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.
It's release day, and Sara Rauch is throwing all the booze at her brand new collection What Shines from It.
Ready to get your booze on???
Introducing the What Shines from It
2 parts bourbon
1 part yellow Chartreuse
1/2 tsp Angostura bitters
1/2 tsp grapefruit bitters
Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice. Give it a good rattle. Strain into a coupe glass. Garnish with a grapefruit peel if you’re feeling fancy.
When I started thinking about what drink I might pair with the haunted artists that populate What Shines from It: Stories, my first thought was, Bourbon, straight up. That’s my drink, and I rarely stray from it. Why mess with perfection?
But the more I thought about it, the more I remembered that What Shines from It is its own entity—I created it, and there is much of me in it, but it also exists outside of me, pulsing there on its own. My characters have their own preferences; they make their own messes and their own drinks.
My characters are drinkers. Not F Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald drinkers or Denis Johnson drinkers or even Dorothy Parker drinkers. But drinkers all the same. There’s something stabilizing about a glass of Cabernet/vodka/gin/beer in a scene. You can see it sweating in the heat; you can see how the character approaches the world by how they sip, or guzzle. Even their choice of drink gives insight into who they are or who they want to be.
My characters are also heartbroken—sometimes because of a relationship ending, but more as a way of being in the world. They are cracked, and as Leonard Cohen says in “Anthem”: “There is a crack, a crack in everything/ That’s how the light gets in.”
So I set out to create a drink that glows the way my characters’ pain does, a drink like heartbreak: spirit-forward and unruly and intense and maybe a little bit seductive.
This cocktail will wallop you. It is beautiful, and throws light around in the most startling ways. But it is also intense: Chartreuse, for all its neon glory, is no mere mixer; it is 80 proof, blended and distilled from 130 different plants by French monks. It’s got an uncanny depth and swirls through the bourbon, which lends a nice, earthy backbone.
Take this one slow. Add an ice cube if you need to.
And remember, heartbreak—like beauty, like light—demands to be savored.
Sara Rauch is the author of What Shines from It: Stories.
Her writing has appeared in Paper Darts, Split Lip, Hobart, So to Speak, and more.
She lives with her family in Massachusetts.