Friday, December 02, 2016

Life Imitating Art

Most of my mental energy this year has been spent trying not to be outsourced finishing my first novel with Gwen Mayo. It's an amusing little story about two retired WWI nurses trying to keep their elderly uncle out of prison - or, worse, a coffin.

Cucumber gimlet at the Vinoy.
The novel takes place in Florida during the 1920's, so Prohibition is a major issue for one of the nurses. Teddy Lawless was caught in the trenches during a poison gas attack, and her lungs were damaged. Since then, she's taken daily doses of liquor for her cough. Medicinal alcohol is perfectly legal; she has a prescription from her physician. But Teddy really likes her medicine, and the allotted daily dose just isn't enough. She likes a good party, too, so she's met some very interesting people in her pursuit of good health.

Which puts me in an interesting position: I don't drink, but I'm writing a lush tippler. Once this book gets out there, and everyone discovers how good it is, readers will make assumptions about me based on Teddy. Gabriel Iglesias, also known as "Fluffy", talks about chocolate cake, so people bring him chocolate cake. I'm picturing myself surrounded by bottles (to be honest, I'd rather have the cake).

Secret exit not shown.

So, I've been trying various cocktails, trying to find one I can tolerate. I can deal with pina coladas (well, weak ones), but they weren't invented yet.So, I've been trying drinks that come closer to the recipes of the 1920s.

Experiment 1: We visited the Jungle Prada Tavern, better known in the 1920s as The Gangplank, a nightclub supposedly owned by Al Capone.

The pub food was great, but the drink I tried was far too strong for my dainty palate (the same one I eat Cheetos with). This was one of the milder rum drinks, plus I told the waitress to only put in half the booze they would normally use. I'm sure they did, but I felt my tastebuds shrink from the shock. Better luck next time, I told myself.

Experiment 2: We visited the Vinoy, which is a grand hotel in the old style. It also existed in 1926 St. Petersburg. This time, I experimented with gin. It was a common ingredient in the cocktails of that time. I tried the cucumber gimlet, which included Hendrick's Gin. The cucumber slice garnish was nice, but the drink tasted like medicine. Some research on the Hendrick's web site told me why: while the main flavors are supposed to be cucumber and rose petals (!), there were several infused botanicals I recognized from my days of imbibing herbal medicines. None of them tasted good.

I haven't decided what to try for Experiment 3. Maybe I'll just tell people I'm in recovery, and hope they'll take me at my word.

Available January 16th!

1 comment:

Ruschelle Dillon said...

Would you like me to adopt your orphan drinks? I'll suffer.

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