The Cocktail Chronicles-Cynthia Lee Katona- a Marvelous book!

January 15, 2015

I love the book named the Cocktail Chronicles by the effervescent author, Cynthia Lee Katona.  This marvelous little book is both a memoir and a cocktail guide for the interested.  I love the qualities of this easy reading book because it tells the author's story without fluff that sometimes plagues personal memoirs.  This book is well written and kept my attention.  It even made me thirsty as I mixed a few of the drinks along with reading the effusive prose.  I loved the lines like this one: "The Mezcal was a little like truth serum, bringing out the hallucinatory essence of each of us." and "Walking down a dark street in Lisbon one night, I saw a small, green bottle shaped like a bullet, in a liquor store window.  It was a double shot of Absinthe waiting to be tasted.  I did not know the ritual of the slotted spoon and the cube of sugar, which is now more often associated with French Pastis, so I went back to my room and downed the whole thing.  When I woke up thirty hours later, I had a roaring headache and the sense that I could write deep, dark poetry like Baudelaire."  Now that is my kind of writing!  It's not often that writers relinquish their "writer's sense" by delving deeply into their vices, but drinking two large pours of Absinthe can and will have drastic effects upon the body and the mind.  It's darned dangerous stuff in the wrong hands. 

I'm fortunate to know better than to drink Absinthe straight!

The chapter that describes the Strega Pink Witch is filled with irony that is very personal to me.  That is because I too am a lifelong cat lover and this cocktail is every bit as tempestuous as a un-vaccinated, feral cat.  The claws can eviscerate in milliseconds what was once clean skin - as this cocktail can cause great damage if the strength of the ingredients are not carefully respected.  After all, as my friend Steve Hoeffner would say to me, you cannot be friends with everyone (animal) that you meet.  Perhaps that's why my fingers are torn to shreds... 

Help me understand why I cannot own a Honey Badger?

The Strega Pink Witch is a gorgeous little cocktail.  Combining 2 parts gin along with 1 part Strega (a Sicilian herbal confection containing 70 different herbs and spices) with freshly squeezed (is there really anything that you'd use other than freshly squeezed?) Pink Grapefruit Juice... served over crushed ice into a Collins glass... whew.. it's going to be a rough road ahead if you don't watch out. 

I had to nag at you, but in the hot weather, you really don't want to drink more than four.  It will be a rough ride!

It's rare that I find an author who writes with so much passion (other than myself of course)

This book is a great little read! I especially liked the instructional on tequila shots.. "Breathe out, lick the salt, down the tequila and bite the lime. (Start again)

I'm a huge fan of this seventy one page book... 

Is there going to be a sequel? 

I though that Cynthia was just getting started at seventy one pages!

Thank you for allowing me the pleasure of reviewing this book, I scarcely wanted to put it down... and several sips in, I didn't have to!


Thank you to Bill Owens of the American Distilling Institute for sending me a copy of this lovely "little" book from White Mule Press.