Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Scott Navicky 's Guide to Books & Booze

Time to grab a book and get tipsy!

Books & Booze challenges participating authors 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. 

Today, Scott Navicky is throwing all the booze at the his recently released new book 3Essays onImagereality.

Ready to get your booze on???


An Anythingarian Boozehound’s Guide to Absinthe & Afternoon Drinking
(Alternative Title: Barry Barry Barry Bonds, Y’all)

James Joyce pinched the portmanteau from Jonathan Swift. I pinched it from Joyce, stripped it of its religious vestments, and added alcohol. When it comes to booze, I’m a renowned anythingarian: I’ll drink anything as long as it isn’t sold in a hardware store. The one constant in my alcohistory is absinthe. The protagonists in both Humboldt: Or, The Power of Positive Thinking and 3Essays on Imagereality are absintheminded. My favorite absinthes are Émile Pernot Vieux Pontarlier and Lucid Absinthe Supérieure. Both are classified as historic absinthes. (While technically American, Lucid is produced in the famous Combier distillery in Saumur, which, in addition to being a working distillery, is also an absinthe museum.)

When drinking absinthe, it is essential to be mindful of not only what you’re drinking, but when you are drinking it. Drinking absinthe too late in the evening can be an invitation to riotous escapades. The traditional Parisian l’heure verte, or “the green hour,” was five o’clock. Observing l’heure verte transformed me from an evening drinker into an afternoon drinker, and this transformation opened up a plethora of new drink possibilities. For example, I adore Irish Coffee and steadfastly maintain that a well-timed Irish Coffee can save your life, but I’m often underwhelmed by its presentation. The temperature tends to be too tepid and it’s usually gone too soon. To avoid this disappointment, I create a Barry Barry Barry Bonds, Y’all. Don’t bother looking this drink up in Mr. Boston: The Official Bartender’s Guide because it’s not in there. I conjured it. The recipe is wonderfully simple:

1 espresso
1 pint of Guinness

Simply pour the espresso into the Guinness & enjoy

But don’t be misled by the simplicity of this creation: finding a good Barry Barry Barry Bonds, Y’all isn’t easy. You either have to locate the perfect proximity between coffeeshop and pub, or stumble upon a bar that offers both good espresso and Guinness on tap. One of my favorite Barry Barry Barry Bonds, Y’all bars is named Nighttown after a famous Joycean portmanteau. (Within the Circe chapter of Ulysses, Nighttown is Joyce’s rechristening of Dublin’s red-light district, known to local Dubliners as Monto.)

Circe is foregrounded by a drinking party at the National Maternity Hospital. When the party becomes too raucous, the revelers, including both Stephen Dedalus and Leopold Bloom, relocate across the street to Burke’s Pub, where Stephen begins ordering absinthe. Immediately after Stephen places this order, an ominous toast appears in Latin.

Translation: We will all drink green poison, and the devil take the hindmost.

The woozy wobblers stay at Burke’s until chuckingout time. When the entourage spills out onto the street, the scene is set for absinthe’s finest hour. No other author has been able to so playfully portray absinthe’s lucid beauty alongside its accused lurid vulgarity.

Easily the longest chapter within the novel, Circe is a delight for quotehounds. Lewd chimpanzees wander the streets, as the famished snaggletusks of an elderly bawd protrude from a doorway. In the middle of a lengthy hallucination, Leopold Bloom vows to build the new Bloomusalem. The ghost of poor Paddy Dignam appears via metempsychosis. Leopold Bloom speaks to his dead father, while Stephen is confronted by his mother’s undead spirit. Amidst all of this greenmadness, a Hobgoblin appears kangaroohopping, and the beardless face of William Shakespeare appears in a hallway mirror to crow Iagogogo!

This is exactly why you shouldn’t drink absinthe too late in the evening. Of course, James Joyce might not agree. An anythingarian boozehound with a preference for Swiss wine from the Neuchâtel region, James Joyce insisted on never drinking before the sun went down.


Scott Navicky is the author of 3Essays on Imagereality (Montag Press, 2018) and Humboldt: Or, The Power of Positive Thinking (Chicago Center for Literature and Photography, 2014). He attended Denison University and the University of Auckland, where he was awarded an Honors Master’s Degree in art history with a focus on photography theory. He currently lives in Columbus, Ohio.

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