Rachael Ray's Husband Wins Over Michelle Obama With Drink Recipes

Two powerful women in America met virtually recently, to discuss loss, gratitude, and new hobbies picked up during the COVID-19 pandemic. As a recent guest on the "Rachael Ray Show," former first lady Michelle Obama talked about her newfound love of knitting and heaped praise on Ray's big quarantine accomplishment, the new book "This Must Be the Place" (via Instagram). The book collects recipes and reflections on lessons learned during lockdown.

"It's amazing because it is so you," Obama told Ray, referring to the new book. "I just can't believe what you accomplished over a quarantine year. You put us all to shame!"

Quarantine times were extraordinarily eventful for Ray, and not all in a good way. First, she and husband John Cusimano lost their beloved 15-year-old dog Isaboo, who died in Ray's arms while Cusimano played the banjo (Isaboo's favorite instrument). Then, their stately home in the Adirondacks burned to the ground.

Rachael Ray and Cusimano have since rebuilt, and for good measure they completed renovation of a villa on land they own in Tuscany. Ray even invited Obama to Italy for Cusimano's spaghetti. When and if Ray and Cusimano host the Obamas for a dinner in the Tuscan hills, Cusimano may need to divide his time between the kitchen and the bar. Of all the good things Michelle Obama had to say about Ray's book "This Must Be the Place," she had extra love for the Cusimano cocktail recipes included in its pages.

John Cusimano offers the perfect Thanksgiving cocktail in Rachael Ray's new book

The nice thing about Michelle Obama's praise of Rachael Ray's new book "This Must Be the Place" was that you could tell Obama had actually read the book. Obama appreciated Ray's new essay/cookbook on two levels. "For those who pick up this book and read it, you're going to get stories about comfort and friendship and love and resilience, and you're also going to read about some good food like those Big Smack Burgers," Obama said (via Instagram).

It then became clear that Michelle and Barack Obama had tried more than just Ray's hamburgers. "Tell John, you know, just 'bow down' to his alcoholic beverage recipes thrown in there too," Obama said.

In recent weeks, a few of John Cusimano's cocktail recipes have been posted to the "Rachael Ray Show" website. At least one is from Ray's book "This Must Be the Place": Cusimano's "legendary fall cocktail," a deluxe vodka-cranberry that adds hard cider, orange juice, flamed orange peel, and rosemary. As Ray's website suggests, Cusimano's fall cocktail should pair nicely with a traditional Thanksgiving dinner. We expect Michelle Obama will pour a couple Cusimano fall cocktails for her and Barack this holiday season.