The Boulevardier
This is the standard, traditional method of serving a Boulevardier. The drink depicted is poured as a double.

So at the behest of my buddy and fellow author, KM Alexander, I’m going to start a new series here on this old blog. Current Cocktails (his title, credit where credit is due) is going to be a series detailing the cocktails and other imbibements that accompany me through the adventure of writing. For better or worse.

The first cocktail in this series is tied to my current WIP (Work In Progress).  All in this series will be linked to some current work. As I have discussed in a previous post, I tend to be a bit of a method writer and I’ve found that alcohol adds a pleasant aspect to experiencing the lives of the characters we write. My current novel is set in 1920’s Paris and as such, cocktails abound. Those of the American Lost Generation flocked to Paris’ booze soaked establishments to drink cheap and live large. Today’s cocktail is attributed to one such American expat, Erskine Gwynne, writer and founder of the Boulevardier, a short lived monthly magazine printed in Paris and the source of this cocktail’s name.

Also, you can be pretty sure that if I’m writing about a drink I’m also drinking that drink at the time so all the details I provide will be full on, in your face, hard hitting journalism. Or at least tipsy musings on tasty beverages. Either way. Enjoy.

The Boulevardier

This delightful concoction is basically the bastard child of the Manhattan and the Negroni. In true Manhattan fashion, either bourbon or rye whiskey will work. Also in true Manhattan fashion, traditionalists will argue ad nauseam about which is correct however, when rye is used, the drink is more often referred to as the “Old Pal” which is such a great name. As for the Negroni half of the family, Campari is the star of the show. It’s insane red color and bitter bite both shine through. Anyway, on to the recipe. (more…)

A number of weeks ago, I came across an article from BBC reporter Steven McIntosh titled Could ‘Method Writing’ be the Future for Novelists? The article, like many articles about writing, made me reflect on my own practice and I realized that I am, in a sense, a method writer.

Before we can begin to understand what method writing is, we need to mention method acting. Focusing on the popular Strasburg Method, the quick description of a method actor is that they physically and mentally live or have lived in a way that mirrors the character they are portraying to some degree.  Think of it as collecting experiences to draw from. This is thought to help the actor understand their character more deeply and thus provide a more accurate, compelling portrayal.

A light  version of these methods could include learning an instrument or taking up fencing. Some actors take it to the extreme and never break character for the entirety of the shoot. Daniel Day-Lewis is famous for doing this with pretty much every character he plays. Bill the Butcher from Gangs of New York was especially hard to be around. He learned to throw knives, gut carcasses, and got into real fights in parking lots.

Now, let me be clear. If I ever write a story about being stranded in the desert, I will not be drinking my own pee in order to understand the experience. Nor have I become an opium addict for my current WIP (spoiler alert?). I am no Daniel Day-Lewis but I will say that many of the lighter concepts behind method acting have worked their way into my writing without my knowledge. The more I thought about it, the more I realized that much of it has been there from the start. (more…)