NB: This post is a translated and somewhat edited version of something from my old cocktail blog.
Andy’s phone went Hallelujah.It was Doug.
-You have to come and see this bronze of a veiled dancer,greek,like third century B.C, a boatload of time ago and they were doing this kind of shit.
-Is there a Heater Topol-like girl standing in front of it? Andy asked.
-No, but she should because this is profound.
-Doug, keep looking.
-Nothing in the Impressionists?
-I’m lost in the old master.
-Every door is like a wormhole in here.
-Two characters discussing in & sons by David Gilbert.
It’s not just in museums that you can come across a wormhole that takes you somewhere unexpected. It also happens in libraries and bars. In this case it was a book that lead to another and so on.
It started with the wonderful My Salinger year by Joanna Rakoff which I encourage everyone to read. It’s the well-written and delightful account of Rakoff’s job at a publishing house where she was in charge of handling all the fan-mail addressed to J.D Salinger. I’m not a fan of his works but fascinated by the man and the emotions he stirs.
Anyway; that lead me to reread Catcher in the Rye (which I liked less then the first time) and Franny and Zooey(ditto). Didn’t make through For esme-with love and squalor but on returning that to the library I stumbled upon &sons by David Gilbert. I do like a book with an ampersand in the title. The funny thing is that it is a book that tells the story about A.N. Dyer, a writer who is a lot like the myth Salinger. There is a Salinger-esque quality to the whole thing but that might just be how I interpreted it after being in a bit of a binge. Dyer wrote the novel Ampersand which is, in the story, the “big novel” of that generation, in battle with the Catcher in the rye. It’s all very meta and I did have to poke fun at myself for liking something that was so obviously Salinger-influenced more than the works by him. I suggest you read more here (It’s link to an article in The Atlantic that also takes up the question; how the fuck to pronounce the title?)
As is always the case with me one thought leads to another and I end up making a cocktail. I started out by having a look at the cocktail inspired by Catcher in the Rye that is found in Tequila Mockingbird. There is one, it’s rye based which is probably a reference to the title of the book, which in turn is a wrongly heard line from a poem by Robert Burns. Hmm. I can do better.
Caulfield orders Scotch& soda throughout the book. A standard drink and despite being a minor bartenders serve him. Alcohol obviously does nothing to improve his situation.
I assume that a minor would try to act sophisticated and be very specific with the whiskey in order to convince bartenders that he was of legal drinking age. In this case I used Laproaigh as it is my thing. I like my whiskey smokey and that’s that. When it came to the soda I decided to twist things by using an old trick of putting a few saffron threads in it; unscrew the cork, put in a few threads, screw the cork back on and let it sit for half an hour. Easy as that. Use small 0.5 liter bottles.
I also decided it needed some sweetness; there is a scene where Caulfield debates with himself wether to have a glass of orange juice or not. Can’t remember how it ended, just that he gave money to the nuns also present at the diner.
As drinks are had a plenty in &sons as well I decided to included it in the name.
Catcher&Sons; yields one drink
4 cl Lapraoigh
2 cl orange cordial (here)
- Pour the whiskey and orange cordial in a tumbler glad with a few ice cubes. Stir.
- Top with saffron soda and a lemon zest.