Favorite Books of 2015

Believe or not, I do, in fact, read things published after 1935. The last week of December, for example, I spent burning through the wonderful, weird world of Archie AU* in a desperate attempt to meet my Goodreads Reading Challenge (Comic books count as books right? Shut up. I read Anthony Adverse this year.).

Actually I read many amazing books this year, some of them capital-“G” Great Books. I even had to narrow my list down this time, to the ones I was truly passionate about. And it is that carefully curated list which I present to you now. Ladies and gentlemen, my top four most-loved books discovered in 2015 are:
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The Pumpkin Coach

The Drink


Louis Paul lifts a little glass slipper filled with his potent concoction to the opulent wench in the pumpkin coach.

1 PART VERMOUTH (Italian Cinzano)
3 LIMES (to each pint)
SLATHERS OF ICE (or you will go home in a basket).

–from So Red the Nose

Oh cesoriac. This forgotten midcentury liqueur may be less popular today, but that makes it no less delicious.  Continue reading



      …if a few of our more robust clergymen are genuinely anxious to forward the cause of world peace and at the same time would like to tell their audiences how to bring good cheer into the home on Christmas Day, we suggest as a theme for a sermon Robert J. Casey’s unusual program for bringing about international good will.
Call Gin by it’s right name!
White distillations of corn, rye, barley or malt are made in almost every country on the face of the earth. They may vary slightly in composition but they seldom vary in spirit. The juniper berry is not universal, but Gin under a universal name might make all men brothers.
In fact the original name for Gin was Geneva, and it still goes under that name in Holland.
Here’s to Geneva and the spirits of peace.

— from So Red the Nose

As if 1930’s readers needed the holiday season or articles of war as an excuse to consume yet more gin. Although — regardless of what our old friend Casey might say — the juniper-based Dutch gin (also called jenever/genever) is technically not a gin as we know it, but rather the patriarch from whence all modern gins are spawned.  Continue reading


The Drink


Members of the So Red the Nose Club should read Asylum to discover what lies in store for incautious imbibers of Gin and Pernod.


Pour Over Large Lumps of Ice
Do Not Shake

– From So Red the Nose

It’s pretty ironic to have an alcoholic drink based on a book about rehab. Or is it actually the opposite of irony, since a drunk is surely a cocktail expert? #thingsenglishteachersshouldknow Continue reading


The Broad River


…the good-natured critic and novelist replied with a Broad River, which warmed and cheered his great-great-grandfather 150 years ago on Broad River in Georgia. The old gentleman had 24 children and lived to be 97 years old.

“Pour one quart of Peach Brandy into a silver goblet on and off during the day. After sundown a glass (or part of a glass) of water may be drunk.

– From So Red the Nose

So here we are once again, with me spending too much time and money hunting down quaintly dated liquors while the 21st century continues swilling pumpkin spice vodkatinis in blissful ignorance. Continue reading