Drink of the Month (February): Gimlet

We’re talking book launches on the show this month. Not how to launch a book, but how to survive your book launch. Survive your book launch, you ask? Isn’t it the happiest day ever? Your words in the world! People buying them! Everyone congratulating you!

And yes, it is all those wonderful things, truly it is.

But there’s also a lot of vulnerability in putting a thing out there and saying “Hey, stranger– I made this, you should spend your time and money on it,” or “Hello, I love this, but you might hate it and if so, you’ll probably tell me.” Also, while I’m being really honest, it doesn’t always (ever?) turn out quite like the dream in your head from a sales perspective. You might not hit all the lists.

So how do you manage all that and still celebrate your HUGE accomplishment? One big thing we’ll chat about is making sure you do something, even just a little something, special on launch day. It does’t have to be big, or flashy– just something you wouldn’t ordinarily do, that feels like a little party.

Which is where this month’s drink comes in. The Gimlet is a bit more work that pouring yourself a bourbon on the rocks, and it’s best served in a pretty glass, but it’s easy enough to make from things you probably have around. Perfect for a little celebration anytime. Here’s a nice, simple recipe (note the pretty glass– very important!).

Click here to RSVP for tomorrow’s show, and get a little reminder to tune in live. Cheers!

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Drink of the Month (January): Belgian Beers

Happy New Year! We’re kicking off 2016 by talking about the books that have inspired us in our writing careers. We’ll talk everything from those early books we read that made us think maybe (just maybe) we could be a writers, to the books that help kick-start our creativity, keep our spirits up, or give us brilliant ideas for the publishing/marketing/selling part of the business. These are the books that inspire us. That we come back to again and again.

For our drink this month, I’m going with the beers that inspired my love of craft beer. The ones I go back to again and again. It wasn’t so much that a Belgian beer was the FIRST craft beer I ever had, as it was the style that made me realize how much I LOVED beer.  Witbiers and saisons/ farmhouse ales are my favorites, but honestly I haven’t met a style that I don’t like. I could elaborate a lot more, but I’m trying to keep this post from becoming dissertation length. However, if you’re super curious Belgian beers this post covers it all very nicely.

Here are just a few of my favorite Belgian style beers from craft breweries in the United States (again, this post would get way too long if I didn’t give myself some constraints): Allagash, White (witbier); Goose Island, Sofie (saison/farmhouse); Brookyln Brewery, Sorachi Ace (saison/farmhouse);  Ommegang, Three Philosophers (quadrupel).

IMG_1468Grab a delicious pint and join us this coming Tuesday, January 5, at 8:30pm EST (RSVP here to get a reminder). We’re beyond thrilled to have Laura Von Holt join us again. In addition to talking about her favorite inspirational books, she’ll also be filling us in on the exciting details about the Creative Insight Journey classes she’s leading this month!

Cheers!

Drink of the Month (December): Cranberry Kir Royale

I’m so excited about this month’s drink! It was featured in the Food Network Magazine that landed in my mailbox way back in October and I’ve been anxiously waiting to share it. Cranberry is a flavor I strongly associate with both Thanksgiving and Christmas and adding champagne (or sparkling wine) to anything makes it instantly festive. Clearly then, in my opinion, the Cranberry Kir Royale is the perfect holiday drink.

It’s what I’ll be sipping on next Tuesday (December 1, 2015) at 8:30pm EST when First Draught gets together to chat about our favorite holiday food traditions and the role food often plays in the stories we write. We are thrilled to welcome special guest, Elisabeth Lane of the popular blog Cooking Up Romance— who knows a thing or two (or 50) about food and fiction.

IMG_2211You can RSVP here to get a reminder about Tuesday’s show. If you’re not able to join us live, you’ll be able to watch the YouTube replay or catch our podcast anytime (while sipping your Cranberry Kir Royale, of course).

Drink of the Month (November): Whiskey, All You Want!

If you tuned in to last month’s episode, you’ll remember that my choice for drink of the month was not so popular with Julia and Alexis. Apparently, neither of them are fans of pumpkin beer, and yet they enthusiastically supported my drink of choice in all their pre-show promo without complaining at all.

This month, to thank them for being awesome, I’m going with something I know they both love – whiskey. And to further make amends I even asked them to share their current favorites. So here you have it, What First Draught is Drinking–The Whiskey Edition:

  • Alexis Anne’s go to whiskey is Glenlevit and her absolute all time favorite is Templeton Rye.
  • Julia Kelly lists Glenfiddich or Macallan 12 as her alternating favorites. For bourbon, she’s currently sipping on some Jefferson.
  • There’s currently only bourbon on my bar, and I’m throughly enjoying my locally distilled Reservoir. (Though I am admittedly not the connoisseur that my co-hosts are.)

November’s show is all about finding your support system as a writer. You know, the folks who will encourage you when you’re down, push you forward when you’re stuck, celebrate wins with you, tell you what they love about your writing and what you could do even better. The ones who will share every ounce of knowledge with you and enthusiastically support your choice of pumpkin-flavored things they dislike — those people.

IMG_2168So grab your favorite whiskey and tune in this coming Tuesday, November 3 at 8:30pm EST for Finding Your People. You can RSVP here to get a reminder the day of the show. And of course the broadcast will be available on YouTube, Soundcloud and iTunes later, if you can’t make it.

Cheers!

Drink of the Month (October): The Great Pumpkin

When I started the First Draught Drink of the Month feature, I had every intent to alternate between beer and cocktails each month (fair coverage for all). Except now it’s October, and per the rotation it’s time to feature a cocktail, except, what about all those pumpkin beers …

I know, I know, there’s pumpkin everything these days and it can be a bit much. But I’ve always been a huge fan of a nicely spiced pumpkin beer. A phenomenon that well pre-dates pumpkin flavored Milano cookies, pumpkin hand soap, pumpkin potato chips and yes, even the hallowed Pumpkin Spice Latte.

So this month, while Alexis Anne and Julia Kelly (as her alter ego Vivienne Thorne) share all their amazing knowledge about writing serials, I’ll be sitting back, sipping a lovely fall brew. Serials are sort of trendy right now, just like all things pumpkin, but to stand the test of time you’ve got to create a well-crafted story meant to be delivered in small “sips”. And just like a good pumpkin ale, Alexis’ and Vivienne’s serials are perfectly spiced!

IMG_0648Here are some of my favorite pumpkin ales: Hardywood Park Craft Brewery, Farmhouse Pumpkin (my local favorite); Rogue, Pumpkin Patch Ale; Dogfish Head, Punkin Ale; Devil’s Backbone Brewing Company, Pumpkin Hunter; and Sam Adams, Fat Jack.

See you this Tuesday, October 6, at 8:30 PM EST to chat serials and sip pumpkin beer!

Drink of the Month (September): It’s Bitter, Baby

I’ve decided that when the drink of the month is a beer, I’ll choose a style of beer instead of one specific beer. Craft beer can be pretty regional and I would hate the thought of sending a west coast reader running around trying to find some fabulous ale that is only available on the east coast.

That being said– this month’s style is an IPA, but not just any ‘ole IPA. No, for September you’ll want to find the most hoppy IPA you can possibly find. The one where you put your nose over the glass and all you smell is deep citrus-y bitterness. The one that is going to sting the back of your tongue just a little bit (in all the best ways).

First Draught this month is all about social media, and let’s be honest– it can be a bitter pill to swallow at times. All you want to do is write and yet today’s publishing culture demands that you have an online presence. We’ll be chatting about how to figure out which sites are the best for you, how to use them to make genuine connections with readers, and how not to let it suck away all your writing time.

Just like that super-hopped IPA that seems like it’s going to be WAY too much, but has a sweet-ness to the finish, social media can be your new favorite thing. (Okay… maybe I’m getting a little carried away there, but we’ll at least help you make it drink-able.)

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To find a super hoppy IPA, look for styles with high IBUs (International Bitterness Units – yep, that’s actually a thing). Here are a few suggestions to get you started: Dogfish Head’s 90 Minute, Foothills Brewing’s Hoppyum, Sierra Nevada’s Torpedo, and Ballast Point’s Sculpin.

Cheers! And we’ll see you next Tuesday, September 1 at 8:30pm EST for First Draught!

Drink of the Month – Bubbly Manhattan

IMG_0577We’re rolling out a new feature here at First Draught. Every month, at least a week before our show goes live, we’re going to share our Drink of the Month with you. That way you can prepare in advance and enjoy our featured beverage during the show. Or, you know, just make the drink for fun right now. That works too.

Since we are just getting back home from the Romance Writers of America (RWA) National Conference in New York, the natural choice for August was a Manhattan. I googled recipes and found several excellent contenders. Then I stumbled on The Bubbly Manhattan, and the search was over.

The Bubbly Manhattan replaces dry vermouth with an IPA. That’s right, folks — it’s a beer cocktail. Even better, it’s a bourbon and beer cocktail. Clearly making it the most perfect drink ever for First Draught. Seriously, I’m not sure how I’m going to top this next month, but I’ll certainly enjoy trying.

Get the recipe for a Bubbly Manhattan here* and join us next Tuesday, August 4th at 8:30 EDT to talk about Hooking Readers with Effective First Chapters.

IMG_0579* First disclosure: I used bourbon instead of rye and a nice hoppy saison instead of an IPA (’cause that’s what I had on hand). Second disclosure: I’ve got the best job here at First Draught, but if Julia and Alexis ask — trying out drinks is super hard work.