Last year, when I read Stacey Lee's Under a Painted Sky, I fell in love. Between the characters who discovered a new best friend, the sweet (and hot!) cowboys they meet along the way, to the gorgeous rendering of the wide-open American west, I thought this was a particularly special book. I'm so happy that I can
make you read it recommend it as the January FYA book club pick!
After a trip like that (and a book that makes you tear up), though, you're going to need a cocktail.
As a nod to Sammy's Chinese heritage, I've infused honey with five-spice powder, and as a nod to the Wild West (not to mention the punny name value, of course), I've paired it with rye whiskey. Although chokecherries aren't available around here, I decided a maraschino one would be a nice salute, and the lemon juice makes the cocktail almost as tart as real chokecherries. Finally, you "paint" the rye with pomegranate arils or juice, rendering it the bright fuschia color of a spectacular Oregon Trail sunset.
The overall effect is sweet, tart (like the grapes Sam and Andy pick from the vine after a brush with death), and spicy from the rye and five-spice powder. If you can get Luxardo maraschino cherries, they're a real treat, and add a richness to the cocktail that the neon red variety can't.
UNDER A PAINTED RYE
- 1.5 oz rye whiskey
- .5 oz Cointreau or other orange liqueur
- .5 oz five spice honey (recipe follows)
- .75 fresh lemon juice (Meyer, if you can get them)
- 2 tablespoons pomegranate arils, or 1 scant tbsp pomegranate juice
- 1 maraschino cherry (Luxardo or another nicer-quality brand preferred)
- Orange peel
Add all ingredients except cherry and orange peel to cocktail shaker. Muddle arils thoroughly, if using, and then add ice. Shake thoroughly, about thirty full seconds, until the shaker is quite cold, and strain into a cocktail glass. Drop a cherry in the bottom, then twist the orange peel (this will release the citrus oil) and rub around the rim of the cocktail glass. Drop into glass, if desired. Serve!
Five Spice Honey
Makes enough for four cocktails
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1/4 tsp five spice powder
In a small saucepan, combine the honey and five spice powder. Over medium-low heat, warm the honey until it's warm and quite fragrant (this will take several minutes). Do not let boil. Remove from heat and let cool completely.
Under A Painted Sky is the January FYA book club selection. Make sure to check out our monthly calendar, giveaway, Stacey Lee's cobbler recipe, and stay tuned for one more giveaway next week! Don't have an FYA book club of your own? Join one, or start a chapter in your location!