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Niru's Hot Chocolate

Uzodinma Iweala’s Speak No Evil, though slim, carries enormous emotional weight.  Told in two parts - by best friends, Niru and Meredith, graduating seniors with their lives stretching before them - the novel begins innocently as they share hot chocolate spiked by Meredith. Neither foresees the consequences of the cold night. Mix yourself a warm cup and prepare to finish this gorgeous & raw novel in one sitting.

6 oz Hot Chocolate*
2 oz. Johnnie Walker Black Label Scotch
Mint-infused whipped cream*
Mint sprig for garnish

Combine hot chocolate and scotch in a warmed vessel.  
Add whipped cream and garnish with mint.



Forugh Farrokzhad is the best poet you’ve never heard of.
Her story is beautifully told by Jasmin Darznik in Song of a Captive Bird.
Food and drink were an important part of Farrokzad’s (difficult) upbringing in Iran,
so I wanted to meld the two in tribute to her short, brilliant life.

Last Lullaby

1 oz. arak
.5 oz lemon juice 
.5 oz. water
1 sugar cube
3-5 basil leaves
2 pear slices
Sour cherries for garnish 

Muddle sugar, basil & pear with the water.
Strain. Add remaining ingredients and shake with ice.
Strain into chilled glass and garnish with cherries.


Tony’s Best Friend

The Largesse of the Sea Maiden, is a wonderful, bittersweet farewell.  Inspiration for this drink comes from the piece titled Memorial, where our narrator wonders how he can be considered Tony’s best friend because he hardly knew him.  Tony, recently deceased, possibly Greek, defintiely a painter, is answering no more questions.  Mr. Johnson, with few words, again leaves much for us to consider.

Tony's Best Friend

2 oz Metaxa
1 Barspoon Ouzo 
1 Sugar Cube
Lemon Peel for Garnish

Saturate sugar cube with Ouzo at the bottom of a glass.
Muddle until sugar dissolves. Add Metaxa. Stir. Add ice, stir until chilled.
Twist lemon over the drink and drop peel into the glass.



Ivy Pochoda uses the stories of a disparate band of Southern California characters like they’re the frayed strands from a once elegantly violent tapestry - and reweaves them magnificently. Some of these lives are as squalid as the King Eddy Saloon  that you’ll visit here, but in Pochoda’s hands, squalid can also be beautiful.


1.5 oz gin
.75 oz Cointreau 
.75 oz sage simple-syrup
.5 oz lemon juice
Egg white
.5 oz red wine
Sage leaves


Combine all in a cocktail shaker - except wine and sage leaves - and dry-shake.  Add ice.  Shake thoroughly. Strain into glass. Then muddle sage with wine. Gently strain into drink. Use sage leaves to garnish. 


Rarely do artists create beauty out of devastation as exquisitely as C. Morgan Babst has done. Her debut, The Floating World, takes Hurricane Katrina and shows the ravages of that storm - both on a city and a family - with eloquence and precision. I took a drink that is a part of New Orleans like no other, the Hurricane, and present it anew, a complement to the feast Babst has prepared. 


1  oz. light rum 
1 oz. dark rum
1 oz. whiskey
2 oz. passion fruit juice
1 oz. orange juice
1 oz. lemon juice
2 dashes Peychaud’s Bitters

Shake all with ice - excluding the bitters. Strain into a Hurricane glass filled with crushed ice. Dash the bitters on top. Garnish with fruit or flower.

The Bride Stripped Bare

september 2017 cocktailAugustus Rose dazzles in his debut, The Readymade Thief, and we try to dazzle him right back by offering his drink in a shot glass created in the 1930’s - not long after Marcel Duchamp finished one of his most famous works, the original Bride Stripped Bare.  Mr. Rose takes Duchamp and art history, adds secret societies, proper thieving techniques, and a wonderfully realized character (17-year-old Lee Cuddy) and ties them into a gloriously intricate knot. 

The Bride Stripped Bare

5 oz white whiskey
2.5 oz rum
1 oz Cointreau
8 dashes chocolate bitters
Crushed ice

Combine all and stir with ice.  
Pour over crushed ice in 6 shot glasses. 

Richmond Float

The Marriage Pact is deliciously creepy so you’re almost immediately worried for Alice and Jake.  Newly married, happy, successful – but then there’s the Pact.  They’re invited to join a jet-setting community of interesting souls who all share one thing:  they want their marriages to be successful.  What’s the harm in that? Just wait.  And while you wait, to combat summer’s heat, why not take a scoop out of a Richmond Float?


Richmond Float

2 oz. Green Spot Irish Whiskey
Root beer
Boozy Vanilla Bean Ice Cream*
Bourbon Maple Syrup

Drizzle maple syrup inside glass.  Add two scoops of ice cream and the whiskey.
Fill glass with root beer.  Drizzle more maple syrup on top.  

Boozy Vanilla Bean Ice Cream
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup milk
1 vanilla bean, split
3/4 cup dark brown sugar, packed
4 egg yolks
Pinch fine sea salt
3 Tbsp Green Spot Irish Whiskey

Set aside one cup of the cream in a metal bowl.  Place the bowl in a container filled with ice water.
In a medium saucepan, combine the remaining cream, the milk, the vanilla bean, the sugar, and the salt.  Heat on medium until the sugar is incorporated and it just begins to boil.
Remove from heat.  Let sit, covered, for one hour.
Finely strain this mixture into the chilled cup of cream.
Add the whiskey and refrigerate for three hours.
Process in your ice cream maker.


What is Love?

Andrew Sean Greer’s Less is an almost perfect novel. Seemingly structured effortlessly, each line is so pure, so crystalline, that any attempt to remove one would shatter the whole. There’s plenty of drinking here, with champagne recurring, so I began with that and ended with the question at the heart of this beautiful novel, What is love? Available 7/18  


What is Love?

1.5 oz marc de gewürztraminer
.75 oz lemon juice
.5 oz grenadine
Cherry for garnish

Combine the marc, lemon juice, and grenadine in a shaker filled with ice.  Shake.  Strain into a champagne flute.  Top with champagne and garnish with the cherry.  Sword is optional. 

Mischief of Magpies

Anthony Horowitz has written a stunner of a novel with his Magpie Murders. Two stories, separated by half a century, unfurl as the pages quickly turn, each mystery tied to the other, as fiction and fact are wonderfully blurred. The novel literally starts with a bottle of wine, so I did, too - and then put an English summer in your glass.


Mischief of Magpies

2 oz. Red Wine
1 oz. Gin
.5 oz. Sherry
.5 oz. Black Currant Juice
Currants for Garnish

Shake all, except the champagne, with ice.  Strain into an ice-filled collins glass. Top with champagne and garnish with the currants.


Edan Lepucki is back with a Southern California splash called Woman No. 17.  The story begins poolside, but what starts out mischievous and a little bit sexy soon turns dark.  A lot of vodka is consumed in these pages, and a lot of champagne, which begged to be turned into a frozen summer sipper. 


Drink No. 17

3 Cups Frozen Strawberries, Raspberries & Cherries
2/3 cup Pink Champagne
1/3 cup Vodka
1 T Honey
Fresh Berries for Garnish

Blend until smooth.  
Garnish with berries.