Giveaway time! Chill your cocktail glasses, get out your shakers, bar spoons, and bitters, because I’m hosting a cocktail-based giveaway for Jesse Bullington‘s The Folly of the World, his latest giant book about swords, historical boys kissing and killing in equal measures, scrappy ladies, and serious goddamn Intrigue. Capital letter Intrigue, no less!

I’ve read a few drafts of Folly, and it’s seriously great. I’m tickled to be hosting this event of the century on my blog—even if the reason it’s here and not on Jesse’s site (apart from my excellent mixology skills and better-stocked bar) is that he’s been unable to stop a recent influx of spam comments which would make the premise of this giveaway nigh impossible. Which come to think of it, is apropos: Folly has a lot to do with floods, and he’s receiving a flood of spam … you know what, never mind.

Backstory: I’ve been working on perfecting a cocktail for a while, but had two versions that I could neither (a) find a name for, nor (b) decide which was better. Then I wised up and realized that having designed two delicious cocktails was not really a problem at all. It was then that the title “The Heavenly Twins” for the two drinks damn near suggested itself. I mean, right? They’re fundamentally the same, but different in interesting and intriguing ways, plus it’s cool to have an honorary cocktail for all victories relating to A Pretty Mouth.

The Heavenly Twins

(Both cocktails use this base)

1 3/4 oz cognac

3/4 oz bourbon

3/4 oz coffee liqueur

Then you can pick your poison! For the Chocolate Cherry version, add 2 dashes Aztec Chocolate Bitters and serve with a cherry in the bottom of the glass. For the Orange, use 2 dashes orange bitters and sere with a tangerine twist floated on top.

The results of your labor will either be a dark, seductive, cocktail on the sweeter side, with a lovely frothy top from the Aztec Chocolate Bitters, or a brighter, crisper drink that has a heady citrus nose and a fetching appearance if served with a delicate sliver of tangerine peel. Either will charm anyone you’d like to charm, I assure you, just like the Calipash heirs and whatnot.

Anyways! Upon witnessing (and sampling) the above triumphs, Jesse got to musing what a cocktail inspired by his writing would be. He came up with “The Grossbart,” which is a complicated but flexible potent potable that requires first stealing all of someone’s finest liquors … and then mixing them together so they’re all ruined and filthy. Since that’s not so much a recipe as a method, below you can see a reenactment:

Funny, sure. But the problem is … I really like Jesse’s writing, and so I thought this proposed beverage didn’t do justice to his literary stylings. Also I won’t let him actually steal all my scotch and ruin it.

Thus, to celebrate the release of The Folly of the World I’m hosting this contest so that you, dear reader, can try to best Jesse’s “The Grossbart” and come up with something a little more delicious. If you wish to participate, for the next ten days you can post in the comments of this post a recipe for a cocktail based on Jesse’s writing. Out of all the submissions he will pick 1 winner and 3 runners-up. All winners will receive a copy of The Folly of the World; the grand prize will have some sort of extra goody.


1. All submissions must directly reflect in flavor or method a character or leitmotif from one of Jesse’s three books: The Sad Tale of the Brothers Grossbart, The Enterprise of Death, or The Folly of the World. I’ve read ’em and he wrote ’em, so the more direct the association the better! Feel free to spice up your directions with references to his various works; open, abject flattery rarely goes unappreciated by writers, you know.

2. I have a modestly to well-stocked bar at my disposal, containing most common base-spirits and some fiddly liqueurs, bitters, and other bells and whistles. I’m willing to pick up some odder/uncommon ingredients but the likelihood that I’ll be able to perfectly reproduce your cocktail will be increased by your keeping the ingredient list sane. NB: Jesse has no dietary restrictions but he is allergic to beef, so if you get cheeky with Beef Jerky Flavored Tequila or something, you won’t actually get your cocktail tested. Also it would be disgusting, so there’s that.

3. All submissions must be sent in by 6 PM PST on December 10th 2012, which means you have two weekends and a lot of weeknights to test your recipe extensively. Winner will be announced on December 14th.

4. Winning recipes will be posted on this blog with a picture of the mixed cocktail and your method as you write it, so be prepared for fame.

Fanfic cocktails, my friends? Yes! Run out this afternoon and pick up your ingredients, spend some time working on your recipes, and send them my way! You can’t lose, because even if your drink doesn’t make it into the final three, you’ll be too schnookered to care.