Friday, October 12, 2012

Kathe Koja's Guide to Books & Booze

Time to grab a book and get tipsy!

Books & Booze is a new mini-series of sorts here on TNBBC that will post every Friday in October. The participating authors were challenged to make up their own drinks, name and all, or create a drink list for their characters and/or readers using drinks that already exist. 

Drink yourself UNDER THE POPPY

Being as Under the Poppy is a louche and intoxicating brothel, it follows that liquor must be involved: intoxicants just naturally go together that way. For several of the immersive performance events we created, based on the novel, refreshments were indeed served - first, wine and chocolate, and later a more elaborate outlay of period-appropriate food (including lavender cookies with rosewater frosting) and drink (Champagne for a toast, and a pretty ferocious rum punch. Those Victorians knew how to party).

For the final event, one which will pull out all the stops, let all the puppets out to play, and leave all sorts of stains on the knickers of your heart, I knew that we would need something special for the Poppy patrons.
So of course I turned to my readers, and invited them to submit their concoctions to a create-a-drink contest for the Poppy.

And of course they came through.

Not only were the drinks delicious-sounding, they had some amazing names, among them "The Pearl Necklace", "Puppet's Folly", "Courage & Passion", and (staff favorite) "The Blow Job". But there were two cocktails between which I simply could not choose, so they were both winners: the "Vera," named after one of the Poppy's more enterprising floozies, and the romantically decadent "A Kiss, From Ashen Lips". Below are the recipes for those of you over drinking age.  If you have a top hat or a pair of frilly knickers, now is the time to put them on.
Herewith, the winning cocktails:

James Taylor Jr.'s "VERA"

1/2 tbsp vodka
 1/2 oz strawberry liqueur
 1/3 oz toffee liqueur
 1/2 oz milk
 Blend the ingredients in a cocktail class with ice. Garnish with a white clover flower.

* * * * *

Charles Henke's "A Kiss, From Ashen Lips"

A seductive confection of poppy seed syrup with no sense of moral integrity.

1.5 oz rum
 1 oz cranberry juice
 1 oz poppy seed syrup*
 Garnish with fresh blueberries

*1/2 cup orange juice
 1/4 cup water
 2 tablespoons sugar
 1 tablespoon honey
 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
 1 tablespoon poppy seeds
 Heat the orange juice, water, sugar and honey in a saucepan. Bring to a boil for 1 minute and remove from heat. Let the syrup cool. Add the poppy seeds.

* * * * *
  Update from the brothel: At an exclusive patrons' event in late September, these drinks were in fact prepared, premiered, and enjoyed! To wit:

This is Kathe Koja, writer and Detroit native.  She has written 15 books including THE CIPHER, SKIN, BUDDHA BOY, TALK, HEADLONG, UNDER THE POPPY - which I recently reviewed and loved! - and its sequel, THE MERCURY WALTZ (forthcoming in 2013). UNDER THE POPPY has been adapted for immersive performance. 

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