Max Gladstone is making Dark & Stormys to celebrate his novel, Book Burners, on today's Drinks with Reads. The very title of his novel sends a chill down my book lovin' spine.
Dark & Stormy
Some books have power. Some books have teeth. Bookburners is a television series in book form, a collection of episodes that, taken together, tell the story of the Vatican’s secret Team Three, a group of heroes who travel the world protecting people from the monsters and magic that lurk between the pages of ancient tomes.
Sal Brooks, the team’s newest member, is a New York City police detective whose brother has been possessed by a demon. Thrust into a world of magic and Vatican politics, Sal looks for answers. She wants friends. She wants her brother back. And she wants to protect her world from threats outside and within.
Along the way, she’ll punch a meat monster, argue with a goblin king, uncover ancient mysteries, and wrestle entirely too many things an overeager prose stylist might describe as “squamous,” “rugose,” or “eldritch.” Good thing the Vatican has excellent dry cleaning.
The ideal Bookburners drink is the Dark and Stormy. I never had one of these until I moved to New England—which as everyone knows is tentacle monster and fish person headquarters in the ol’ US of A—but I wouldn’t be surprised if they’re popular elsewhere, as it’s one of the easiest cocktails to make: just good dark rum (I prefer the Kraken, for its tentacular connotations as well as its deep, spicy sweetness) and ginger beer, the stronger the better, in a 1:2 ratio, served over ice. No muddler required!
The Dark and Stormy sounds ominous, and in a highball glass it even looks foreboding, certainly compared to the calm amber of an Old Fashioned or the cheerful blush of a whiskey and soda. But the Dark and Stormy is in fact one of the most fun and refreshing drinks you’ll mix. The ginger beer pings off the palate, vibrant and wakeful, and its bubbles enliven and relieve the depth of the rum. It drinks with dangerous ease, especially if you have ample materials to hand on a summer night, and is best enjoyed with friends.
Bookburners’ first season, like the Dark and Stormy, is all about contrast. Our episodes draw on themes of horror and suspense: possession, illusion, curses, transformations, demons, things that go bump in the night. Whenever Team Three shows up, they walk into the worst day of someone’s life.
But Team Three arrives with the premise that monsters can be beaten—that friendship, honesty, and trust give people the power to stand side by side against impossible odds, and win—or at least push the apocalypse back another week. Sal and her friends on Team Three fight against long odds, and against the tide of history, but that just makes it more important that they stand shoulder to shoulder.
Of course, sometimes it’s harder to face your internal demons than the external sharp-teeth-and-saliva kind. But that’s what friends are for.
That contrast between horror and adventure is we make our magic—not the demonic kind, don’t worry—and it’s the reason I think the Dark and Stormy is the perfect Bookburners beverage.
Besides—you can’t have just one!
1 part dark rum (Ideally, The Kraken)
2 parts strong ginger beer (the more evil the better)
Pour over ice.
MAX GLADSTONE has been thrown from a horse in Mongolia, drank almond milk with monks on Wudang Shan, and wrecked a bicycle in Angkor Wat. Max is also the author of the Craft Sequence of books about undead gods and skeletal law wizards—Full Fathom Five, Three Parts Dead, Two Serpents Rise, and Last First Snow. Max fools everyone by actually writing novels in the coffee shops of Davis Square in Somerville, MA. His dreams are much nicer than you’d expect. He tweets as @maxgladstone. Bookburners, which he wrote with Margaret Dunlap, Mur Lafferty, and Brian Francis Slattery, is available from Saga Press in January.