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A is for Absinthe: A Spirited Book of ABCs

Cookbooks and cultural conversation starters top our summer reading list

Reviewed by Wes Marshall, Fri., May 23, 2014

A is for Absinthe: A Spirited Book of ABCs

by Lara Nixon
Illustrated by Casey Barber
Self-published (available for purchase at www.aisforabsinthe.com), 38 pp., $18.95

Walk into any bar in Austin and you're likely to see them. Ditto for most any liquor store in town. And don't even get me started on the major distribution channels. I'm talking about the folks in town who slave over every detail, from providing the main ingredients to preparation to serving alcohol-based drinks. Check out the bartenders, servers, and shop workers. The vast majority are of the age for child rearing. Lara Nixon – the award-winning drink designer, educator, and co-founder of Bad Dog Bar Craft – has created a book that is made for mommies and daddies who work in the liquor industry and want something to read to their children that sort of leads to an explanation of what they do when they leave the house. She's targeting a niche market for sure, but a pretty darn big one.

This book is subversive in the most diabolical way. Can you imagine the livid response Ms. Nixon would get from most of Texas other than our little blue area? I can just see some member of the Daughters of the Republic with her head exploding while she is reading a child's primer on cocktails! Both Nixon's cute little poetic statements and Barber's colorful illustrations are sure to attract children, but there's also something here for adults. Besides being cute, the interaction of words and art is often hilarious and howlingly ironic. On top of everything else, it is cultivated and sophisticated. Imagine your 4-year-old telling granny that absinthe is "where the fairies come from." Highly recommended for intelligent people who like a great cocktail. And their children!

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