Friday, January 25, 2013

Gabriel Böhmer's Guide to Books & Booze

Time to grab a book and get tipsy!

Books & Booze  premiered as a new mini-series of sorts here on TNBBC back 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. 

Beetle Days’ Books & Booze

You’ve not read my novel. There’s a good reason for that. It’s not out yet! But it is currently a Kickstarter project, and you can pre-order a copy. I got in touch with TNBBC, and after checking out my page, Lori was kind enough to let me contribute to the site. Thanks Lori!

Beetle Days is a satire about the greed and herd mentality one so often sees today. Told as a fable of talking sheep, people, and dissatisfied beetles. Beetles that don’t stand in queues. Insist on free air travel. And steal things whilst mouthing off.

The book’s a bit experimental. Sometimes silly. Sometimes sad. About here. And there. Me. And you. And booze certainly plays a role. Here are some of the characters you can encounter and their TNBBC drinks!

Abaddon’s Last Tipple
-1.5 oz Absinthe
-Raw Cane Sugar Cube
-Soda Water
-Handful of Snow
-1 Stick from Outside (It can be a Cinnamon Stick if you must)

You’ll need
-Absinthe Glass
-Absinthe Spoon
-Ice Pick?

Get your snow, or use an ice pick on your freezer to make some (good exercise), and place in glass. Pour in the Absinthe. Spoon goes on the glass and the sugar on the spoon. Slowly add the soda water to dissolve the sugar. Get your stick and dip it in Absinthe. Light on fire. Hold a few seconds. Marvel at sparkly fire! Throw it in.

Who’s Drinking? Abaddon, the Death Watch Beetle

He’s an old beetle that lives in the rafters of the farmhouse. He has a deep kind voice, but if one listens to his words, it becomes clear that he’s a pest of the highest order. He likes to wait for John (our human protagonist) to fall asleep and then tells him strange and terrible things. Not loud enough for John to register his words, but loud enough for them to echo in his dreams.

Abaddon would like to tap on wormwood, but he’ll settle for a nice drink of Absinthe. He generally keeps it traditional, but his favorite accompaniments are fire and snow.


Sangria Valais
-Glass of Chasselas White Wine
-Handful of Alpine Strawberries
-1 oz Kirsch
-1 tbs Raw Cane Sugar (to taste)
You’ll need
-Trustworthy Cat
-Wine Opener

Plant your strawberry bushes. Employ your trustworthy cat to guard them. Give her license to kill if beetles show up. And instruct her to purr lots. The vibrations and frequency will deter most pests. Now wait for a few months until the fruit arrives. Is it there? Is it ripe? Good. Harvest! Sloppily throw everything into a glass and enjoy.

Who’s Drinking? Françoise, the Valais Blacknose

She’s a sheep. She’s not terribly bright, but very nice. And she can talk.

While extensive research has concluded that the difference between speaking and mute animals is negligible, it’s of note that discount supermarket chains were the sole sponsors of the study. Luckily, John refuses to eat Françoise. And instead, she runs a landscaping business. But in all honesty she just demolishes gardens and hopes to be paid.

The combination of ingredients in the Sangria Valais reminds her of home. And it’s just this kind of nostalgia that goes well with slow and steady intoxication.


Bourbon and Strange Ice
-Quality Bourbon
-2 tsp Raw Cane Sugar

You’ll need
-Plastic Container (4X the Dimensions of an Ice Cube)
-Good Kitchen Knife
-Heavy Book on Hypnosis

Plant your orange trees and mint bushes. Your cat watching the strawberries? Good. Up the kitty treats to watch these as well. Harvest! Cut some orange rind and wash with the mint. Coarsely chop the rind. Bruise the mint by wrapping in a towel, placing on the floor, and throwing your hypnosis book as high as you can (ideally landing on the leaves). This will ensure even bruising… I think. Throw rind and mint into your plastic container and add the sugar. Add water. Put in freezer. As it’s beginning to solidify mix well so everything’s even. Once solid, you’ll have a nice chunk of ice riddled with mint and rind. Throw into an old fashioned glass and pour bourbon over. Play my song More Whiskey, and find a nice view and keep refilling!

Who’s Drinking? John, the Person

He doesn’t travel well. He sleeps, but never deeply. And always has strange dreams because of Abaddon. He finds both these issues remedied somewhat with books on hypnosis, and a few good drinks. Sometimes he feels full and bad in the mornings as a result. So please drink responsibly.

John finds beetles quite irritating and wishes they would stop taking stuff from his apartment. There are nice things in John’s life as well though. Like the talking sheep, and the farm, and the bird of prey that visits him but never says anything, despite being well versed in the classical languages.

Bourbon has just the flavor and kick for right before bed. The fresh ingredients, grown in John’s backyard, finish everything off nicely. Goodnight, Sleep tight. Don’t let the beetles bite.


Better Coffee (for the Teetotal)
-Roasted Coffee Beans (less than two weeks old)
-Sugar (if you must)

You’ll need
-Antique Handheld Coffee Grinder (Such as a Zassenhaus grinder)
-Stovetop, Semi, or Fully Manual Espresso Maker
-An Opinel Pocket Knife

Grind your coffee beans. Use your Espresso maker (you know how to do it). Cut a thin sliver of rind from the lemon. Wash it! Who knows what beetles have climbed all over it?! Pour your coffee shot in an appropriate vessel. Throw in the lemon rind. Add ice if you like. 

Who’s Drinking? Everyone

Otherwise they’ll need a nap. And the modern world isn’t comprised of enough hours in the day for that sort of thing. And beetles will take their stuff.


Writer Gabriel Böhmer was born in Zurich, and has lived in London, Buenos Aires, and Boston. He used to work in the consulting industry but left in 2011 in pursuit of his own work (a production company in its start-up phase) making things and writing. He enjoys long distance running, building fires (to cook things), and banging on random objects to see what sound they'll make.

Beetle Days is currently a Kickstarter project. The campaign ends Feb 15th. Official Site. Twitter

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