If you’re looking for validation for disappointing your parents by not going to medical school this is the perfect book. This Is Going to Hurt: Secret Diaries of a Junior Doctor by Adam Kay is a recounting of his years spent as a medical doctor in the UK. His stories of patient care and life as a medical professional in the National Health Service are both hilarious and harrowing. If you’re into this kind of thing I highly recommend reading this book.
The Penicillin has been on my list of classic cocktails for a while, how could I resist pairing it with this read. Originally created by New York bartender Sam Ross, this cocktail hasn’t been around for as long as some classics, but due to its popularity I’m counting it. This whiskey based cocktail earns its name by combining the medicinal flavors of honey, lemon and ginger. There are a tonne of variations on this drink, but I used the specs from liquor.com
Next weeks books is My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite.
2 oz. blended scotch (lots of people suggest Famous Grouse, I used Low Gap)
3/4 oz. lemon juice
3/4 oz. honey ginger syrup
1/4 oz. Isley scotch (Laphroaig or Lagavulan)
Combine the blended scotch, lemon juice and honey-ginger syrup in a shaker with ice. Shake until chilled and pour into a rocks glass over fresh ice. Top with the Isley scotch and garnish with candied ginger.
The Wildling Sisters by Eve Chase was recommended to me after one of my previous posts, mystery in the English country side, I’m in! The book follows two storylines, one of four sisters in the 1950’s, and one of a woman named Jesse in present day. Both stories converge at a country estate called Applecote Manor where a young girl once went missing. This was a really lovely read that explores the strength of the bonds women create with each other, in between enough intrigue to keep my interest. This is a hauntingly beautiful story, well written with lots of Gothic overtones. I loved this book, and I highly recommend reading it.
In order to find the perfect cocktail to accompany this book I looked to what people where drinking in 1950’s Britain. Sloe Gin was very popular in the UK, and I thought a Sloe Gin Fizz would be the perfect thing for the Wildling Sisters. Like a lot of classic cocktails there are a few ways to make this drink depending on how much sweetness you like, and the quality of your sloe gin. I personally like mine with a full shot of Sipsmiths Sloe Gin, and no simple syrup.
Sloe Gin Fizz
1 oz. Sloe Gin
1 oz. Gin
0.75 oz. lemon juice
0.5 oz. simple syrup
3-4 oz. club soda
Combine all ingredients, except the club soda, into a shaker with ice and shake until chilled. Strain into a high-ball glass filled with ice and top with club soda. Garnish with a lemon slice and a cherry.
Books & Booze: Unseen City: The Majesty of Pigeons, the Discreet Charm of Snails & Other Wonders of the Urban Wilderness and A Bee’s Knees
Unseen City by Nathanael Johnson takes a look at the un-noticed natural world that exists all around our urban homes. While we are all stuck in our houses, I thought this would be the perfect time to learn more about where I live. I spent my childhood roaming forests and hunting frogs. My father who was a bit of a mountain man, taking us foraging for puff balls that we would take home and cook for dinner. Now, I live 3000 miles away in a large city in a different country, and on the opposite coast from where I grew up. I know shamefully little about the natural world around where I live. As I sat reading this book on my back porch I was watching in real time the animal behaviors and insect life that Johnson had described. I loved this book, if you’re feeling a bit trapped by our current situation pick this up, you won’t regret it.
I thought a Bee’s Knees would be the perfect cocktail to go with this book. The simplest of cocktails, just three ingredients two of which are local honey and lemons picked from my yard. This a prohibition era cocktail and its simplicity makes it the perfect showcase for the gin that is used.
Next weeks book is The Wildling Sisters by Eve Chase. As always scroll down to find the recipe to make your own Bee’s Knees.
Bee’s Knees (Robert Simonson)
2 oz. Highclere London Dry Gin
.75 oz. Lemon juice
.5 oz. Honey syrup (1:1 honey and water)
Combine all ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice and shake until chilled. Strain into a coupe glass and garnish with a lemon twist.
Books and Booze: The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampire’s and the Chatham Artillery Punch
I fully expected this book to be a fun and light-hearted, maybe sightly cheesy, vampire story, I blame Charlene Harris for making this a thing. Shockingly, it turns out The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampire’s Grady Hendrix is something else entirely. This book was a whole roller-coaster of emotions for me, I actually had to put it down and walk away at one point because I was so furious. What initially sounded like a bit of fluff actually ends up being a scathing indictment of misogyny and white privilege, which I did not see coming. I loved how surprised I was by this book, and I highly recommend reading it.
Last week I asked for suggestions as I was struggling to find a classic cocktail to go with this book, and I’m so glad I did. I had never heard of Chatham Artillery Punch before, but as soon as I read the description in a coldglass.com article calling it “An iron fist in a velvet glove”, I knew that it was the perfect choice for a book about a bunch of Southern ladies slaying vampires. According to the same article this punch was created in Savanah in the 1850’s for a banquet being thrown by the Chatham Artillery Regiment. The original recipe is measured by the bottle, and is absolutely terrifying. With a little math you can make this as a single serving and it’s way tastier than it has any right to be. One word of warning, this punch will hit you like a freight train so drink with caution.
Next weeks read is The Mysterious Affair at Styles by Agatha Christie. I would love any of your book recommendations for the upcoming weeks. Scroll down to make your own Chatham Artillery Punch.
Chatham Artillery Punch (original recipe in brackets)
1/2 - 2/3 oz. Lemon juice (12 lemons)
1 oz. Demerara syrup (2 cups raw sugar)
1 oz. Bourbon or Rye (1 750m bottle)
1 oz. Cognac (1 750m bottle)
1 oz. Dark Jamaican Rum (1 750m bottle)
2-3 oz. Champagne (3 750m bottles)
Mix everything, except the champagne, in a shaker with ice (or a punchbowl). Pour contents of shaker including the ice into a glass, I recommend using a tea cup. Top with champagne and garnish with a lemon slice.
I didn’t know anything about the book, Lethal White by Robert Galbraith, when I choose it. I’ve seen this book everywhere, and have been avoiding it like the plague. It was pretty much the only thing I could find on loan from the library in ebook format, and I was desperate. This is why you shouldn’t judge a book (especially) by its cover. It’s about private detectives, and even though it’s the fourth in a series, I loved it! It perfectly walks the line of entertaining without being cheesy, and gritty without being boring. The characters are realistically flawed, but not so much that you want to murder them. And oh yeah, Robert Galbraith is actually JK Rowling. You have known this forever I’m sure, but I have been living under a rock. I’m reading the rest of the series immediately!
I don’t want to ruin anything for you, but spoiler alert, this book is about horses. English people and horses? I’m going to have to go with a Pimm’s Cup as my classic cocktail on this one. While this is really the unofficial drink of Wimbledon, it still works for me on a stereotypical level, so you’re going to have to deal with it. I have actually made a Pimm’s Cup before, but this one is directly from the back of the bottle, and its pretty great! James Pimm developed the Pimm’s No. 1 Cup in London in the 1800’s, while it is a top-secret recipe we do know that No.1 is Gin based. This is a really great warm-weather, low ABV cocktail, I highly recommend enjoying while playing croquet, watching horses or to ease the boredom of a tennis match…
Next weeks read is The Southern Book Club's Guide to Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix. I'm still trying to figure what classic cocktail to pair with it so any suggestions would be appreciated. As always scroll down to see how you can make your very own Pimm's Cup cocktail.
1.50 oz. Pimm’s No. 1 Cup
Fever Tree Ginger Ale
Garnish with lemon, lime and strawberry’s
Pour Pimm’s into a glass half full of ice, top with ginger ale.
This weeks book is Let’s Pretend This Never Happened: A Mostly True Memoir by Jenny Lawson. This book is full of stories about Jenny Lawson’s colorful and hilarious life. I love Jenny Lawson’s writing, and I’ve actually been saying this book for when I really need something that’s going to make me laugh so hard that I cry. Lately, I have put down more than one book because I can’t handle anything even remotely depressing while being stuck in the house with my children for way too long. If you want to find out how roadkill hand-puppets are funny, and be inspired by someone overcoming all of the bullshit that life can throw at them, read this now! Also, you’ll laugh until moisture drips from your eyeballs… I guarantee it.
I really have no basis for choosing an Americano to go with this book except that Jenny Lawson is American… and I’m pretty sure she would tell me to do what ever the fuck I want. According to thespruceeats.com the Americano was originally created in the late 1800’s at Gaspare Campari’s bar in Milan, Italy. The Americano, originally named a Milano-Torino, is the laid back day drinking version of the Negroni. Equal parts Sweet Vermouth and Campari topped with soda water make this a lighter, brighter version, renamed after its popularity with American tourists. A Negroni is one of my favorite cocktails, so it’s highly embarrassing to admit that not only had I never made one, but I had never even tasted an Americano before. Luckily, I have remedied this and just in time, because I’m pretty sure this is my new favorite summer cocktail!
Scroll down for the recipe to make your own Americano. Next weeks book will be Lethal White by Robert Galbraith if you want to read along. I would love any book suggestions or classic cocktail requests if you’ve got them, leave them in the comments.
1.50 oz. Campari
1.50 oz. Sweet Vermouth
3.00 oz. Soda Water
Garnish with half orange slice
Pour Campari and Vermouth into and old fashion glass filed with ice and top with soda water.
This weeks read is The Girl With All The Gifts by M.R. Carey. This is essentially a post-apocalyptic zombie story so if you’re experiencing any anxiety about our current situation you might want to take a pass on reading this right now. If you already started reading it and are now pissed and having a panic attack…I’m sorry, my bad. I actually do mean that, because even though I think that I’m pretty unflappable about these kinds of things, this book was actually a little scary. Even though it might have been the part that scared me the most, I’m in love with the creativeness of using a fungus as the pathogen. I think there is a real lesson about plant-blindness and the earth reclaiming itself from humankind, but maybe I’m overthinking it. If you’ve read this book, what did you think of it? Did you find it scary? Do you think Miss Justineau got what she deserved in the end?
A Zombie was the obvious choice to accompany this book, especially since I’ve already made a Corpse Reviver… I did a little research, and it turns out that there are about a thousand different recipes for a Zombie. This is because Donn of Don the Beachcomber fame, the original creator, was totally paranoid and encoded the recipe, listing ingredients by numbers that corresponded to unlabeled bottles. Thanks to Beachbum Berry’s diligence most of the original recipe has been cobbled together, including the mysterious Don’s Mix. Supposedly, Donn referred to this drink as “the mender of broken dreams” so drinking one of these will make you feel a bit better if this book freaked you out, no more than two as per Donn’s instructions. If you want to read more about this drink or Tiki culture, check out beachbumberry.com. I personally love a good Tiki drink and a good Tiki bar, what’s your favorite?
Next weeks book is Let’s Pretend This Never Happened (A Mostly True Memoir) by Jenny Lawson. It’s hilarious and not scary at all, I promise. I you want to make your own Zombie scroll down!
0.75 oz. lime juice
0.05 oz. Falernum
1.50 oz. Gold Puerto Rican Rum
1.50 oz. Dark Jamaican Rum
1.00 oz. 151 Demerara Rum
1 tsp. Grenadine
6 drops Pernod
1 dash Angostura Bitters
0.50 oz. Don's Mix
Combine in a blender with 6 oz. of ice and blend for approx. 5 seconds. Pour into a tiki glass and garnish with an umbrella.
I don’t think there is another book in existence that will make you want a breakfast cocktail more than Dashiell Hammett’s The Thin Man. This is one of Hammett’s fantastic detective stories, written in the 1930’s with all of the glamour and cocktails of the era. I loved this book, the 1930”s nostalgia, the twist ending, and most importantly quick talking duo that is Nick and Nora. That’s right your favorite glassware is named after the main characters from this book.
While literally every character in this book drinks constantly, from first waking until late into the night, only a few actual drinks are named. Mostly, the characters are just mixing numerous unnamed cocktails. To me this means a classic (Gin, is there any other kind?) Martini. I’m ashamed to admit that I’ve never had a classic Martini, as I’ve always ordered them very dry and dirty, like my Nana taught me. Since this cocktail is most likely named after Martini Dry Vermouth, appearing in Frank Newman’s 1904 bar guide, American Bar, as a Dry Martini, the vermouth seems like it might be a key component to this drink. Scroll down for the recipe so you can make your own classic Martini.
Have you read The Thin Man, what did you think of the book? What’s your preferred Martini? Let me know in the comments. And if you’d like to read along, next weeks book will be The Girl With All The Gifts by M.R. Carey.
Martini (Meehan’s Bartender Manual)
2.24 oz. Monkey 47 Gin
0.75 oz. Dolin Dry Vermouth
Garnish: 1 olive
Stir with ice and strain into a Nick and Nora glass. Express lemon peel over the top of the drink and garnish with an olive.
I find my self with no where to go and a little more time on my hands and I am bored... you too? Well then maybe you would like to join me for my new book and booze blog series. Once a week I will post my most recent read along with a classic cocktail, a little description of the book along with some cocktail history, why I paired them together. This is going to be a huge learning experience for me, along with the books I will also be doing some more fun creative photos and don't tell anyone but I haven't actually made many classic cocktails. I know a week isn't a very long time, but If you'd like to follow along I will post next weeks book at the end of this post and on my instagram.
For my first book, I read Working Stiff: Two Years, 262 Bodies, and the Making of a Medical Examiner by Judy Melinek and T.J. Mitchell. This is the story of Dr. Judy Melinek and her journey from Surgery Resident to N.Y.C. Medical Examiner. It covers specific cases and interesting happenings, including the aftermath of the attacks on 9/11, during her two years of training in the New York City Medical Examiners office. I loved this book, it was brilliantly written and I couldn't put it down. I wouldn’t describe this as excessively gory, but if you don’t like dead bodies or parts of dead bodies this is probably not for you.
If you weren’t put off already by my book choice then hopefully you’ll see why I had to go with the classic Corpse Reviver No., for obvious reasons. Why no.2? Well according to Meehan’s Bartender Manual a corpes reviver was originally any drink consumed after waking up with a hangover. The original No.2 variation comes from The 1930’s edition of The Savoy cocktail Book. Instead of making that recipe I have taken the note from Jim Meehan and swapped out the Tempus Fugit Kina L’Aero d’Or, and I added a garnish for fun. If you'd like to make your own Corpse Reviver No.2 scroll down. And if you'd like to read along next weeks book will be Dashiell Hammett's The Thin Man.
Corpse Reviver #2
0.75 oz. Highclere Castle Gin
0.75 oz. Cointreau
0.75 oz. Lillet Blanc
0.75 oz. lemon juice
Emperor Norton Absinthe Dieu rinse
Garnish: dried orange slice
Combine all ingredients and shake until chilled and slightly diluted, strain and pour into an absinthe rinsed coupe.
The Woman Destroyed
by Simone De Beauvoir
This is a collection of three short stories, each one an inner monologue of a women going through a time of personal crisis. De Beauvoir explores themes of motherhood, marriage, aging, career and how societal pressures and expectations affect the security and sanity of the woman who struggle with them. These stories were smart and relatable, but also sad and touching and ultimately human, not everyone gets a happy ending.
When You Find Out the World is Against You: And Other Funny Memories About Awful Moments
by Kelly Oxford
Kelly Oxford is hilarious, if only we could all rewrite our awful moments with as much humor as she does. I found this particularly relatable regarding moving to California and raising children in America and away from our shared Canadian culture and family. Her fears and anxieties were oddly comforting, at least I'm not alone.
Dead Girls Don't Wear Diamonds (Blackbird Sisters Mystery #2)
by Nancy Martin
I randomly picked this up from a Little Library that is down the street from my house because I was desperate for something to read. I started off really not liking this book, I find this genre to be disturbingly comfortable with out dated gender stereotypes and across the board sexist bullshit. That being said, I felt oddly attached to the characters by the time I finished.
Shattered Mirror (Eve Duncan, #23)
by Iris Johansen
This book was terrible, lazy garbage. I would have stopped reading it after the first few chapters if I wasn't totally OCD about finishing books. All of the characters speak in the same overly explanatory, unrealistic voice, including a five year old child. This is number 23 in a series and I can only imagine that its been going on for so long that the ghost writers have lost all persecutive on reality. The relationships, language, and events of this novel are so out of touch I was constantly pulled out of the story by my own incredulousness. Oh yeah, and the number of times a female character advises another female character to worry about how one of the male characters will feel/react to something is unconscionable.
Bone in the Throat
by Anthony Bourdain
This was a great read, I’m always impressed by Bourdain's writing. This was like the Godfather meets top chef with a great balance between restaurant life and organized crime with just the right amount of blood. If you know anything about Bourdain, or read one of his other books you can really see that he draws from experiences in his own life to give some grit and realism to the story.
When Life Gives You Lululemons (The Devil Wears Prada, #3)
by Lauren Weisburger
I started off being unimpressed and slightly disappointed by this book, granted its been a long time since I read “The Devil Wears Prada”, but it just didn’t seem to have the same spirit that drew me to the first book. Luckily, the story picks up quickly and supplies the strong female characters that I was expecting to see. This was a book that left me feeling totally satisfied at the end, and now I will definitely have to read the second one.
Rich People Problems (Crazy Rich Asians, #3)
by Kevin Kwan
I read “Crazy Rich Asians” and loved it, so when I saw this book I grabbed it. Full disclosure, I haven't read the second book yet, but it didn't really matter too much. This was a nice conclusion to the original story, and it had all the great food and fashion details from the first book. Be prepared to add Singapore to you travel wish list.
I find I'm bouncing around a lot when I write these posts. Is it a review? Is it a recommendation? I need to come up with some sort of formula so that they are easier to write and more streamlined. I try to write each book up as I finish them so they are fresh in my mind, but that adds to the non-conformity of the post. If you'e managed to make it this far I would love to know what you like about these post or how I could make them better for you.