THE ORIGIN OF PICK YOUR POTIONS
It all started with the French Lace. Doesn’t that sound delicious? It sounds like perfume and lace thigh highs. It’s actually a cocktail served at The Fat Lady Bar and Restaurant in Oakland, where you feel like you’re in the sumptuous tea room of a sexy grande dame. In the early days of our relationship, my spouse Jen and I would go there for brunch and although I would usually just pick at the food, the drinks were fabulous. Magical. The French Lace is served in a martini glass rimmed with sugar and contains a mix of pear vodka, champagne and elderflower. I loved it, but I didn’t want to schlep to The Fat Lady to get it. So I figured out how to make them at home.
Then I started experimenting with more champagne cocktails with violet liqueur and other unusual ingredients, adding rum or vodka. Before long, I’d amassed a strangely marvelous collection of liqueurs and bitters. Jen gave me a notebook full of cocktail challenges and I began incorporating custom, themed cocktails into creative coaching workshops I was leading. The participants liked the drinks better than anything.
So when my publishers and I sat down to brainstorm how to promote my first novel, I offered to create a compendium of cocktails based on the moods and themes of the book, each with a corresponding mocktail. It was a big undertaking, but it was also wickedly fun to embody my book through the sensual experience of consuming an elixir. It reminded me of the painting classes I took in college and what a fabulous challenge it was to express myself without relying on words. It was a whole other type of language. Cocktails are like that: each one is an experience. All the senses are aroused.
After I finished the compendium for The Gold Persimmon, I got a wild idea. I decided to offer my mixology services to other authors and design cocktails to accompany their books. I immediately got a huge response from a debut authors group on Facebook and an ever-growing queue formed. I’ve since made drinks for writers I admire like Matt Bell, JD Scott, and Kristen Arnett. I also get a lot of requests sliding into my DMs and I have yet said no to anyone, though there is technically a wait list.
When I make a “booktail” and stage a photograph of it, I try to embody the gestalt of the book. I’m also telling a story about my experience of it, what it brought to mind and how it made me feel. It’s a wonderful hobby, no?
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To view the recipes for these delicious beverages, click the images below.