Weekend Pairing

“Deacon King Kong”
+ a Brooklyn Cocktail

Deacon King Kong by James McBride

James McBride's books tend to sneak up on you. Every couple of years, he puts out something that reminds me he's one of America's most gifted writers. After winning a National Book Award for 2014's The Good Lord Bird, he returned this week with a novel that might just be his best.

Set in 1960s Brooklyn, Deacon King Kong is the insightful and witty tale about what happens to the witnesses of a shooting. We're introduced to Cuffy Lambkin, a cranky old church deacon who goes by the name Sportcoat. When he shoots a drug dealer at point-blank range in the middle of a crowded housing project, we're thrown into the chaotic lives of everyone involved—from the victim and neighbors to the local cops, churchgoers and even the neighborhood's Italian mobsters. It's a riveting and, at times, unsettling story that pits faith and love against loyalty and humanity.

Your Pairing:

What should you sip while tearing though this undeniable page-turner? How about the Brooklyn cocktail? While less known than its more famous neighbor's namesake drink, the Brooklyn is an easy drinking alternative to the Manhattan, according to Serious Eats. Apparently, it dates back to the first decade of the 20th century, but has largely toiled in obscurity since Prohibition. Amer Picon can sometimes be difficult to find in the United States, so if you need to, you can simply use a few dashes of bitters.

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