Thursday, February 11, 2016

A Fraction of Sherry for Ethan Canin

Ethan Canin.  I can't stress enough how much he shaped the ideas that the young version of me - Nick 1.0 - began to have about writing, about fiction.

About what works and what doesn't.  About what's important, what'll last.

His first collection of stories, Emperor of the Air, was released right after I graduated from high school.  Even if the lights were flashing in my rear view mirror, I wouldn't be able to make out the colors from 1984 - they're too far back, too much traffic is between the now and the then.

But - I easily remember being floored by those stories.  It was one of the most perfect collections I had ever read - and still is one of the best ever written.  

I get to meet him tonight at a cocktail party with a glorious handful of authors.  The best perk about being a bookseller?  It's the occasional but always wonderful parties that are sometimes held to celebrate an author and that author's work.

Because, of course, we should celebrate authors more than we do.

The even better news is that Mr. Canin has a new novel coming out in just a few days - A Doubter's Alamanac.

It's phenomenal.  And - it was easy to make a cocktail for it because there’s plenty of drinking going on.  At the start, sherry and bourbon flow freely, so that provided an easy pairing.

Then there’s the brilliant mathematician, Milo Andret, who looms over the novel’s pages.  Since he was as good at souring relationships as he was at solving theorems, I rounded out the equation with a startlingly tart kumquat.

A Fraction of Sherry

1.5 oz bourbon 
.75 oz dry sherry
.25 oz simple syrup
1 kumquat

Muddle the kumquat with everything.  Shake with ice.  Finely strain into a chilled glass.  Slice a kumquat to garnish.


  1. When I was getting my MFA in the early 90s, Ethan Canin was the literary man of the moment--a brilliant young writer AND a doctor AND good looking AND, to add insult to injury, rumored to be a really nice guy. We all joked about hating him, and by 'joked' I mean we were deadly serious. And his books really have just gotten better and better over the years, which frankly I find infuriating. :-) (Found your blog via J. Ryan Stradel's twitter feed and love it!)

    1. Thank you very much for your lovely note! I felt exactly the same way about Mr. Canin. Exactly. And, yeah, in my short time meeting him - a really nice guy. Just infuriating, right? AND - Mr. Stradal is in that league. Also infuriating. Thanks again!