fiction or fact

Six customised cocktails for the litfest season

Why drink the same old when you can drink the same new?

It’s going to be litfest season again, folks.

The vegetable dye kurtas have been altered, Nehru vests shaken out, dangly earrings polished and ethnic printed cotton saris with Durga-pattern borders starched.

As we speak, writers – big, small and morbidly obese – are preparing to hurtle through space towards places as diverse as Jaipur and Jagarlamudi, Ranchi and Ramagundam, to adorn stages, mics in hand, and talk without pause about their books past, present and post-apocalyptic future.

Book lovers, on the other hand, while pretending to listen in rapt attention, are preparing for when it’s their turn to do this.

Publishers and organisers, for their part, are laughing quietly in the wings, saying “What morons!”

Diverse as their goals may seem, what is the one thing that unifies them all? I mean other than their need for instant fame, glory and big money.

Alcohol, of course.

So, without further ado, some copyright-free cocktail recipes for the Literary Season.

The Whisky Sourgrapes

(for rejected writers)

Ingredients
2 oz spurious Black Label whisky
1 oz lemon juice squeezed fresh using rejected manuscript
1 teaspoon sugar (or artificial sweetener skimmed off any Delhi book blurb)

Preparation
Pour ingredients into cocktail shaker, fill with ice, shake vigorously and rant about the callousness of publishing houses for 20 seconds. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass, garnish with a sour pesticide-coated grape, say, “f#@k you, publisher, I’m uploading this for free on Amazon,” and pour down the hatch.

The Publisher’s Punch

(for the published writer)

Ingredients
2 oz dark rum (if you have white rum, stare hard at it, your mood will turn it dark)
2/3 oz of fresh lemon pulp made by beating lemons viciously with your unsold copies
A dash of bitters (if you’re out of bitters, don’t worry, a smidgen of aggrieved, dissatisfied, disgruntled, sullen, petulant or splenetic will do just as well)

Preparation
Pour ingredients into shaker filled with ice. Shake well like you did when you waited for your editor for five hours in the Delhi cold. Pour into large glass filled with ice. Add bitters or synonym thereof. Garnish with shreds of marketing plan sent by publisher for your book. Quaff and punch nearest wall repeatedly till your fingers break so you’ll be unable to write for some time.

The Mai Typo

(for the young, devil-may-care editor/publishing professional)

Ingredients
1 oz dark rumm (Or is it ‘rum’? Who gives a rat’s ass?)
1 oz amber rum (ditto. LOL! BTW, WTF is an Oz? Sheesh!)
1 oz fresh orange juice (from tetra pack, who the f#@k has the time to squeeze?)
1/2 oz (1 tablespoon) Cointreau (oooh, French, so sexy! Luv French fries!)

Preparation
Shake all ingredients in a cocktail shaker in a seductive manner, pout, take selfie/video and post on Twitter, Instagram and FB with #litfesttimes #feelingawesum #muah...add ice cubes, put one more pic with #chillin’ #feelinawesum...then strain into a glass filled with ice cubes, curse those bastard writers and their flood of bloody books, book, books, goddammit, and down in a single gulp.

The Bong Island Iced Tea

(to be had in groups constituting Lahiris, Roys, Ghoshs, etc)

Ingredients
1 part bodka (distilled from Bengal potato)
1 part kali mata (the traditional liquor of Calcutta, before you get your knickers in a bunch)
200 grams powdered hilsa bones
2 parts rosogolla syrup from KC Das
1 splash Coca Cola

Preparation
Mix ingredients poignantly together over ice in a lyrically translucent glass that is on the verge of breaking (while speaking animatedly in Bengali). Then pour tragically into earthen shaker and give it a brisk, profound shake. Pour ambrosia back in an achingly beautiful manner into the glass. Make sure there is a touch of fizz on top. You know only too well – alas! like love and life – it, too, is ephemeral. Sigh. Garnish with lemon. Wait for redemption.

The White Rush-In

(for the All-is-Fair-in-Love-and-Lit type)

Ingredients
2 parts coffee liqueur (anything dark will do, actually, like old engine oil)
5 parts vodka
3 parts cream (with extra whitener)
1 tube Fair & Lovely

Preparation
Pour coffee liqueur or dark brown substitute first into a colonial-style glass. Because it deserves to be at the bottom. Pour vodka next. It forms the necessary boundary. Pour cream last so it rests comfortably on the platform provided by the dark liqueur without actually touching it. Under no circumstances will you stir. For brown has to remain at the bottom. Apply Fair & Lovely generously to yourself and share drink with favourite gora author sahib who’ll teach you all you need to know about India.

The Gimlet Eye

(for the writer/reader with vision)

Ingredients
1 part sweetened lime juice
4 parts gin
2 crushed Adderall/Ritalin pills

Preparation
Pour gin, lime juice and powdered pills into cocktail shaker. Shake vigorously. Pour into thick-bottomed glass. Drink in one gulp and seamlessly use bottom of glass like a telescope to scout area for celebrity if you’re a reader, and anyone who can get you a fellowship / grant / award / review / article / sale / sex / shoulder rub (in that order) if you’re a writer. Abandon current company and hurtle towards target.

Honourable mentions

The Screwriter, The Royalteeny, The Die Query, The Print Julep, The Preorder Colada

Krishna Shastri Devulapalli is the author of three books and a play. His new novella, The Sentimental Spy (Juggernaut) is available as a phone download. His next book may be released via your microwave or Kohler’s Intelligent Toilet depending on who pays him more.

We welcome your comments at letters@scroll.in.
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HBX Platform | Courses offered in the HBX CORe program
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HBX Interface | Students can view profiles of other students in their cohort
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HBXers at ConneXt, with Prof. Bharat Anand
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