A good read is a good read, but it’s even better with a cocktail! And you can quote me on that.
I’ve designed a compendium of cocktail and mocktail recipes to accompany pre-orders of my debut feminist horror novel, The Gold Persimmon, coming October 5 from the fabulous Creature Publishing. I crafted and tested six original drinks, each with their own corresponding mocktail, a process which made a sticky mess of my kitchen. But it was fun!
When you’re a burgeoning writer, nobody tells you how much non-writing work you’ll do to support a forthcoming book (ok, I guess they do but I didn’t listen.) From social media promotion to pitching review editors and booksellers, it’s like having a whole other job, and that’s after you spent years writing the actual novel! The way to get through it is absolutely to garner support from other writers—and support them in turn.
Which is how I came to offer my mixology services to fellow authors with books debuting in 2021. Within a few days, I was inundated with requests from writers looking for promo-worthy content, or drinks to add to their Book Club Guides (cuz we all know what REALLY goes on at book club meetings). Undaunted—ok, I was a little daunted at first. But I never back down from a cocktail challenge!—I dove right into reading these books and creating unique recipes to match their themes and “flavors.”
You know how when you do something for someone else, the one who benefits most is you? I feel so fortunate to have something to offer my fellow scribblers. Each time a writer is excited about their cocktail, it makes my day. Furthermore, many of the authors who’ve signed up write in genres I don’t typically read. Exploring literature outside your comfort zone is an awesome way to expand your horizons.
Ok, who needs a drink?
LODESTONE by Katherine Forrister
Lodestone-peddler Melaine is desperate to stop hustling her raw magic for a tuppence. When she achieves an audience with her childhood idol, the Overlord, she learns the people may all be prey to even more malevolent forces. Faced with menacing apparitions, ancient curses, and an even greater horror that could threaten the entire kingdom if unleashed, Melaine's penchant for survival is contested by her growing feelings for the Overlord.
1.5 oz bourbon
⅓ cup fresh blackberries
1 oz Drambuie
5 oz lemon juice
Place a large ice cube in a single rock glass and set aside.
In a shaker, muddle the berries. Add fresh ice then the bourbon, Drambuie, and lemon juice. Agitate vigorously and strain into the glass. Add a few drops of the bitters. If desired, garnish with a fresh blackberry, (decorated with edible gold leaf if you’re feeling fancy) set gently on the surface of the ice.
THE SPEED OF LIGHT by Elissa Grossell Dickey
The Speed of Light follows the emotional journey of Simone Archer as she rises to meet two separate crises. The first is a diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis, which forces her to come to terms with this unpredictable, incurable illness. The second is a horrific, violent event. In the meantime, she also launches into a new romance.
The Speed of Light
4 tsp cranberry liqueur
Pour sugar into a shallow dish. Then fit a lemon wedge to the lip of a champagne flute and slide it all the way around the rim. Dip the glass in the sugar and turn it by the stem until the rim is well coated. Next, pour the liqueur into the glass. Top with champagne and add a few drops of the walnut bitters.
THE BADDEST GIRL ON THE PLANET by Heather Frese
The Baddest Girl on the Planet is a coming of age novel set on the Outer Banks of NC. When Evie Austin meets Mike Tyson as a young girl, it sets her on a collision course with a bad reputation that follows her for years in her small island community. Through the course of her relationships, Evie must navigate and reclaim what it means to be “bad.”
The Baddest Girl on the Planet
2 oz spiced rum
2 oz pineapple juice
1 oz heavy cream
1 oz blue curaçao
1 tsp saffron syrup (optional but encouraged)
Dash cardamom bitters
A slice of fresh orange
If making your own, prepare the syrup in advance, allowing time for it to cool.
To make the syrup, combine 1 cup granulated sugar, 1 cup water, and ¼ tsp. saffron in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Lower heat and allow to simmer for 20 minutes. Then remove from heat and let cool to room temperature. Strain into a clean jar, cover and keep refrigerated.
Once the syrup is ready, fill a tall glass with ice and set aside.
In a shaker with fresh ice, combine the rum, cream, pineapple juice, blue curaçao, saffron syrup, and a few drops of cardamom bitters. Agitate vigorously for about 40 seconds. Then strain into the glass with ice. If desired, top with whipped cream, a cherry, and a slice of orange.
THE LOCKHART WOMEN by Mary Camarillo
Brenda Lockhart’s family has been living well beyond their means for too long when Brenda’s husband leaves them and the family’s economic situation quickly declines. Oldest daughter Peggy is certain she’s heading off to a university. Younger daughter Allison, a high school senior, can’t believe her luck that California golden boy Kevin has fallen in love with her. Meanwhile, the chatter about the O. J. Simpson murder investigations is always on in the background, a media frenzy that underscores domestic violence against women and race and class divisions in Southern California.
The Lockhart Women
1.5 oz bourbon
1 oz amaretto
.5 oz lemon juice
Chill a small single rock glass in the freezer, or at the back of the fridge.
Once the glass is frosty, add ice to a shaker and pour in the bourbon, amaretto, and lemon juice. Agitate vigorously and strain into the glass. Add a few drops of orange bitters. Next, peel a strip of orange peel, including some of the pith. Twist over the drink to release the oils and drop into the glass.
The Gold Persimmon will be launching from NYC! Creature Publishing and I will be at the Brooklyn Book Festival the weekend of October 4. Stay tuned for other NYC events that same week.