Calling all bards, barflies, bookworms, and any and all who enjoy bursting out in uncontrollable laughter: Shakespeare, Not Stirred: Cocktails for Your Everyday Dramas was penned with you in mind. Authored by Caroline Bicks, Ph.D, and Michelle Ephraim, Ph.D—both Shakespeare professors and humor writers—this literary delight serves up hilarious recipes for Bard of Avon–inspired drinks and appetizers, as well as plenty of trivia and illustrations guaranteed to put you under the influence of England’s national poet. Here are five reasons to drink down this uproarious read.
Had a rough day? Going through a tough time? Never fear, Shakespeare, Not Stirred has a cocktail for that. In fact, each chapter has its own clever theme for whatever ails you, be it comedy or tragedy, from “Now Is the Whiskey of Our Discontent: Drinks for the Domestically Distressed” to “Shall I Campari to a Summer’s Day?: Romantic Occasions.” My personal favorite? “Get Thee to a Winery: Girls’ Night Out.”
Within, classic images from the Folger Shakespearean Library have been outrageously doctored (with libations) to feature all of the Bard’s bawdy crew in various states of intoxication: gallivanting with tumblers, tiptoeing over red Solo cups, passed out next to bowls of guacamole, or even staggering home on that long Walk of Shame dragging a sword and gimlet.
One might fear that a cocktail book written by Shakespeare aficionados could be heavy on the literary and light on the liquor, but rest assured, the drinks featured here are top shelf. Not only are they as clever as Cleopatra (“Et Tu Brut Champagne Cocktail,” “Juliet’s Emoji-to,” “Caliban’s Wrong Island Iced Tea,” and “Kate’s Shrew Driver” to name a few), they are downright delicious. Who could resist “Antony’s Fuzzy Naval,” concocted of lemon, sea salt, peach nectar, Cointreau, Grand Marnier, and prosecco? That’s certainly no shot of hemlock.
Bicks and Ephraim know that any night (midsummer or otherwise) of drinking must include some sustenance, so here they definitely deliver (just not pizza). Alongside the cocktail recipes are delicious snack recipes, aptly called “Savory Matters.” These are not your average soggy bar nachos. These are fine garden party–worthy hors d’oeuvres with laugh-out-loud names, like “Bertram’s Crushed Nuts,” “Hero’s Pity Påté,” and “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern’s Brown-Noser Steak Bites.”
Literary lovers rejoice: in addition to all the food and fun, there are also sectionsthroughout that fall under the witty heading “Mini Bard.” These little sidebars (pun intended) serve up Shakespearean facts and commentary sure to leave you thirsty for more. From insight into Ophelia’s drowning to questions over whether Shakespeare did or didn’t write Titus Andronicus, these savory tidbits are fun to peruse while you’re punch-drunk on the Bard.