Welcome to our second entry in Stone Skin on the Rocks, our series that pairs stories from our anthologies with thematic drink recommendations. We believe that a good story can enhance a beverage, and vice versa, and who better to ask for the best pairing suggestion than the authors themselves? Today’s two contributions come to us from Robin D. Laws and Kyla Ward, and offer something for the imbiber and teetotaler alike.
We will start with Robin, veteran editor of five Stone Skin Press anthologies and sometime contributor, who writes:
Cocktails v. Cthulhu
When asked to think of an alcoholic beverage to pair with Shotguns v. Cthulhu, or my apocalyptic story in it, thoughts naturally turn to blood. Rivers and rivers of blood.
The Bloody Mary must be discounted, first for obviousness, secondly for connotations of Christian blasphemy out of keeping with Lovecraft’s inhuman mythology.
The Toronto setting of my story, “And I Feel Fine”, might suggest that most Canadian of mixed drinks, the Bloody Caesar. Though its crucial clam juice ingredient does evoke the swirling waters of R’lyeh, its associations of patio and cottage feel too happy for a nightmarish end to life as we know it.
Instead I submit to your attention a drink with greater bite, the Blood Jaguar.
2 oz cachaça
2 oz freshly squeezed blood orange juice
1/2 lime, quartered and muddled
Serve on the rocks.”
It’s worth noting for the uninitiated that cachaça is a sugarcane spirit from Brazil that bears a similar pedigree to Rhum Agricole (rum distilled directly from sugarcane rather than its byproducts, like molasses). When not mixing up Blood Jaguars for his inhuman house guests, Robin can be found on his website or Twitter.
Our other thematic beverage comes to us from frequent Stone Skin Press contributor Kyla Ward. Kyla can be found online at her website, and her entry for our series provides a very different sort of lift from Robin’s contribution:
“The reading of ‘Cursebreaker: The Jikininki and the Japanese Jurist’ in The New Hero should be accompanied by fine sencha; that is, a Japanese green tea. The best teas in Japan come from the Uji region near Kyoto, where the plant has been cultivated since the fourteenth century. Although she was some way to the north, in Yamagata, the Cursebreaker scaled the Sacred Mountains in search of a soothing bowl.
“Do you know the last place I got to sit down for an hour? To put my feet up and drink something hot? Well, it involved the Spanish Inquisition and that’s why I shall now move onto the sake.”
In the eighteenth century, green tea was rapidly adopted in Europe by such writers and artists who were over that other green beverage: absinthe. Green tea was renowned for its stimulating effect on the mental, especially the imaginative faculties. I myself can attest to its effectiveness in bringing on weird dreams. For this reason, it came to share the myth of absinthe: that it could drive the habitual drinker mad. This belief is reflected in Sheridan Le Fanu’s Green Tea, and Bram Stoker’s The Judge’s House.
But proper sencha should be brewed in an earthernware pot and served in a glazed bowl. First, the fragrance must be appreciated. Then it should be sipped slowly, and the mind allowed to wander, like the Cursebreaker, through time and space.”
Both Shotguns v. Cthulhu and The New Hero are available directly through Stone Skin Press, as well as all finer booksellers. That’s it for now, thirsty readers–you don’t have to go home but you can’t stay here. See you next week when we have another round of Stone Skin on the Rocks!