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A Cocktail Pairing for FLARE, CORONA with Jeannine Hall Gailey

 We asked our Spring 2023 authors to share about a food or drink to enjoy while reading their book, or one that appears often in their new collection from BOA. Jeannine Hall Gailey is the author of the poetry collection Flare, Corona, and below, she shares a little back story and a cocktail that pairs well with her poems. Cheers, and happy reading!

from Jeannine Hall Gailey:

This layered libation is a variation on a pomegranate martini, a cocktail that has the orange, pink, and red colors identified with solar flares and eclipses, and the ginger syrup and pop rocks give the drink a little kick that I hope evokes the “flare.”

  • 6oz - Tangerine juice (orange juice will work in a pinch)
  • 1.5-2oz – Vodka (preferable a gluten-free Vodka, like Luksusowa or the Northwest’s
  • Belle Wood Farms made from apples)
  • 2oz - Pomegranate juice (pure and unsweetened, like Pom)
  • 1oz - Ginger simple syrup (you can make your own, or there are ginger syrups made for cocktails)—reserve extra from rimming the glass
  • Coarse pink sugar or (ideally) crushed “Pop Rocks” (cherry or strawberry)—enough to rim the glass
  • Optional: candied ginger or candied orange peel and pomegranate seeds.

Pour a small amount of the ginger syrup into a flat small plate. Dip the rim of a martini glass in the syrup and then into the sugar or Pop Rocks.

Mix the citrus juice with the vodka in a shaker over ice and fill the martini glass to 3/4.

Separately, combine the pomegranate juice with the ginger syrup, which you then slowly pour through the orange juice without disturbing it, so that the red mixture settles at the bottom.

Serve with Northwest Fruit plate: Rainier cherries, apples, green figs with honey. Or gluten-free brownies and gluten-free blueberry crumb cake.

In Flare, Corona, you will find a lot of mentions of fresh fruit. When I was first diagnosed with terminal liver cancer, I started planting fruit trees – the first one was a weeping cherry – and I kept this up through the multiple sclerosis diagnosis, and then the pandemic, planting a Pink Lady apple tree, a self-pollinating green fig tree, a Rainier cherry tree, and some flowering

cherries. I think the idea was – leave something behind that’s both beautiful and useful.

We live in the suburbs without a lot of land (land comes at a premium in the Puget Sound area), so I also had a miniature back porch herb garden and grew a ton of flowers out there, including roses and sunflowers and hummingbird-friendly flowers. All that fruit, which probably symbolized sweetness, vitality, the hopeful things of life, was probably an echo of my new gardening habits. The other foods specifically mentioned – one has a love-interest making
gluten-free blueberry crumb cake (which my husband does make, and it’s excellent) and in a persona poem by a supervillain, the speaker mentions perfecting their gluten-free brownies.

My husband is the real baker in the family, so I could steal his recipe for you…but a lot of people with various auto-immune issues are told to stop eating wheat, dairy, and probably a long list of other things as well. I happen to be allergic to wheat – a full on anaphylactic reaction kind of allergy – so the gluten-free thing is a real thing in my life, as annoying as it might be.

The Flare, Corona cocktail was me trying to imagine what drink you’d want to be drinking in the last few years or during a solar flare or an eclipse event or even some kind of apocalypse. The colors and layers were designed to highlight the idea of the corona of the sun. I have been told it’s sweet and goes down easy, unlike the last few years!

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