Monday, October 15, 2018
Bars & Spirits

Tim Federle's 'Tequila Mockingbird' cookbook mixes literature, cocktails

TAMPA

It was a delicate dance. But having grown up as a Broadway dancer in musicals such as Gypsy and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Tim Federle was up to the task. On the one hand, the folks that crowded Inkwood Books on Jan. 22 were 11-year-old kids with an earnest appreciation for Federle's middle school novels Better Nate Than Ever and Five, Six, Seven, Nate! And on the other they were literature-loving drink aficionados charmed by Tequila Mockingbird: Cocktails with a Literary Twist, his new recipe guide voted the No. 1 cookbook of the year on Goodreads.

Fortified by pitchers of "Are You There God? It's Me, Margaritas," the booze hounds waited out the tweens as Federle signed their books and kibitzed quickly on this school night. While the two middle school books are autobiographical, born of his own experience as a conflicted teen who, "wanted to be a star but didn't want anybody looking at me," the cocktail book's inspiration came from elsewhere.

"My mother had a book club that would dissolve into opening wine. This was a tribute to my mom, born as a joke," he said to the crowd. "The idea was cocktail recipes that would evoke the feel of a novel. The titles were the easy part."

A Rum of One's Own, Bridget Jones's Daiquiri, the Last of the Mojitos — Federle swiftly came up with 65 hilarious tweaks on classic books, hiring cocktail consultant Victoria D'Amato-Moran to flesh out the recipes. Quick-witted commentary, drinking game ideas, book club drinks and an array of bar bite recipes complete the package that has made Tequila Mockingbird a no-brainer gift idea for the literary drinker. (His next book may be even savvier: Hickory, Daiquiri, Dock, a nursery rhyme book of cocktails for new parents — surely more fun at a baby shower than a Diaper Genie.)

Federle's three books were all published in the past year. For most new authors, a swirl of interviews and book tour gigs would be heady but disorienting. For him, it has felt like coming home.

"The thing I miss about performing is being with people."

Indeed, after the last book was signed, Federle adjourned with the Inkwood crowd to Tampa's Anise Global Gastrobar where guest bartender Kamran Mir recreated some of the book's cocktails. A longtime bartender at Czar in Ybor City, Mir worked at Inkwood while in college and met new owner Stefani Beddingfield at the bookstore.

Leafing through the book, Mir picked the drinks that sounded most intriguing to him: the Romeo and Julep, the Lime of the Ancient Mariner and yes, the Tequila Mockingbird.

Federle, for his part, stuck with water, mindful of an early flight to Pittsburgh for his next appearance. Aside from engaging with his fans, what has been the best part for this 33-year-old author?

"It forced me to read a lot of books I skipped as a kid."

Laura Reiley can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 892-2293. Follow @lreiley on Twitter.

Comments
Local craft beer of the week: Shipyard Pumpkinhead Ale, Sea Dog Brewing Co.

Local craft beer of the week: Shipyard Pumpkinhead Ale, Sea Dog Brewing Co.

October is the month where we stop complaining about seasonal creep and unapologetically enjoy the many pumpkin beers that have been on the shelves since late summer. Maine’s Shipyard Brewing Co. is one of the oldest players in that game, with...
Published: 10/11/18
Bar review: Platt Street Borough aims to be the go-to for SoHo-ites

Bar review: Platt Street Borough aims to be the go-to for SoHo-ites

As someone who has flirted with the idea of success for many years, it’s nice to see people who appear to be actively enjoying it. At least, that’s the vibe I get when I visit many of the bars and nightclubs in Tampa’s SoHo neigh...
Published: 10/11/18
No claws for concern? Hurricane Michael could be good news for stone crab season.

No claws for concern? Hurricane Michael could be good news for stone crab season.

Florida stone crabs just can’t catch a break. Last year, the season started strong but traps swiftly dried up, the season limping along with very low numbers and high prices. And this year, in anticipation of Monday’s season opening, we&...
Published: 10/10/18
Never made fresh pasta before? You don’t know what you’re missing

Never made fresh pasta before? You don’t know what you’re missing

This is usually how it goes on pasta night: You grab a box of Barilla from the pantry. You debate how much spaghetti to pour out, ultimately overestimate and drop a large handful of stick-straight noodles into a pot of boiling water. Maybe you spent ...
Published: 10/10/18
For a nutty, risotto-style dish, reach for the farro

For a nutty, risotto-style dish, reach for the farro

Italian farrotto is essentially a risotto-style dish made with farro in place of the usual Arborio rice. Although it is made with a similar method, farro’s more robust, nutty flavor gives the dish new dimension. But because much of farro’s starch is ...
Published: 10/10/18
We asked German people what they think of American Oktoberfest

We asked German people what they think of American Oktoberfest

For one, don’t wear fake lederhosen. For two, the celebration is way better in Germany, and caters to a younger crowd.
Published: 10/09/18
Here’s where to party for Oktoberfest in Tampa Bay

Here’s where to party for Oktoberfest in Tampa Bay

From steins to dancing to traditional foods, there’s no shortage of ways to celebrate the season.
Published: 10/09/18
From the food editor: Tahini brings new flavor to cooking

From the food editor: Tahini brings new flavor to cooking

Sometimes, you discover an ingredient and wonder, "How did I ever go so long without you in my life?"For me, that ingredient is tahini. Okay, I didn’t really discover it; I discovered Molly Yeh, a blogger and cookbook author who I’ve written about be...
Published: 10/09/18
Pizza is better made with New York water. Here’s how we know.

Pizza is better made with New York water. Here’s how we know.

ST. PETERSBURG — It’s the water. It has been the mantra of New York City pizzerias and bagel bakeries for decades. It is why my overhead compartment smells strongly of garlic and onion on flights south from LaGuardia or JFK; it is why To...
Published: 10/08/18
Crispy, convenient black bean taquitos you can make at home

Crispy, convenient black bean taquitos you can make at home

By Joe YonanI knew and loved taquitos long before I tried one from 7-Eleven, where they rotate along with the hot dogs (and plenty of grease) on that roller grill. At the Tex-Mex restaurants of my youth in San Angelo, Texas, they were called "flautas...
Published: 10/08/18