Monday, August 18, 2014

Book Girl's Guide To: Cocktails for Book Lovers by Tessa Smith McGovern | Cookbook Review

Cocktail-to-book pairings?  YES PLEASE!  I got this from my library and I read it cover-to-cover nearly immediately, taking care to Post-It flag all the cocktails I wanted to try!  I narrowed it down to just a couple.  Last year I requested Tequila Mockingbird from my library and did the exact same thing.  I think it's so fun how author-mixologists are pairing beverages to books.

Cocktails for Book Lovers has a very, very short one-page introduction before the author jumps right in to the author-cocktail pairings.  I thought there was a lot of great diversity in this cookbook, in both authors and in cocktail types.  The author devotes a two-page spread to each of 50 different authors.  We get a little mini-bio of the author, a little background on one of their best-known books, a quote from said book, a cocktail, and a second book recommendation for the author.  The cocktails sometimes matched up to a drink that a character from the author's work drank, and sometimes the cocktail is something the author themselves enjoyed.  Hemingway, for example, has a mojito recipe.  This hearkens back to his love of the Florida Keys, where the drink is popular.

At first I was only flagging cocktails if I a) had read anything by the author and b) thought the cocktail sounded yummy and c) had a majority of the cocktail's ingredients already on hand.  Then I came across the pairing for Flannery O'Connor: Salted Caramel & Bourbon Milkshake.  I love all those things!  So I've added Flannery O'Connor to by TBR list and made myself a milkshake.  It was really rich but delicious!

The next drink I tried was a Gin Rickey, which is the pairing for F. Scott Fitzgerald.  The reasoning behind this pairing is that the Gin Rickey is a favorite drink of the fictional Gatsby, from The Great Gatsby.  Just reading the ingredients list I figured it'd be pretty similar to a gin & tonic with lime, but I was wrong!  It's quite a bit more sour than that, as it contains the juice of an entire half of a lime, plus quartered lime wheels for garnish.  I loved it, though.  The Salted Caramel & Bourbon Milkshake was very rich and sweet; this one was a lot less sweet and very refreshing for summer.

Next I tried the Jane Austen pairing: "Miss Austen's Delight."  From the book: "It's little-known that Jane Austen was a sophisticated reveler and wine drinker.  One very popular drink in nineteenth century England was Madeira, a fortified wine."  The "Miss Austen's Delight" consists of gin, Madeira, oj, and maraschino cherries.  It was a tiny adventure getting my hands on Madeira.  Turns out my local grocery store doesn't carry that specific fortified wine, but it does carry other fortified wines, so I subbed.  The drink itself was pretty good, but it's not pretty to look at.  Oh well.  Now I have maraschino cherries in my fridge.  I could make a Shirley Temple later on!

The last drink I attempted was the Hemingway mojito.  DELICIOUS.  But then, I already knew that I liked mojitos.  I liked that this one didn't call for simple syrup; you just muddle the sugar with the mint leaves and top with the ice, rum, soda, and lime juice.  Mojitos are pretty and refreshing.  Can't go wrong.  And the "also recommended" book is one of my top ten fave books!  The Complete Short Stories of Ernest Hemingway.  A fantastic book.  He mentions his mojitos and daiquries in many stories.

If I owned this book, I'd try many more of the cocktails, and add to my TBR list.  Alas, I must allow other library patrons an opportunity to peruse this fun book.

Oh, I almost forgot:  a fun fact!  I love finding new fun facts in books.  From the entry pairing Christina Thompson with Come on Shore and We Will Kill and Eat You All: A New Zealand Story with Grand Rum Toddy:  "The rum ration was a daily amount of rum that used to be given to sailors on Royal Navy ships.  The last navy issuing the rum ration was New Zealand, which abolished the practice in 1990."  Can you believe it??  All the way up to 1990, New Zealand sailors got a daily rum ration!

*I received my copy of Book Girl's Guide To: Cocktails for Book Lovers from my library.

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