Review: Tequila Mockingbird: Cocktails With a Literary Twist by Tim Federle

Tequila Mockingbird: Cocktails With a Literary Twist by Tim Federle, illustrated by Lauren Mortimer. Running Press. 138 pp.

Tequila Mockingbird: Cocktails With a Literary Twist by Tim Federle, illustrated by Lauren Mortimer. Running Press. 138 pp.

Literary lush alert! I love a good cocktail allllmost as much as I love a good book, so this selection seemed perfect for me. English major? Check. Cocktail enthusiast? Check. Chortler at a terrible pun? Check!!!

The former barista in me still gets a thrill whenever I create a concoction (alcoholic or non) that makes my guests stop and say, “Wow, this is good. What’s in this?” Now I’ve got a bevy of beverages to attempt, and I cannot wait until my living room is finished so I can stock my liquor cabinet. (Our liquor cabinet is actually an antique medical cabinet. Get it? It’s like…modern medicine! Silly, I know, but it amuses us.)

Okay, back to the book. Tequlia Mockingbird deals with classics, but not in an overly highbrow way, which I appreciated. I mean, I’ve read many-to-most of the books featured here, and they’re serious works. (Well, most. There are entries for children’s books and chick lit, after all.) But Tim Federle manages to make the summaries move breezily with some remarkably clever plays on words and literary quips.

The cocktails are mainly variations on the staples, which I’m sure you can guess from names like “Are You There God? It’s Me, Margarita” and “The Joy of Sex on the Beach.” There are a few that I’ve never heard of or tried as well, though, and they sound delicious. I’m especially jazzed to try “Frangelico and Zooey,” and not just because the Glass family is one of my top five literary families. The drink sounds excellent.

Not only is this book clever and quirky and mouth-watering, it’s easy on the eyes as well. Printed in chocolate- and rust-colored ink, it features artwork by Lauren Mortimer that is simultaneously witty and gorgeous. I especially enjoyed the illustration for “Paradise Sauced” (an apple martini), which substitutes a martini glass for the Tree of the knowledge of good and evil, with a snake wrapped around the stem.

All in all: I had high hopes for this book, and it delivered. Entertaining, attractive, and useful, it’s the whole package. It would make a great gift for an English major. (I would have loved to receive this as a gift, but nobody picked up on the hints I was dropping, so I went out and bought it for myself…and I’m so glad I did!)