What’s the best way to read all of “Paradise Lost” or “The Brothers Karamazov?” Listen to the audio book? Read an abridged version?
Tim Federle’s “Tequila Mockingbird: Cocktails with a Literary Twist” contains an interesting solution — cocktails.
The 2013 release is the first in a line of literary and film-inspired cocktail recipe books. Each drink is titled after the name of a literary work, such as “Brave New Swirled” and “A Midsummer Night’s Beam,” and each comes with a correlating recipe.
For example, “One Hundred Beers of Solitude,” based on the novel “One Hundred Years of Solitude” by Gabriel Garcia Márquez, has a lemonade base, due to the yellow and gold imagery Márquez uses throughout the novel.
A relief is that many of drinks don't call for intense, highly specific ingredients. Though "Drankenstein" required melon liqueur, this is unusual and most cocktails draw from a common collection of liquor, beer and wines college students would be familiar with. Smaller ingredients, such as mint, club soda or frozen lemonade, are easy to grab on your next grocery run or excluded altogether if one is feeling too lazy to follow the recipe to the letter.
Grab a book, mix a drink and cozy up by the fireplace. Here is a sample of Federle’s recipes to help get you through the majority of “Moby Dick” that has nothing to do with narrative.
Based on the modern perception of Frankenstein that emerged from Mary Shelley’s 1818 novel “Frankenstein,” this drink delivers a sweet and carbonated shock to the system. Like Shelley’s Creature, the drink’s mellow body reflects the naiveté of the world’s beauty, and the horrible realization we are all lost to it. Become alive, and in the meantime, learn who Frankenstein really is.
1 ounce melon liqueur
1 ounce tequila
1 12-ounce can club soda
Combine in a highball glass with ice.
The Pitcher of Dorian Grey Goose
Oscar Wilde's "The Picture of Dorian Gray" is a classic novel of youth and immortality. Students, with this crisp, bright cocktail, you can hold on to the dwindling days of youth, beauty and irresponsibility before the horrendous weight of reality comes crashing terribly down. Your liver will age, but you’ll be young forever, right?
(Makes 8 drinks)
10 sprigs fresh mint, washed
1 12-ounce can frozen lemonade concentrate
2 cups vodka (Federle recommends Grey Goose, for a bourgeoisie flavor on brand for the likes of Wilde)
Cucumber for garnish
Tear the mint and place it in a pitcher. Add the lemonade concentrate and stir until thawed. Pour in the vodka and 3 cups cold water, stir. Serve over ice, garnish with cucumber. Live in eternal youth.
If these recipes don't sate your appetite for novel-inspired drinks, Federle's next literature-inspired recipe book, "Are You There God? It's Me, Margarita: More Cocktails with a Literary Twist" is a must read.