending has always, and will always, remain my thing. That’s why my “breakup album” is a book of cocktail recipes. This is me planting my flag in the ground, proving that I don’t have to give up a part of myself just because we are no longer together.
Getting betrayed is a universal experience—many of us have been there—so I wanted to share my side of the story through cocktails because I hope it helps others who are going through the same thing. During this time, I have seen such an outpouring of support that it has felt surreal and even overwhelming in moments. But more than anything, it has given me hope, and my wish is that if you relate to my story on a personal level, it makes you feel less alone, too.
In this book, you’ll find sixty cocktail recipes that follow the trajectory of a relationship that starts beautifully but ends in disaster. Each drink tells part of the story of what happened from my perspective—from when we first met, through the affair and its aftermath, to now as I am coming out the other side. These stories are all very real and very personal, written during an emotionally raw time in my life.
From the early days of getting to know each other better and traveling around the world (High Down Under, page 37) to our first home (Together Forever, page 44), the first chapter details my honeyed memories of the good times in our relationship. The middle two chapters—Betrayal and Devastation—recount the heart-wrenching moments that defined his infidelity, like when I found out about the affair (Explosion, page 73), and how strange it’s been to reflect on the events of the past year knowing he was sneaking around behind my back the entire time (Double Life, page 96). The final two chapters, Resilience and Ad Astra, tell the stories of when my family and friends rallied behind me (Support System, page 118) and of my journey back to feeling like an independent woman with renewed hope for the future (What Doesn’t Kill Me, page 146).
You can read the recipe headnotes from the beginning of the book to the end if you want the whole story, or if you’re just here for the cocktails, you can skip around to pick out a drink that best matches your situation. There are a lot of bomb-ass cocktail recipes to enjoy, and that is reason enough to dig in. In the back, you’ll find an index of all of the cocktails organized by base spirit or category, so you can quickly turn to a vodka or whiskey drink, for example. Most of these recipes are created for one—there’s no shame in enjoying a glass of sangria on your own after work—but if you want to scale up for a crowd, simply multiply the ingredient quantities by the number of people you are serving.
I hope you get something out of it all. Maybe my story will help you see red flags in your own relationship, or point out areas for personal growth, or encourage you to find your own voice in the wake of a bad breakup.
More than anything, going through this situation and writing this book have reminded me of the work I need to keep doing on myself. Although I was so hurt by the affair, the truth is that he has his own wonderful qualities and I have my own toxic traits too. I am fiercely loyal and trusting but am also impatient at times. I get in my own head constantly—always fearing that I am never enough. I’m quick to snap at people when I’m anxious, and I care too much about what people think. I can sometimes be frozen in my own state of depression if I’m down. Learning to love yourself is a process, one that’s so important for me to continue.
On a larger note, my goal is that this book shows that we can let go of the shame and embarrassment that can happen in these situations. I am not ashamed. I am not embarrassed. I believe everyone has the right to feel comfortable talking about these kinds of issues, even if it’s just with friends over drinks. Maybe this book will be a part of making that a reality.
When you get to the end, hopefully you feel the same way I did after going through this process: like I’ve closed the door on this chapter in my life, and I can move on. Let’s raise a glass to that—to all of the badass bitches coming out of horrible breakups stronger than before. We are all better off for it!
Copyright © 2023 by Ariana Madix. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.