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Tequila Mockingbird, by Tim Federle [and Running Press] is a clever cocktail book based on a risky premise: puns. Now, I personally love puns. And personally, my family hates my puns. My daughter once sent me an article by Mark Twain: “How to Tell a Joke.” I did not smile, let along laugh.

Well, Tim Federle has a better sense of humor and a refined pen. His singular idea is to generate cocktails using names that pun great literary works.

Did you ever read, or see the movie, Lord of the Flies? Awkward concept there: kids running wild, makes you afraid to be a parent. You are much better off just drinking Tim’s inspiration: Lord of the Mai-Tais. Two rums, juices, grenadine. All your fear will be abated. Two of these, and you might be able to tackle the book after all.

The 75+ ideas here are grouped with disdain for political correctness:

  • Drinks for Dames
  • Gulps for Guys
  • Bevvies for Book Clubs
  • Refreshments for Recovering Readers [as in no alcohol]
  • Bar Bites for Book Hounds [as in nibbles to absorb alcohol]

These beverages not just renamed classics. The Blizzard of Oz is more than a pina colada because a banana has been stashed inside. Probably one of Dorothy’s adult needs.

The Rye in the Catcher, with honors to J.D. Salinger, combines rye whisky with pineapple and lemon juice and adds ginger beer. This could inspire you to write something yourself.

My own sweet tooth was attracted to The Adventures of Sherbet Holmes: berry sorbet, champagne, ginger ale, and fresh berries for garnish. Sherlock appears in two television shows now: on PBS [season already over] and the popular Jonny Lee Miller on CBS. Honest to God, I can’t imagine jumpy Miller downing this, but the PBS Sherlock is more of an amateur chemist. And he likes bubbly.

One final example. With Sochi behind us but Russia in our minds, how about indulging in some Crime and Punish-Mint: vodka [of course] combined with coffee liqueur, crème de menthe, and light cream. Surely a few of these and all guilt would be erased. Or forgotten.

This lovely book is playful, tasteful, and approachable. The drinks tend to have 3-5 ingredients. Preparation is usually: pour, shake and imbibe.

Tequila Mockingbird belongs, not on your bookshelf, but right on that bar, resting against the bottles and ready for enjoyment.