FOUNDER + CREATIVE DIRECTOR
Lindsay Merbaum is a queer feminist author and high priestess of home mixology. Her award-nominated short fiction has appeared in PANK, Anomalous Press, The Collagist, Epiphany, Gargoyle, Day One, Harpur Palate, and Hobart, among others. Her essays and interviews can also be found in Electric Literature, Bustle, Bitch Media, The Huffington Post, The Rumpus, and more. Lindsay lives in Michigan with her partner and cats. A 2021 Foreword Indies Finalist, THE GOLD PERSIMMON was her first novel.
DESIGNER + OPERATIONS MANAGER
A transmasculine Jack of all Trades and self-proclaimed hobbit, Jensen Sikora (they/them) is a creative problem-solver with a background in higher education and nonprofit arts administration. Having earned a Bachelor of Art in Creative Writing and a Master’s of Liberal Studies in Theatre Community from the University of Michigan-Flint, their creative works run the gamut from playwriting to illustration to graphic design. Jensen lives happily in a hobbit-house with their spouse and spoiled fur babies.
Original logo by Jensen Sikora
Photo by Sarah Marcella
Photo by Sarah Marcella
THE ORIGIN OF PICK YOUR POTIONS
It all started with the French Lace, which sounds like perfume and lace thigh highs. It’s actually a cocktail served at The Fat Lady Bar and Restaurant in Oakland, CA where you feel like you’re in the sumptuous tea room of a sexy grande dame. In the early days of their relationship, Jensen and Lindsay would go there for brunch and although Lindsay would usually just pick at the food, the drinks were fabulous. Magical. The French Lace is served in a martini glass rimmed with sugar and contains a mix of pear vodka, champagne and elderflower. Lindsay loved it, but she didn’t want to schlep to The Fat Lady to get it. So she figured out how to make the drink at home.
Lindsay started experimenting with more champagne cocktails with violet liqueur and other unusual ingredients, adding rum or vodka. Before long, she and Jensen had amassed a strangely marvelous collection of liqueurs and bitters. Jensen gave Lindsay a notebook full of cocktail challenges and she began incorporating custom, themed cocktails into creative coaching workshops she was leading. The participants liked the drinks better than anything.
Then, the pandemic happened and there were no more workshops or parties. But Lindsay had a book coming out. To help generate collateral, she decided to create drinks to pair with her novel The Gold Persimmon. In the end, she created six sets of cocktails and mocktails: The Gold Persimmon, The Red Orchid, Clytemnestra, The Fog, Sex in Mirrors, and Do Not Disturb. Lindsay showed other authors what she’d done and offered to do the same for their books. The response was overwhelming. One by one, she took in novels and short story collections, poetry, memoir, nonfiction guides, and even a political science textbook. She absorbed their scents and scenes, harvested references, touched and tasted in her mind, then translated that experience into a drink and photographed it. The photograph is as important as the recipe: photography is its own art, and therefore tells its own story. In this case, the image sets a mood and stimulates your curiosity. It's all part of the seduction.
In addition to booktails, in October of 2021 Lindsay and Jensen performed another feat of alchemy, releasing sets of four cocktail recipes to honor each of the year’s eight sabbats, beginning with Yule. The complete set of 32 recipes is called the Wheel of the Year deck, named for the pagan spiritual calendar. A Zodiac cocktail and mocktail deck followed. This fall, the Mortal Goddess mocktail deck with debut.
Lindsay has also crafted custom cocktails for brands and small businesses like Exile in Bookville and be.womn. She created a cocktail and mocktail for each of Grubstreet's 2022 Muse and Marketplace all-conference reads and pre-recorded a 75-minute mixology class for writers to accompany the drinks. Her monthly booktail column "Booktails from the Potions Library" ran in Electric Literature from 2022 t0 2023. Lindsay's recipes have also appeared in Alcohol Professor, the LA Review of Books, All American Whiskey, and Tor.com. In addition to teaching writing and literature, she hosts mixology classes online and in-person.
To submit a request for a custom recipe, or to schedule a class or interview, please contact Lindsay at email@example.com.