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Riverside Cocktail?

If there were a Riverside Cocktail, what would it be?

Last night, I had the great pleasure of entering yet another world (yeah, I kinda collect them), as my Swordspoint audiobook* producer, Sue Zizza, took me as her guest to the Audio Publisher's Association (APA) fall mixer.**  It was upstairs in a bar on W. 54th St - a glorious schmoozefest of Voice Talent (big names like Barbara Rosenblatt & Katherine Kellgren, aspiring beginners hoping to get noticed, and solid citizens including our own Joyce Feuring, who was so terrific in our Witches of Lublin [as was Rosenblatt]) and publishers & producers - including the lovely Tim Ditlow of Brilliance Audio, fresh - and enthusiastic - from recording Holly Black ( blackholly) reading her own The Poison Eaters collection!

I'd been told to listen for possible voices for Swordspoint - but it was a big room with a loud sound system - by the end, my heart - not to mention my throat - ached for all the people who earn their livings by their voice being forced to shout at the top of their lungs just to say, "Hi, how are you?" for 2 hours.

But anyway:  I also got to meet my company's executive producer - who justabout made me cry by placing her hand over her heart and saying, "I've just finished Swordspoint.  You are the Edith Wharton of fantasy!"***

We then got down to the serious business of PR.  "What's the drink in Swordspoint?" she asked.  "Beer," my engineer (David Shinn) and I chorused.  We contemplated various boutique beer labels someone could create.  Then we got down to the serious question of the Swordspoint Cocktail.

Yes, I have an idea - but I want to hear yours, first!

And, yes - whatever it is, there will be a little plastic sword.

*Patience, patience . . . I should be able to announce the distributor & release date in just a few weeks!  We are still recording.

** Yeah, I know - I thought that, too.  But this time, the boys didn't all stay on one side of the room leaning against the wall. #cashbar

*** When I told this to Delia, she grinned:  "Here's your elevator pitch, at last:  'My book is the love child of Alexandre Dumas & Edith Wharton!'"


( 48 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 20th, 2011 03:36 pm (UTC)
Ah, the cocktail of the book...

My first novel was called "The Samaritan" - and we were invited to a cocktail party around publication, so obviously we had to concoct it a cocktail. The brief was that it needed to be like the book: quite long, bloody and bitter-sweet. So:

Take a wine-glass. Add a measure of gin, a measure of cassis, a splash of orange juice, a dash of orange bitters and top up with dry martini.

It fulfils all its criteria, plus is lethal. And gorgeous, actually...

(Am now thinking about Swordspoint. Will return to this, if illumination comes.)
Sep. 20th, 2011 03:40 pm (UTC)
God - I shouldn't have posted this before noon NYC time, should I?

Now I really, really want one.
Sep. 20th, 2011 04:52 pm (UTC)
Hee. The internet acknowledges no time-zones: every hour is cocktail hour. (Yay!)
Sep. 20th, 2011 05:45 pm (UTC)
Oh. Oh my. That sounds excellent. (And I dislike gin...)
Sep. 20th, 2011 04:39 pm (UTC)
Not a cocktail, but I think that Alec drinks cognac.
Sep. 20th, 2011 04:53 pm (UTC)
Armagnac, surely? Cognac is the wine-drinker's brandy; Armagnac is the brandy-drinker's brandy.
Sep. 20th, 2011 05:06 pm (UTC)
When Patrick Marcel (AKA mantichore ) translated the book into French, we had to find another word for Cognac, though: according to him, a French reader would read that as "the brandy made from a particular region of France" - and, as we know, the City is not in France, oh no.

Sep. 20th, 2011 04:49 pm (UTC)
Surely we cannot force Diane to drink the same thing as favoured by Rosalie's regulars? Clearly there needs to be the Hill cocktail and the Riverside cocktail. (Little pastic swords in both, naturally. Although the Hill ones might be tastefully adorned with a ruby.)
Sep. 20th, 2011 04:54 pm (UTC)
Absolutely! I should have said above that it doesn't have to be a cocktail for the entire book. Can be an individual character, a neighborhood . . . . Go crazy!
Sep. 20th, 2011 04:50 pm (UTC)
Wow, tall order
Maybe a very dry gin shaken with ice, poured through a strainer, with a measure of a very smoky powerful whisky like Laphroaig? And a lemon twist. Sharp, crisp, astringent, complex, seductive, and a beautiful shimmering golden cloudy color. I could easily see Lord Ferris sipping such a concoction at a reception on the Hill.
Sep. 20th, 2011 04:53 pm (UTC)
Re: Wow, tall order
Okay. I'd drink that.
Sep. 20th, 2011 05:10 pm (UTC)
Re: Wow, tall order
I have drank that, with a tiny mist of absinthe over the whole thing. I can report that it is delectable.
Sep. 20th, 2011 08:03 pm (UTC)
Re: Wow, tall order
Madame is very kind not to grind the bootheel of memory in my face, as we both know perfectly well how I mocked her in the restaurant in Columbus, OHio, for ordering the same - and when I took a challenging sip, proceeded to swallow my words, as well.

Laphroaig makes a damn' good cocktail.

There. I've said it.
Sep. 20th, 2011 08:08 pm (UTC)
Re: Wow, tall order
I'm glad you accepted obvious truth, which is that that drink is delicious; happy our tastes run along similar tracks, Holly!
Sep. 20th, 2011 05:25 pm (UTC)
Brandy, bitters, and a measure of Maraschino. Although Diane might favor brandy and creme de violettes. Or elderflower cordial.

My lord Karleigh might prefer the equivalents of Calvados or Poire William, produced on his own estates. And he wouldn't mix it with anything.

Lord Horn favored pastis, in his latter days, when he wasn't drinking brandy, but as a dashing young man he preferred the version of a French 75 that's just champagne with a measure of brandy in it, possibly with a twist of lemon. Goes down so smoothly, and produces an inimitable glow of happiness. Not to mention utterly destroys anyone's inhibitions and often their good sense.

Michael Godwin drinks wine and brandy, but cherishes a secret low-born taste for hard cider, the really lethally strong kind. When his parents thought he was too young for more than a single glass of wine, he would sometimes sneak out with the stable lads at night and get plastered on the local cider.

It is considered unexceptional for ladies, even the younger ladies, to indulge in a kir or kir royale.

If they even HAVE gin, the people on the Hill disdain it, and it's only the more hardened drinkers of Riverside who'll touch it. (Drunk for a penny, dead drunk for tuppence, clean straw for nothing.)

How am I doing?
Sep. 20th, 2011 08:12 pm (UTC)
Really hard cider
In the West Country (England), the worst (best?) kind of cider is "scrumpy" - opaque and lethal. Good cider is at least 6% abv, often more. Of course in England, cider is always alcoholic, otherwise it's apple juice :)

If we're talking cocktails and Alec, I can't help thinking of the Long Slow Comfortable Screw up against the Wall: 1 part vodka, 1 part sloe gin, 1 part Southern Comfort, orange juice and Galliano...
Sep. 21st, 2011 01:42 am (UTC)
Re: Really hard cider
Question: Can a Screw Up Against a Wall ever be Long, Slow, or Comfortable?

Answer: Depends on how much liquor's in it.
Sep. 21st, 2011 04:02 am (UTC)
Re: Really hard cider
Scrumpy was exactly the sort of thing I meant! Thank you.

The idea of Alec and a wall worries me, because I remember his captivity and Lord Horn.
Sep. 20th, 2011 08:41 pm (UTC)
rikibeth: Fantastic! Gosh, do you work in the food industry, or something? ;)

And if you were attending a promotional party for the novel HERE, and you found listed a cocktail that was named after the book (or one of its characters or locations), what would it be?

annelyle: Oh, you are evil.
Sep. 20th, 2011 10:39 pm (UTC)
I'm going to have to second csullivan's concoction, with blackholly's addition of the absinthe, because that WOULD taste of winter and smoke and enchantment, which is what Swordspoint is made of.

The brandy-and-maraschino one is a general Hill cocktail, the creme-de-violette variation IS the Duchess of Tremontaine cocktail, and I can't imagine a St. Vier cocktail, because he doesn't like to be drunk!
Sep. 20th, 2011 11:16 pm (UTC)
Perhaps sparkling water for Richard, maybe with a squeeze of lime if the bartender ignores Richard's request for plain water.
Sep. 21st, 2011 03:17 am (UTC)
" winter and smoke and enchantment, which is what Swordspoint is made of."

Hmm, we'll have to invent something that *looks* very drink-y and dashing for Richard, but is in fact non-alcoholic - I'm sure plenty of other people at our imaginary party would appreciate that. Perhaps a tonic or seltzer in a fancy glass, with a dash of blood orange bitters?

Don't forget the plastic sword.
Sep. 21st, 2011 04:07 am (UTC)
Re: " winter and smoke and enchantment, which is what Swordspoint is made of."
Hee! My hydration drink in the summer, when it's disgustingly hot and humid, is ice water or ice seltzer with a generous splash of blood orange bitters. LOVE the stuff. And as they didn't have Gatorade in Riverside...

I wonder, though, how American non-alcoholic fresh-pressed cider would taste with the bitters to cut the sweetness. As it's cider season, I am TOTALLY going to test this out.
Sep. 20th, 2011 09:31 pm (UTC)
Rikbeth- I like the way you think.
Ellen- seek inspiration in Charles Baker's The Gentleman's Companion Volume II (Drinks). I highly recommend it. Does not appear the the NYPL has it, though.

In early life Alec would definitely drink brandy of some form, but later it's either something like Armagnac or anything at hand, depending on mood/state.
Sep. 20th, 2011 08:40 pm (UTC)
My first thought is something using chocolate for the highsteppers, like a chocolate run martini or somesuch. Ports and fortified wines seem promising; maybe a Broken Spur as a sweet variation. Elderflower cordial also sounds right.

I would think strong dark beers, spiced and dark rums, and variations of potcheen would be more likely with the regular folks. Maybe something like aguardiente as a variation?
Sep. 20th, 2011 08:40 pm (UTC)
Argh, RUM martini!
Sep. 21st, 2011 03:25 am (UTC)
Chocolate - of course!
Chocolate . . . yes! We were trying to think of important drinks & elements in the book, and that's definitely both of them.

And I like the idea of something with port. A Broken Spur sounds wicked! What will they think of next?
Sep. 21st, 2011 04:25 am (UTC)
Oh, yes, my lord Ferris is fond of his port. And probably the traditional blue cheese and walnuts that go with it.
Sep. 20th, 2011 09:01 pm (UTC)
Corpse Reviver!
Sep. 20th, 2011 09:22 pm (UTC)
Hey, wait - this is supposed to be "fantasy without magic"!
Sep. 20th, 2011 09:24 pm (UTC)
(Please bear in mind that I don't really drink and the following is based entirely on hypothesis!)
Surely absinthe is the drink of choice in Theron's Riverside, at least.
Now on the Hill I can imgaine them drinking Vodka And Stuff. You know, fruity Stuff, smokey Stuff, creamy Stuff, whatever floats their barges, but it would work before, during, and after a meal (quite probably all three without stopping) and will always look cute in those tiny little glasses I know they use.
Sep. 20th, 2011 09:27 pm (UTC)
Whiskey sours. and some sort of flip.

Maybe a death in the afternoon on the hill.
Sep. 20th, 2011 09:53 pm (UTC)
Brandy Alexander, of course!
Sep. 20th, 2011 10:40 pm (UTC)
LoL! Actually, I'll slip you my choice: the Alec Campion (cocktail) is, of course, based on lemon & honey.

Now I just need a Mixologist to figure out a way to make that into a credible & creditable cocktail.
Sep. 20th, 2011 10:57 pm (UTC)
For the honey, you could use Barenjager liqueur. Syrupy, tastes only of honey, but it'll pour.

That, and fresh lemon, and...thyme-infused vodka, maybe. I'm not quite sure how to get the other scents of Kyros into it. Bees, and sun, and lots and lots of thyme.
Sep. 21st, 2011 03:12 am (UTC)
Oh, yes, the sprig of thyme! (I'm a big fan of fresh herbs in drinks: back when we had a garden, I'd do a basil leaf in my Lillet, very nice.) Tho' it may be a bit premature to think of Kyros for Swordspoint?
Sep. 21st, 2011 04:14 am (UTC)
Well, yes, but honey and lemon for Alec seems to reflect the Alec of Kyros, not the rebellious student, who's far more astringent, but with a vulnerable core. Something like the hybrid of a Manhattan and a martini I had at Craigie on Main, with a gin that was already sweet, and maraschino (yes, I keep repeating that, it's my latest pet ingredient since I tasted an Aviation,and the presence of it was what made me order the drink in the first place - my boyfriend, who favors Kamikazes, was mystified by the selections so I pointed him at something with hard cider and Poire William and spices, basically liquid apple pie - he loved it), and a vermouth. I think. It was in January, and it's not on their menu at the moment, and it was both challenging and heavenly, which seems very like Richard's difficult young scholar to me.

Edited at 2011-09-21 04:19 am (UTC)
Sep. 20th, 2011 11:55 pm (UTC)
Can't help feeling that a popular cocktail on the streets of Riverside would be a Mickey Finn...

And seconding the person who says Alec drinks cognac.
Sep. 21st, 2011 03:20 am (UTC)
"a Mickey Finn" - ha!

Actually, the young Alec has an alarming sweet tooth (remember the "little iced cakes"?). So I'm not sure he'd really appreciate brandy or cognac until he's older. In Swordspoint, he drinks a hell of a lot of beer without complaining. He'd probably like all those drinks with curacao or triple sec in them - you know, the candyish but not too girly ones.
Sep. 21st, 2011 04:16 am (UTC)
Well, if it's a drink that echoes the flavor of little iced cakes, either it has Chambord in it, or it's an amaretto sour. But I still think the Craigie on Main amazing thing was much more the essence of Alec.
Sep. 21st, 2011 04:32 am (UTC)
Also, for Alec's sweet tooth, although this is not a drink, I think he would appreciate my favorite, custom ice cream sundae, the one I always order at the ice cream shop run by a local dairy: cherry vanilla ice cream, hot fudge, walnuts in syrup (how I LOVE those, and they're not so common any more) and fresh whipped cream.

I don't see sundaes on the Hill, but I can easily see a fancy, Careme-style ice cream bombe where the cherry-vanilla iced cream is improved by using dark brandied morello cherries (that's how they'd preserve them, after all) instead of the dyed-red modern things, garnished with the sauces I like, and the whipped cream would be unsweetened, for contrast.

I vaguely remember that a walnut liqueur exists, although I've never tried it. Playing with it would be fun.
Sep. 21st, 2011 11:58 am (UTC)
I'm glad you liked the Mickey Finn! Though given the vaguely seedy 19th-century feel to parts of Riverside, I think the people who mentioned gin were onto something.

I must admit, I was thinking of the older and more ducal Alec with the cognac, but I'd forgotten his sweet tooth (which is most unlike me! Though I suppose I've never actually cooked for Alec.).

Richard is a bit of a puzzle, though. I can't see him wanting to drink anything too hard which might interfere with his co-ordination etc. But drinking nothing at all might be even more dangerous. Beer?
Sep. 21st, 2011 02:29 am (UTC)
Swordspoint cocktail
Mine would be a Blood Orange Midnight Rider: 1 oz brandy, .75 oz triple sec, 1.5 oz blood orange juice, dash of bitters (naturally). Shaken gracefully, of course.
Sep. 21st, 2011 03:14 am (UTC)
Re: Swordspoint cocktail
Oddly enough, I just bought a fancy little bottle of "blood orange bitters" last week.
Sep. 21st, 2011 03:25 am (UTC)
Not plastic!
Wouldn't it be a little silver sword?
Sep. 21st, 2011 10:05 pm (UTC)
The people on the Hill drink fashionable cocktails, with rare and non-obvious ingredients, trying to top one another...
Sep. 21st, 2011 11:57 pm (UTC)
Which is why I went for the floral liqueurs for Diane! violets and elderflowers are not your common drink.
Sep. 25th, 2011 01:25 pm (UTC)
I like the preceding comments, all kinds of ideas for how to imagine the drinks. The first thing that came to mind was vodka shaken with a dollop of mole (blood and chocolate)garnished with a black rose (full of thorns of course). you catch the stem in your mouth and drink through it. Oh, and you hold a sugar cube in your mouth while you drink as well. It requires the motor skills of a swashbuckler. Dr. George Russell
( 48 comments — Leave a comment )

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