A Time of Sweet Indulgence

“Here’s to alcohol, the rose colored glasses of life.”

– F. Scott Fitzgerald

On day three of my exploration of literary-themed cocktails, I’ve been drawn to Tim Federle’s The Grappa of Wrath. I have no Grappa and have no idea what it is, but I know I’ve been craving grapes. I just Googled Grappa and it turns out that it’s a grape-based pomace brandy. That sounds lovely—and pretentious—so I’m going to have to make some substitutions to this recipe.

I’m also going to change the name of the drink to The Grape Gatsby because my protagonist Greta, from the second book of my When Life Was Still trilogy, is a fan of F. Scott Fitzgerald.  Like Fitzgerald, Greta enjoys dwelling on the concepts of decadence and idealism—and how they coexist under the clouds of the American Dream.

These are the ingredients:

  • 2 ounces E & J brandy—because I don’t have Grappa (I don’t know what my brandy is made out of because the label is only telling me it causes birth defects, driving impairment, and health problems. I feel I should know what I’m drinking, so I just Googled E & J brandy, and I learned some things. “American brandy is distilled from grape-based wine. If the producer uses other fruit, it must be stated on the label.” And the E & J on my brandy label stands for Ernest and Julio Gallo, the wine guys. I had no idea!)
  • 2 ounces lemon juice
  • 2 ounces simple syrup (left over from yesterday’s major cooking accomplishment)
  • 1 ounce Welch’s Sangria (which is 100% grape, pear, and orange juice) –instead of the grape juice in the original recipe
  • I mixed all of it in my husband’s malt cup, because I still don’t have a shaker, and poured it into a Collins glass over five frozen grapes (I wish the grapes were purple instead of green, but coronavirus avoiders can’t be choosers)
  • Top with S. Pellegrino sparkling mineral water–because I don’t have club soda

My review of The Grape Gatsby:

Four out of five stars. This tastes grape! I would have given it five stars, but I took away a star because the drink caused me to think instead of simply allowing me to participate in a decadent act. This drink is swell, but I think it might have been healthier to satisfy my grape juice craving by just drinking a glass of grape juice. And now that I’ve guzzled the drink and am doing the Charleston, I can’t help but wonder, Why five grapes? Why not four or six? A little too much think with this drink.

Here’s to you, old sport!


© 2020 by Julie Ryan. All rights reserved
No part of this document may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without prior written permission of Julie Ryan

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