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  • Whitney Collins 7:36 pm on 2015/09/25 Permalink
    Tags: Cocktails, , cultured cocktails, drinks, ,   

    5 Reasons to Drink Down Shakespeare, Not Stirred: Cocktails for Your Everyday Dramas 

    Shakespeare Not StirredCalling all bards, barflies, bookworms, and any and all who enjoy bursting out in uncontrollable laughter: Shakespeare, Not Stirred: Cocktails for Your Everyday Dramas was penned with you in mind. Authored by Caroline Bicks, Ph.D, and Michelle Ephraim, Ph.D—both Shakespeare professors and humor writers—this literary delight serves up hilarious recipes for Bard of Avon–inspired drinks and appetizers, as well as plenty of trivia and illustrations guaranteed to put you under the influence of England’s national poet. Here are five reasons to drink down this uproarious read.

    The chapters
    Had a rough day? Going through a tough time? Never fear, Shakespeare, Not Stirred has a cocktail for that. In fact, each chapter has its own clever theme for whatever ails you, be it comedy or tragedy, from “Now Is the Whiskey of Our Discontent: Drinks for the Domestically Distressed” to “Shall I Campari to a Summer’s Day?: Romantic Occasions.” My personal favorite? “Get Thee to a Winery: Girls’ Night Out.”

    The illustrations
    Within, classic images from the Folger Shakespearean Library have been outrageously doctored (with libations) to feature all of the Bard’s bawdy crew in various states of intoxication: gallivanting with tumblers, tiptoeing over red Solo cups, passed out next to bowls of guacamole, or even staggering home on that long Walk of Shame dragging a sword and gimlet.

    The beverages
    One might fear that a cocktail book written by Shakespeare aficionados could be heavy on the literary and light on the liquor, but rest assured, the drinks featured here are top shelf. Not only are they as clever as Cleopatra (“Et Tu Brut Champagne Cocktail,” “Juliet’s Emoji-to,” “Caliban’s Wrong Island Iced Tea,” and “Kate’s Shrew Driver” to name a few), they are downright delicious. Who could resist “Antony’s Fuzzy Naval,” concocted of lemon, sea salt, peach nectar, Cointreau, Grand Marnier, and prosecco? That’s certainly no shot of hemlock.

    The snacks
    Bicks and Ephraim know that any night (midsummer or otherwise) of drinking must include some sustenance, so here they definitely deliver (just not pizza). Alongside the cocktail recipes are delicious snack recipes, aptly called “Savory Matters.” These are not your average soggy bar nachos. These are fine garden party–worthy hors d’oeuvres with laugh-out-loud names, like “Bertram’s Crushed Nuts,” “Hero’s Pity Påté,” and “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern’s Brown-Noser Steak Bites.”

    The trivia
    Literary lovers rejoice: in addition to all the food and fun, there are also sectionsthroughout that fall under the witty heading “Mini Bard.” These little sidebars (pun intended) serve up Shakespearean facts and commentary sure to leave you thirsty for more. From insight into Ophelia’s drowning to questions over whether Shakespeare did or didn’t write Titus Andronicus, these savory tidbits are fun to peruse while you’re punch-drunk on the Bard.

  • Kathryn Williams 8:45 pm on 2015/05/12 Permalink
    Tags: Cocktails, , , spirited reads   

    6 Father’s Day Books for the Dad Who Likes a Good Drink 

    Whether it’s a whiskey on the rocks, a glass of pinot, or a Bud Lite, when I think of “Dad’s dream day,” I think of a beverage in hand and meat on the grill. With these six wine and spirits books, we’ve got him covered. Read on for 6 perfect gifts for the beverage-curious patriarch.

    The PDT Cocktail Book, by Jim Meehan
    If you’ve never had to walk through a phone booth in a hot dog joint to get an expertly handcrafted cocktail, then you’re missing out. PDT (short for Please Don’t Tell) is the formerly top-secret speakeasy hidden inside Crif Dogs in New York City’s East Village. In his book, PDT’s mastermind and top mixologist, Jim Meehan, takes you behind the scenes and deep into the bar’s drink menu. In addition to the 304 cocktail recipes, you’ll find original Crif’s hot dog recipes (they serve the dogs at the bar through a window between the two establishments) and pro tips on bar design, technique, and barroom etiquette.

    The World Atlas of Wine, by Hugh Johnson and Jancis Robinson
    When a book goes into its seventh edition in 42 years, you know it’s indispensable. The world of wine is so wide and deep, you need an exhaustively researched reference guide like this one to approach it in earnest. With markets growing, tastes changing, and new varietals and growing regions gaining traction every year, Johnson and Robinson had their work cut out for them. Taking the “landscape of the vine” and the “link between fruit and soil” as its inspiration, the atlas is organized by region and subregion, with sophisticated, highly readable text and detailed maps highlighting notable producers and other sites of oenophilic interest.

    Shake: A New Perspective on Cocktails, by Eric Prum and Josh Williams
    Shake’s authors created the Mason jar cocktail shaker from a Kickstarter campaign. That same laid-back, can-do attitude extends to their new book, whose motto is, “Cocktails should be fun. Cocktails should be simple. Cocktails should be social.” To bring recipes from the lounge to your living room—or picnic blanket— Prum and Williams keep it easy (a maximum of five ingredients) and pictorial (because it’s hard to read when you’re two Cucumber Rickeys deep). After a brief intro on stocking a bar and mastering cocktail basics, recipes are grouped by Winter, Spring, Summer, and Fall, encouraging use of seasonal, local ingredients.

    American Whiskey, Bourbon & Rye: A Guide to the Nation’s Favorite Spirit, by Clay Risen
    Baseball, apple pie, whiskey: all classic American pleasures, and now Risen, a New York Times editor, has written a reference guide devoted solely to domestic expressions of the third, America’s favorite spirit. Encyclopedic assessments of over 200 brands, from grocery store labels to the most rarefied small batches available, include personal and often amusing tasting notes (“It has power, but it’s gentle, like Muhammad Ali petting a kitten”) aimed at the curious as much as the connoisseur. All is grounded in an introductory lesson in whiskey’s history, production, and tasting.

    Bitters: A Spirited History of a Class Cure-All, by Brad Thomas Parsons
    Many bartenders believe bitters (pungent, aromatic liquors flavored with herbs, spices, and botanicals used to enhance cocktails and “aid digestion”) are the difference between a just-okay cocktail and a life-changing cocktail, and after reading this book, you’ll agree. After a “brief” 16-page history of the magical elixir, from its medicinal origins as a hangover cure to its current turn in the foodie spotlight, Parsons offers over a dozen bitters recipes, an abundance of cocktail recipes, ways to use bitters in the kitchen, and more suggested reading.

    Kevin Zraly Windows on the World Complete Wine Course: 30th Anniversary Edition, by Kevin Zraly
    Cellar master Kevin Zraly opened his Windows on the World Wine School in the eponymous restaurant on the 107th floor of the World Trade Center in 1976. That famed restaurant did not survive the 2001 terrorist attacks, but Zraly, his school, and his book, originally published in 1985, did. Now, he’s updated it for a new generation. Divided into eight “classes” dedicated to red or white and classic wine-growing regions, he starts readers with the bare basics and builds knowledge from there. Included are almost 300 new recommendations for wines under $30 and smartphone tags allowing users to watch video clips, so you never have to mispronounce Gewürztraminer again.

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  • Shaun Byron Fitzpatrick 4:00 pm on 2014/12/15 Permalink
    Tags: , , , Cocktails, , , , , , ,   

    10 Bookish Gifts for Your Favorite College Kids 

    Moleskine Voyageur NotebookThe holiday season is here again, and while most of our friends are asking for new gadgets and designer gear, we college-aged book lovers are writing a slightly different Christmas list. Sure, we all love a new iPad, but when it comes down to it all we really want is something reading-related. This can make shopping for us a little bit tricky for our family and friends who aren’t literary fanatics, but never fear! I’m here to help make your book-themed Christmas list simple. Here are some awesome gift ideas for the collegiate book nerd, whether that’s you or someone you know. As someone who spent five years of her undergrad and graduate career pretty much exclusively reading and talking about books, I can say I would have been crazy excited to receive any of these (and still would be, in case anyone is looking for a last-minute present for me).

    Moleskine Voyageur Traveller’s Nutmeg Brown Hardcover Notebook
    The perfect gift for anyone getting ready to study abroad. It has spaces for tickets, maps, and itineraries (aka, the things most important to your trip and the things most likely to get lost), as well as pages for you to write. So if you’re sitting under the Eiffel Tower or looking out a train window at the Tuscan countryside and start to feel inspired, you have a place to jot down your thoughts. Plus, there’s just something about a Moleskine notebook that makes you feel like a real writer.

    Jeff Fisher Lincoln/Erasmus Quotes Tote
    When it comes to expressing your love of books while on the go, let your bag do your talking. This tote is perfect for hauling your stuff to and from class. Plus, it lets the world know exactly what type of person you’re interested in: the kind that will give you more books.

    Pen is Mightier Than the Sword Resin Pen Cup
    It’s no real contest between the two, is it? We know the pen wins every time! So keep your favorite battle gear sheathed in this awesome pen cup. Putting it on your desk sends a pretty clear message: don’t mess with me, because I have a pen and I know how to use it.

    Doctor Who Clip-on TARDIS Book Light with UV Pen
    Raise your hand it you’re not a Doctor Who fan. To the one person who raised their hand: you can show yourself out now. For all us normal people who are are dangerously obsessed with the Doctor, let’s talk about this beautiful marriage of two of the best things in the world: Doctor Who and reading. You’ll never have to worry about keeping your roommate up while you finish “just one last chapter” ever again. Instead, just use this adorable Tardis reading light and read for as long as you want!

    Scholar Composition Book Folio Case for iPad
    Technology is great and helpful and the internet is not just a passing fad, despite my father’s continued insistence. But sometimes you want to kick it old school (or, more specifically, middle school). Combine your bygone school-days method of writing notes in your black-and-white composition book with your new tech-savvy style of taking down information with this awesome iPad case.

    642 Things to Write About Journal
    Every aspiring novelist/poet knows the feeling: you want to write, but you don’t know what to write about. This journal is full of prompts to get your creative juices flowing and provide some much-needed inspiration. Who knows, these fun exercises might just turn into the seeds of the next great American novel!

    Thug Kitchen: The Official Cookbook: Eat Like You Give a F*ck
    One of the most important lessons you learn in college happens outside the classroom and inside the kitchen. Unless you’re living exclusively on dining hall meals and takeout (ew), you should probably learn a few go-to recipes. Thug Kitchen gives you easy ways to incorporate veggies into your diet and step up your cooking game. As they say, “Sh*t is about to get real.”

    Tequila Mockingbird: Cocktails with a Literary Twist, by Tim Federle
    This one’s for the college student 21 and over, of course, so all you underage folks will have to wait a bit for this one. But for the legal crowd: are you a fan of cocktails but wish they could be more literary? Learn how to make such classics as the title’s “Tequila Mockingbird” or “The Pitcher of Dorian Grey Goose.” Because who doesn’t love alcohol and book puns?

    Yes, Please, by Amy Poehler
    Everyone tries to give you life advice when you’re in college, but Amy Poehler is one of the few people you might actually want to listen to. Combine her fabulous new book with copies of books by fellow funny ladies Tina Fey and Mindy Kaling for a real trifecta.

    Game of Thrones 5-Book Boxed Set (A Song of Ice and Fire series), by George R.R. Martin
    We know you have a ton of reading to do for school, but sometimes it’s nice to take a break and fit some pleasure reading into your busy schedule. Relax with a boxed set of your favorite new series, like the uber popular Song of Ice and Fire series. Nothing will take your mind off your upcoming paper faster than the saga of the Starks. If you were really good this year, maybe you’ll even get a couple seasons of the hit TV show to go with it.

    What are you giving to the college kid in your life?

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