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A Cocktail Pairing for GOOD GRIEF, THE GROUND with Margaret Ray

 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. Margaret Ray is the author of the debut poetry collection Good Grief, the Ground, and below, she shares a little back story and a cocktail (or mocktail) that pairs well with her poems. Cheers, and happy reading!

from Margaret Ray:

"The three foods that show up the most over the course of GOOD GRIEF, THE GROUND are peaches, apples, and… meat.  I am interested in human carnivorousness and the baked-in reckoning with mortality that comes with it.  Some of the poems even bend toward the cannibal…in fictions, the idea of cannibalism is wrapped up in identity loss or identity theft, or the ways modern culture can invite us to consume people as “content,” or as obsession so deep one wants to take the object of obsession into one’s own body...


I am mostly vegetarian these days, so rather than use this space to offer some kind of fruit-glazed cut of meat (delicious, if that’s your thing), I suggest instead a peach negroni, with or without booze.  Just like I’m tending vegetarian these days, I’m also drinking less and less, but still sometimes crave what my love and I call “a mouth treat.” (A mouth treat is, of course, anything festive or celebratory that satisfies a kind of especially tactile, but really any sensory desire in your mouth, and that you don’t strictly need to satisfy hunger or thirst).  Though apples kept appearing in these poems as I wrote, I wrote towards the peaches more consciously.  Of course all this fruit comes from thinking about the Eden myth, the Fall, etc., and therefore about sensuality and the pleasures of the body, but peaches do that for me better than apples.  A rock-hard, out-of-season peach is only good for cooking, but a perfect summer peach is just…transcendent, isn’t it? At the height of ripeness, you have to eat it over the sink it’s so juicy, but it bruises easily and if you wait too long, you’ll miss the window and it will rot on your counter in its fuzzy skin… and if that isn’t a memento mori and a lesson on squeezing what joy and pleasure we can out of our short time here, well…"

Non-alcoholic Peach Negroni: 

  • 1 part tonic water (for the fizz)
  • 1 part Sanbitter Red or Ghia (for that Campari bite & bright red)
  • 1 part gin substitute (like Monday or Ritual)
  • 1 full dropper of non-alcoholic bitters of your choice (orange is delish)
  • 2 parts peach juice
  • Sprig of rosemary or mint for garnish
  • *serve with ice*

Boozy Peach Negroni: 

  • 1 part gin
  • 1 part vermouth
  • 1 part Campari 
  • 1 part prosecco
  • 2 parts peach juice
  • Sprig of rosemary or mint for garnish
  • *serve with ice*
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