Thursday, June 8, 2017

Christopher David Rosales' 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, in honor of  "Name Your Posion Day", Christopher David Rosales' is throwing a drink at his novel Silence the Bird, Silence the Keeper


Old Fashioned Paloma

The cocktail I pair with my novel Silence the Bird, Silence the Keeper is an Old Fashioned married to a Paloma. A Paloma is typically 2 ounces of tequila, 1 1/2 tablespoons lime juice, a pinch of salt, and 6 ounces of Jarritos grapefruit soda. It’s a favorite drink in Mexico, and while camping in California my friends and I would always make them on the cheap using tequila and Squirt.

With the help of my friend, poet and bartender Derrick Mund, we concocted something new. Though the Paloma was the main idea, we muddled grapefruit rind in sugar to create a syrup along the lines of an Old Fashioned, and added some bitters too. The grapefruit rind you see as garnish, Derrick shaped into a rose for my last name, Rosales.

Old Fashioned Paloma Recipe

2.5 oz Raicilla or Mezcal
 .5 oz Grapefruit Simple Syrup
One Dash Plum Bitters
One Dash Grapefruit Bitters
One Dash Angostura Bitters
Stir Ingredients and Strain Over Ice
Garnish with Grapefruit Twist

This is a drink heavily influenced, like the book, by my nostalgia for Paramount, California (in L.A. County) and all of our old family parties. The song, “Cucurrucucu Paloma”, was one of my grandmother’s favorites. When cleaning out her garage after she passed away, I found a cassette tape loaded up on sides A and B with all of the alternate versions of that song recorded through the years. This version, featured in the film Habla Con Ella, was my favorite:

Dicen que por las noches

No más se le iba en puro llorar
Dicen que no comía
No más se le iba en puro tomar
Juran que el mismo cielo
Se estremecía al oír su llanto
Cómo sufrió por ella
Y hasta en su muerte la fue llamando
Ay, ay, ay, ay, ay cantaba
Ay, ay, ay, ay, ay gemía
Ay, ay, ay, ay, ay cantaba
De pasión mortal moría
Que una paloma triste
Muy de mañana le va a cantar
A la casita sola
Con sus puertitas de par en par
Juran que esa paloma
No es otra cosa más que su alma
Que todavía espera
A que regrese la desdichada
Cucurrucucú paloma, cucurrucucú no llores
Las piedras jamás, paloma
¿Qué van a saber de amores
Cucurrucucú, cucurrucucú
Cucurrucucú, cucurrucucú
Cucurrucucú, paloma, ya no le llores

It’s a song about love, passion, and mourning. It’s equally sad and sweet.

Now, full disclosure: I love puns much more than most writers will admit (Silence the Bird . . . / Paloma is Spanish for Dove), but the Old Fashioned Paloma pairs well with my novel for more reasons than that. The song, “Cucurrucucu Paloma” is about contradiction. As the singer begs the dove not to cry, he is issuing the very cry in his request.  Similarly, my novel is about both lament at war and fulfillment of peace. It is about tragedy and hopefulness in a time of civil strife. And it’s about a community who love to celebrate with each other, who love to sit around and tell their own story, likely with a drink in hand.


Christopher David Rosales' first novel, Silence the Bird, Silence the Keeper (Mixer Publishing, 2015) won the McNamara Creative Arts Grant. Previously he won the Center of the American West's award for fiction three years in a row. He is a PhD candidate at University of Denver and has taught university level creative writing for 10 years.. Rosales' second novel, Gods on the Lam releases in June, 2017 from Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing and Word is Bone, his third novel, is forthcoming 2018 from Broken River Books.

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