Bryan, Alexis, and Davis are thrilled to be sharing one of their favorite books with all of you this month! Our June Book du Mois is Ocean Vuong’s seemingly autobiographical novel, On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous. Vuong’s protagonist, Little Dog, writes a letter to his mother, who cannot read or speak English, describing the events of his life with both compassion and brutal honestly. Vuong explores the realities of race, class, and masculinity as Little Dog struggles with domestic violence, drug abuse, and the inter-generational trauma of the Vietnam War. This coming of age novel reveals the power and joy of telling one’s own story, and is also a part of our Pride Month reading list.
As you enjoy this tough but rewarding read, burn this month’s Candle du Mois created by our favorite candle-maker, Maria of Jules & Esther. This month’s candle is called Trà Lài and is a lovely blend of sweetgrass, jasmine, lily, amber, musk, and vetiver.
Our June Book du Mois discussion will kick off Beausoleil’s First Annual Pride Day, and The Whisper Room will be serving this month's Cocktail du Mois, Little Dog, a unique blending of flavors meant for the drinker who relishes in every sip. The Little Dog gives the initial kick of cognac and lemon juice, and follows with a smooth aftertaste of vanilla and jasmine tea. This cocktail is what we would call a palate punch, in the bet possible way.
We will be meeting in The Whisper Room to discuss On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous on Saturday June 26 at 11:30. Readers should know that this book includes depictions of domestic abuse, drug addiction, homophobia, mental illness, violence, and war.
Yesterday I pulled out my favorite cookbook from Beausoleil Books, Half Baked Harvest Super Simple, and I decided I was going to challenge myself. I not only wanted to make a delicious meal, but I wanted to make it beautiful. I chose the Penne Alla Vodka Two Ways Pasta and my own version of a pesto caprese salad. I also decided I was going to make one of the Whisper Room cocktails I created: Raspberry Lemon Dream. It all came out so amazing that I had to take a picture before I dove in!
Penne Alla Vodka Two Ways:
4 tablespoons salted butter
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 cup vodka
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes packed in olive oil, drained and chopped
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 (1-pound) box penne
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Fresh basil, for serving
I started with adding the butter, garlic, and red pepper flakes over medium-low heat in a large saucepan. I continued cooking, stirring often, and then added Ketel One Vodka (they say to never cook with anything you wouldn't drink). I cooked until the vodka reduced, added my crushed tomatoes, sun-dried tomatoes, large pinches of salt and pepper, and simmered the sauce over medium heat. After about 12 minutes I transferred my sauce to my blender and allowed it to blend until it was a beautiful orange color and pureed texture. I stirred in my heavy cream and allowed it all to simmer. Meanwhile, I boiled my penne pasta in salted water for 12 minutes. I then drained my pasta, added it to the sauce and mixed it all together. I whipped up my caprese salad on the side using butter lettuce, fresh basil, mozzarella balls, cherry tomatoes, and topped with a pesto, balsamic vinegar, and olive oil.
Finally, for the final touch I topped my pasta with shredded parmesan and began making my cocktail.
Raspberry Lemon Dream:
1.5 oz Belvedere Vodka
5 Muddled raspberries
1 oz Triple Sec
1/2 oz homemade simple syrup
Shake and strain into a martini glass
Voila! That was my yummy Sunday night meal. Stop by sometime to get yourself a Raspberry Lemon Dream and a copy of "Half Baked Harvest Super Simple!"
This month we're going on an epic sci-fi adventure into Area X with Jeff VanderMeer's Annihilation. Area X has been cut off from the rest of the continent for decades. Nature has reclaimed the last vestiges of human civilization. The first expedition returned with reports of a pristine, Edenic landscape; the second expedition ended in mass suicide, the third expedition in a hail of gunfire as its members turned on one another. The members of the eleventh expedition returned as shadows of their former selves, and within weeks, all had died of cancer. In Annihilation, the first volume of Jeff VanderMeer's Southern Reach trilogy, we join the twelfth expedition. With the anthropologist, the surveyor, the psychologist, and our narrator, the biologist, we will discover not only the strange things lurking in Area X, but also the strange secrets these explorers bring with them.
March’s Book du Mois Club meeting will be on March 27 at 11am in The Whisper Room, and we can't wait to serve you our delicious Cocktail du Mois, Ghost Bird. This clean, bright drink pairs perfectly with our Book du Mois. The summery aroma of basil muddled with housemade brown sugar simple syrup coats the mouth at first taste allowing for a warm backfinish of Bourbon and the tart flavors of fresh squeezed juice. The color and flavors of this cocktail gives us the "we're right there with them" vibes as we read along!
Stop by the store to pick up a copy of Annihilation, or use the buttons below to support us through our affiliates.
Join us on Saturday, February 28, at 11 am via Zoom for a delicious discussion of The Office of Historical Corrections by Danielle Evans. Although it is completely free, registration is required (check out the button below to register). The Office of Historical Corrections is a collection of short stories exploring human relationships and how the past haunts our present. We cannot wait until we can open up our Whisper Room doors, but until then our resident bartender, Alexis, has shared her perfect Cocktail du Mois that you all can make at home and sip with us! So check out the recipe, grab a copy of The Office of Historical Corrections in store or at either of the links below, and we can't wait to see you all on Saturday Feb 28!
Rêves De Chèvrefeuille (Honeysuckle Dreams)
1 Shot of Bayou Satsuma Rum, 1 oz St. Germain, 1 oz honey syrup, 1 oz lime juice, shaken and pour into martini glass, garnished with lime slice and half sugar rim.
It’s winter and what feels better after a long week of work, or a long week of not working, than cozying up with a good read and a delicious cocktail? The Office of Historical Corrections, gave us sweet, citrusy vibes and we’re running with it!
With winter’s surplus of citrus, and delicious satsumas growing in my entire neighborhood’s backyards, we were inspired to bring this month’s book flavors to life. What’s in this winter’s elixir? You have locally made (and absolutely delicious) Bayou Satsuma Rum, the iconic elderflower liqueur — St. Germain, fresh squeezed lime juice, and a dash of sweet, golden nectar otherwise known as honey. Give that a good shake with ice, pour into your most extravagant martini or coupe glass and viola! If you really want to take it to the next level, or you just enjoy being fancy, give your showy glass a sugar rim, and top your cocktail off with a slice of lime.
Bayou Satsuma Rum is the perfect base for a delicious, soul-warming cocktail. It adds a faintly sweet citrus to the creamy vanilla of Bayou’ silver rum. St. Germain brings the elegance. It’s pleasantly floral and sweet without being too sugary. Fresh squeezed lime juice, key words — fresh squeezed, gives the tartness any good cocktail deserves, and pairs beautifully with the honey syrup! Honey, in my humble opinion, is the best of the sweeteners! Mix equal parts honey and hot water, stir, and let it sit. Now you have yourself the perfect last touch for the Rêves De Chèvrefeuille!
This drink is perfect for that friend who “really wants to get into Rum but hasn’t found THE drink that turns them,” for that winter gathering you’re planning to host, or if you’re just looking for the cocktail that satisfies every inch of your pallet. This is the one! Try Honeysuckle Dreams and you’ll be dreaming about it for weeks!
Jefferson Street Journal is Beausoleil Books's online blog for book reviews, news, and more!