The literature: Jennifer Egan’s A VISIT FROM THE GOON SQUAD (requested by ladydei)

The libation: For this fragmented novel (or is it a cohesive collection of linked short stories), we’re serving you a deconstructed Bloody Mary (or is it another cocktail entirely?). Much like the book, it is exacting and requires your attention, but is ultimately rewarding.

Infuse 2oz good vodka with three (3) peppercorns overnight. Procure 1oz celery juice through whatever methods you must, but tell no one how you came by it. Juice a lime for a total of 3/4oz juice (no more, no less).

Run the rind of the lime around the rim of a martini glass and dip the glass in tomato salt (in the future we will all have pocket food dehydrators - go to town on some tomatoes and mix with salt to taste). Shake all the liquid ingredients with ice 23.5 times and pour. Garnish with gold flakes (optional but recommended).

Powerpoints at the ready? Good. Bottoms up.

Photo © Lemon Tree

My brain is in a weird place today.



The literature: EL James’ FIFTY SHADES OF GREY

The libation: Have your cat o’ nine (cock)tails handy - we’re going in.

We know it’s your first time, so we won’t be too rough on you.


We’re going to instruct you on how to make a Cherry Smash, so listen carefully. Muddle a few maraschino cherries at the bottom of a rocks glass. Don’t be shy, really get in there and go to town on them. Add ice, for the shock of it. In a cocktail shaker, shake 1oz Jack Daniels, 1oz cherry juice, 0.5oz amaretto, and 0.5oz ginger brandy (for spice). Pour over the ice and cherries, and then top with cherry cola (something something Lana Del Rey something) and stir.

In this Red Room, you’ll be feeling no pain.

Or, for those of you who’re a little more experienced, our friends over at learningmixology have suggested iced Earl Gray tea mixed with bruised peach simple syrup and bourbon, garnished with hand-slapped mint leaves. We’ll give that our spank of approval.

Photo © Tastebook

I’m so, so, so sorry.



The literature: emmastraub's THE VACATIONERS

The libation: We here at Proof Reading firmly believe that no family vacation should be endured without the strategic application of some local liquor. And when in Mallorca, do as the Mallorcans do. Palo de Mallorca was initially brewed as an herbal curative for malaria in the 1600s, but as time went on, the islanders started adding alcohol and using it more for - well, let’s just call it self-medication.

Pour a small measure over ice and sip by the pool as your family works out their issues back in the hotel room - after all, you can only drink Palo on Mallorca, but your family is your family no matter where you go.

Doing the research for this blog is the coolest thing.



The literature: Richard Adams’ WATERSHIP DOWN

The libation: We here at Proof Reading believe that classics should never, ever be boring. Watership Down has certainly never run that risk - a violent epic about politics and religion among rabbits is a perennial crowd-pleaser, as you might expect - and so we’re pairing it with a classic dry martini, with a botanic twist.

Combine 2.5oz dry gin and .5oz dry vermouth in a shaker with ice, shake, and strain into a martini glass. From your garden, pluck a couple chive blossoms. Rinse them and pat dry gently, then set them adrift on your martini. After the drink is gone, you’ll have a lovely boozy/savory snack, redolent of the countryside on a late spring day.

One more suggestion, if we may - if you plan on having more than one, eat something substantial. No rabbit food.

Photo © Mama






god complex is an unshakable belief characterized by consistently inflated feelings of personal abilityprivilege, or infallibility. A person with a god complex may refuse to admit the possibility of their error or failure, even in the face of complex or intractable problems or difficult or impossible tasks, or may regard their personal opinions as unquestionably correct.[1][2] The individual may disregard the rules of society and require special consideration or privileges.[1]

I love books as much as anyone but thinking about them as some sort of scripture or indispensability that requires protection from the vulnerabilities inherent of a capitalistic market is ignoring the basic need of the industry to cater to the consumer rather than the consumer catering to the industry. It’s that kind of superiority that distanced the publishing houses from the will of the people in the first place and led to the condescension of the editor toward the general populace. Come back down to earth.

…or maybe it was a joke? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯



The literature: italicsmine's CALIFORNIA

The libation: So society has crumbled and you’re living in a shack in the woods of inland California with your somewhat taciturn lover. Good for you! Nice hustle. Once you’ve gotten through that first rough winter and are starting to feel comfortable living out in the wild, brew yourself a nice reward.

On a quiet day in late summer, pick as many ripe huckleberries as you can carry home, turning the front of your t-shirt into a makeshift bowl when you run out of room in your bucket. Wash one cup of the berries, mash them, and dump them into a quart jar. Add in 4 tbsp of raw honey (your lover suffered a fair few bee-stings obtaining it, so don’t let it go to waste) and fill the jar the rest of the way with the vodka you bartered for from the man with the horse and cart who passes by every now and again. Shake it well, and store it in a dark, cool place.

After a month, strain out the berries, and replace the jar to brew for another month or so. In midwinter, when you’re in dire need of a reminder that warm weather and relative ease will return, break out the cordial, and remember the sun on your face. Use in a cocktail if you can find the other ingredients - your kingdom for a bottle of bitters - or just sip as is.

(Just please, for everybody’s peace of mind - be absolutely sure you’re not pregnant before you do so.)

Photo © SFW




And boom - new Gone Girl trailer. 



(But there’s always going to be a tiny part of me that wishes the universe had listened to my Rachel McAdams/Ryan Gosling dreamcast idea - or, as Liam calls it, The Notebook: Darkest Timeline.)



The literature: emilygould’s FRIENDSHIP

The libation: As far as your sommelier knows, there is no vineyard producing wine under the Tired of Your Bullshit label, which is a shame, as so much of the internet would be raising a glass of Over It cab sauv after this week if there were. But until one of you perfect creatures buys some prime land in the Napa Valley, let’s all kick back with a Misandry Margarita.

First, rim your glass with salt you’ve assiduously harvested from men’s tears. Add 1.5oz blanco tequila, 3/4oz Cointreau, 3/4oz lime juice, and 1 tsp agave nectar to a cocktail shaker and shake well with ice, preferably while dancing around your apartment to Bikini Kill. If you prefer your margarita on the rocks, remove the diamonds left at your feet by your male admirers from the freezer and drop a few into the glass. Pour and garnish with a lime wedge, signifying your eternal bitterness. Sip while using one of your male slaves as a footrest.

Photo © Punch


Publishing pals, check it - I’m on this panel for youngtopub tomorrow night!



The literature: Nicole Krauss’ THE HISTORY OF LOVE

The libation: Nicole Krauss pulls the plastic bottle of Georgi from her tasteful Kate Spade satchel and pours a generous amount into her half-empty fountain Diet Coke. She proffers it to the old man on the bus stop bench next to her, who shakes his head, bemused. “Even the fucking cups,” she says, taking a sip and wincing at the taste. “He was ‘bored’ at Chipotle when he supposedly came up with that genius idea? Yeah right. He was ignoring me while I was trying to talk to him over my carnitas bowl. Refused to even look at me, no matter how extremely loud or incredibly close I got. Said that’s what I got for eating animals.”

She takes another pull from the straw and empties the rest of the vodka into the cup. “And I can’t believe I let him talk me into selling the townhouse. That was a great house, you know? That glassed-in front sitting room especially. I miss that room. Man walks into a room like that, you’d think he’d think twice about moving, no matter the profit. ‘We might need the money for future emergencies,’ he says. Bullshit. I know he just thinks Park Slope is over - as if Boerum Hill’s any better.”

She stands, stumbles a bit, sighs, brushes off her artfully distressed skinny jeans, and starts to walk away. “Illuminate this, asshole,” the old man hears her mutter as she wanders into the artisanal Brooklyn dusk.

Photo © Cultivating Thought

Sorry I’m not sorry.



The literature: Jess Walter’s BEAUTIFUL RUINS

The libation: It’s hard to go wrong with a pairing for this novel, which spans half a century and half the globe. But for true elegance, class, color, and straight-up audacity, your perfect cocktail for Walter’s astonishing book is the Elizabeth Taylor.

Stir together 4oz chilled champagne and 3/4oz Crème De Viollete and pour into a champagne glass. Garnish with an Amarena cherry. Find yourself transported to Cinque Terre, to LA, to Edinburgh, to Seattle, to Idaho. Fall in love.

Bonus drinking game: finish your drink when Richard Burton shows up. God knows he would have.

Photo © YCW

Me, earlier today: “I haven’t done Beautiful Ruins yet?! HOW HAVE I NOT DONE BEAUTIFUL RUINS YET?!”