Fifty Alcoholic Beverages

Fifty Shades of a New Project!

There’s this book that’s become pretty popular right now, not sure if you’ve heard of it, Fifty Shades of Grey by E. L. James. A lot of people have said a lot of things about this book, which is a fancy way of saying it’s difficult to find accurate information about it, but what I do know is that it’s a fanfiction author’s dream come true.

According to the Wikipedia article (, the work was originally a Twilight fanfiction piece, but was then removed from due to its graphic sexual nature. The author then decided to change the names of the characters and publish the story in a three-volume set, first as an e-book, then in print. From there, the books have become as wildly popular as the work that inspired it.

Like the Twilight books before them, the Fifty Shades series came under fire for glorifying the figure of the totally submissive woman who willingly participates in something of an abusive relationship with a controlling, obsessive, powerful man. Suffice to say, I’m not a fan of that kind of fantasy, so when I decided to see what all the fuss was about, I started off in biased territory.

They say that curiosity killed the cat, but since I’m a crazy cat lady and not actually a cat, I think I’m safe. So I’ve downloaded the first book, Fifty Shades of Grey to my Kindle and have started on this project to read and commentate. Since this is a food blog, I’ve got to say something about food here, so my project is entitled,

Fifty Alcoholic Beverages or How I Learned to Numb the Pain and Watch the Collapse of Modern Culture.

My roommate has a copy of The Little Black Book of Cocktails so using that as a reference book and the talents of my roommate as mixologist, I have selected 50 cocktails to go with each of the eponymous “shades of grey” in this novel. As a doctoral student of literature, I hereby proclaim myself qualified to offer judgment on this book and its characters, plot, language, and basis in reality. Here we go!

After downloading the book, I decided the next task would be the selection of several cocktails to start with and the inaugural liquor store run, since neither my roommate nor I drink enough liquor to have a well-stocked home bar. We pored over the cocktail book, picking not just stuff we would actually drink, but also drinks that contained the same kinds of liquor. Waste not and spend not too much.

We made our list and headed out. The first thing you must understand about my roommate is that she works for a Christian ministry, so upon arriving at the liquor store, she lamented her lack of forethought to bring a pair of dark glasses and hat in case she was seen by someone she works with. But she needn’t have worried about that. What we should have been concerned with is our lamentable inexperience with liquor in general. We made fools of ourselves wandering around the store giggling like a pair of sorority girls, looking for the cheapest stuff we could stand.

We nearly bought a $6 plastic bottle of off-brand vodka, but then my roommate pointed out that we might prefer using that particular item to sterilize our countertops rather than our insides, so we chose slightly better quality over slightly lower cost. Smirnoff it is.

It had been far too many years since either of us had been inside a liquor store and we couldn’t even locate the schnapps. We had to ask. You know you’re at a low point in your day when you’re clanking around a liquor store with a full basket of bottles and you have to ask the bemused guy at the checkout counter where the schnapps are.

Half an hour and over $100 later, we’re ready to begin.

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