THE BOOKTAIL

A custom cocktail for Confessions of a Third-Rate Goddess
created by mixologist Lindsay Merbaum of Pick Your Potions


CONFESSIONS OF A THIRD-RATE GODDESS

Ingredients
Dry champagne
1 oz. gin
0.5-1 oz. plum orange syrup
Lemon twist

Instructions
Prepare the syrup (recipe below). Once cool, add to a champagne flute, along with the gin. Top with chilled champagne. Gently stir as needed. Garnish with a lemon twist.

PLUM ORANGE SYRUP

Ingredients
1 c. water
1 c. sugar
2 ripe plums
zest of ½ an orange 

Instructions 
Slice and pit the plums, leaving the skins on. Then combine all ingredients in a small pot and bring to a boil. Simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and let cool, then strain. Discard solids. Store in a glass bottle or jar. Keep refrigerated.  


THE BOOK REVIEW

Kathy Biehl’s new essay collection CONFESSIONS OF A THIRD-RATE GODDESS takes you on a rollicking adventure through time and space, narrated by a performer, lawyer, singer, tarot reader, and collector of eccentric characters. (“Having a multi-faceted existence works when all the facets behave and stay in their designated sectors,” Biehl writes. “When they slide across borders and converge, the impact is unnerving.”) Tales include dick soap on a rope; a battered, well-traveled bust of Wagner; baby Jesus in a box; raucous parties; the mermaid parade, where sirens whip Odysseus, and other shenanigans. These hilarious snapshots also prompt reflection upon long-term friendships, and boyfriends best forgotten. Above all, this collection exemplifies the power of chosen family (especially within the queer community), who show up for one another and take whimsy seriously, eagerly going along for the ride. 

THE BOOKTAIL’S BACKSTORY

This booktail is made with plum orange syrup for kolaches, the Czech cookie of Biehl’s nostalgia, found in parts of her adopted state of Texas. Per a recipe blog called The Homesick Texan, common flavors include prune (dried plum). Hence the plum base of this syrup, beautifully seasoned with orange for the Orange Show, “Houston’s center for folk art weirdness.” Gin gives the drink a kick—for the many gin and tonics drunk throughout, and that one, desperate gin and Dr Pepper. The gin and plum orange syrup are topped with champagne, for a bit of sparkle. Champagne is also a nod to a failed attempt to ring in the new year flirting with eligible straight men. (The last line of the collection reads: “Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose”–the more things change, the more they stay the same.) And champagne brings the mimosa to mind, the flora grown in Texas, both in life and in memory: “Even after the front yard was cleared, I’d still see the mimosa tree that I climbed in my very first morning in that house (in an act that defied, and destroyed, day-old stitches in my knee)[…]” Finally, the drink is garnished with a refreshing twist of lemon, balancing the sweet and the bitter, perfect for a hilarious read that pays homage to loved ones of blessed memory.