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Culture

Nick Mamatas’ New Book Mixes Up Cocktails and Fiction

Μixed Up: Cocktail Recipes (and Flash Fiction) for the Discerning Drinker (and Reader) compiled by Greek-American Nick Mamatas and Molly Tanzer is a charming collection featuring cocktails and fiction. The talented Mamatas is perhaps best-known for his novels, including The Last Weekend and I Am Providence, and an impressive array of short fiction. One of his stories is included in Mixed Up. Mamatas, whose family hails from Ikaria, took the time out from his busy schedule to talk to The National Herald about the inspiration for the book.

“My earliest inspiration has to do with the Greek diners my relatives worked in when I was a kid. They weren’t feeding me cocktails of course, but the paper place mats often featured line drawings of cocktail diagrams, and the images intrigued me. Many, many years later, I bought my friend Molly Tanzer, a writer and cocktail hobbyist, a book of cocktail recipes from San Francisco, and we had the idea to do one of our own, with fiction instead of essays on cocktail history, and soon enough we got all Mixed Up!” Mamatas told TNH.

When asked about his contribution, he said, “My own story in the book is about the vodka martini and has a cameo appearance by Vladimir Putin!”

The vodka martini is, of course, well-known as the favorite cocktail of James Bond who prefers it “shaken and not stirred,” as the line appeared in Ian Fleming’s Dr. No in 1958.

“A cocktail is like an excellent story―bitter and sweet and over too quickly, but the memory of it stays with you. From the Pimm’s Cup to Smoking Bishop, the Manhattan to the Moscow Mule, Mixed Up features not only more than two dozen classic recipes and hot tips on ingredients and preparations, but new cocktail-themed short stories from some of today’s most popular and acclaimed writers,” as noted in the book’s description.

The contributors include: Mamatas, of course, Maurice Broaddus, Selena Chambers, Jim Nisbet, Jarret Kobek, Benjamin Percy, Libby Cudmore, Dominica Phetteplace, Gina Marie Guadignino, Tim Pratt, Elizabeth Hand, Robert Swartwood, Cara Hoffman, Jeff VanderMeer, Carrie Laben, Will Viharo, and Carmen Machado.

Mamatas’ short fiction has appeared in Best American Mystery Stories, Year’s Best Science Fiction & Fantasy, and many other anthologies and magazines. His previous anthologies include the Bram Stoker Award-winner Haunted Legends (co-edited with Ellen Datlow) and The Locus Award nominees The Future is Japanese and Hanzai Japan (both co-edited with Masumi Washington). Mamatas’ editorial work has also been nominated for the Hugo and World Fantasy awards. He resides in Berkeley, California.

Molly Tanzer is the author of the novels Creatures of Will and Temper, Vermilion, and The Pleasure Merchant. Her acclaimed short fiction is collected in two volumes, the British Fantasy Award-nominated A Pretty Mouth and the cocktail-themed Rumbullion & Other Liminal Libations. She co-edited the anthology Swords v Cthulhu and currently serves as editrix of Congress, the bi-monthly magazine of thoughtful erotica.

Mixed Up: Cocktail Recipes (and Flash Fiction) for the Discerning Drinker (and Reader) compiled by Nick Mamatas and Molly Tanzer will be on sale in early October and is currently available for pre-sale online.

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