Comic Shots #22 with Ali Colluccio: Hot Toddy and ‘Blankets’

Each week the iFanStaff passes along a tasty drink recipe and an even tastier comic book recommendation. The cocktail (or beer, or wine, or booze) and the comic can both be enjoyed independently, but they have a common theme and when served together they can make for the perfect reading experience.


 

FINALLY! There is snow falling in New York City! And the Comic Shots Toasty Beverage Month feels a lot more appropriate than it did last week (or even yesterday) when it was 50 degrees. Quick, before it gets warm again, let’s curl up on the couch with a blanket, a comic, and a steaming mug of booze.

Last week, Chris shared his spin on the Hot Toddy. I don’t mean to be a lazy copy-cat, but I’d also like to share my personal recipe for the classic elixir of warmth (disclaimer: does not provide +5 Health). Even though the winter has been extremely mild in the Northeast, I’ve been slurping down Hot Toddies all season because I spent the majority of January with a terrible cold. As such, I’ve perfected my Hot Toddy recipe:

Ali’s Hot Toddy
• 2 oz Wild Turkey American Honey bourbon
• Boiling water
• 1 lemon wedge
• Dash of cinnamon
• Pinch of ground cloves
• Your favorite mug

This is similar in assembly to Chris’ recipe. Pour the whiskey into your favorite mug, add boiling water from the tea kettle, sprinkle in cinnamon and clove, squeeze in lemon, and stir. I use ground spices because I’m more like to have those in my cabinet than cinnamon sticks and whole cloves. But what really makes this cocktail shine is the Wild Turkey American Honey. With notes of honey, caramel, and orange, this bourbon is deliciously smooth and not at all syrupy sweet like you’d expect. If you can pick it up, I highly recommend it for this Hot Toddy recipe (or just to drink straight). Otherwise, feel free to use your preferred brand of whiskey (I use Maker’s Mark when I’m not making The Shirley Temples of Doom) just be sure to add a tablespoon of honey to the recipe.

A well-made Hot Toddy is warm and soothing — the ultimate comfort on a wicked winter evening. It’s the perfect drink for wrapping your hands around a warm mug, curling up in a cozy blanket, and reading comics.

Blankets
Written and drawn by Craig Thompson
Published by Top Shelf

Blankets has a bit of a reputation. More often than not, it’s referred to as “the book you give to your girlfriend to get her into comics.” But for me, Blankets was not that book. I started picking up comics because I loved superheroes (and zombies). I didn’t really need to be sold on comics as a medium, and there were plenty of mainstream, monthly books for me to try out. So after four years of reading the funny pages, I finally picked up Craig Thompson’s illustrated novel to see what all the fuss was about.

I fear I may have waited a bit too long. Like Brian Wood and Ryan Kelly’s Local, Blankets is a book that I think would have been completely in love with had I read it in my mid-twenties. That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy these books; I adore them to pieces. But instead of strong emotional resonance, I felt the pangs of nostalgia.

What shines most about Blankets is Craig Thompson’s exquisite work as a graphic novelist. It’s just heart-achingly beautiful. He’s equally masterfully with intricate details and simple brush work. And he knows exactly how to use both of these styles to elicit the right emotional response for the scene. His most recent work, Habibi, is a masterpiece. But all that talent shines through in Blankets as well.

From a narrative perspective, it’s not unique — a standard tale of adolescence and coming of age as well as the all-consuming wrought emotion of being in love when you’re 17.  I found myself enjoying the scenes between Craig and his younger brother Phil as kids more than the swooning and pining moments of between Craig and Raina. But Thompson beautifully encapsulates that moment in time, preserving it in amber.

There’s a warmth to Blankets. A warmth that melts through all the snow and isolation of the Michigan and Wisconsin winter. It’s like comfort food in book form, and that makes it a fantastic comic to read while you’re curled up with a steaming Hot Toddy, watching the snow fall outside your window.

 


Ali Colluccio enjoys comics, cocktails, and curling. You can contact her at ali@ifanboy.com (or bug her on Twitter) and suggest a cocktail or comic of your own, because good drinks and good comics should be shared.

Please obey the law and only drink if you are of age. Drink responsibly and never drink and drive. Buy the comics that make you happy and spread the love.

Comments

  1. i got all hot an mooshy inside just thinking about this book. unfortunately we’ve had hardly any cold weather in so-cal so i dont know if i’d be able to appreciate a hot toddy properly 🙁

    • Yeah, its already pretty warm today in LA, 77 no clouds and a forecast of nothing but more. You can keep your toddy (whatever that is), I’ll be enjoying bourbon on the rocks on the beach in the sun.

  2. Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

    What’s the difference between a dash and a pinch?

    Said the actress to the bishop…

    • 2 pinches in a dash, 8 dashes in a teaspoon.

      At least in theory, it’s really just “pinch some of this between your fingers” is a pinch

    • The difference between a dash and a pinch? About a smidgen.

    • 2 smidgens actually

    • I always understood a dash as one drop or shake of a cocktail ingredient that comes in a bottle, like bitters or tobasco. I’d guess the cinnamon is dashed from a salt or pepper shaker, while the cloves obviously aren’t…

    • This is my very specific, highly scientific method for the measurements:
      Cinnamon – one “shake” of the cinnamon shaker into the mug
      Cloves – pinch the ground cloves between two finger and sprinkle into mug

  3. I loved this book in my late teens (for the existential crisis) and early 20’s (romantic crisis). It was comforting in both cases. This is one of the books that makes me wish I didn’t live in a studio so I could bring some choice books from my parent’s place.

  4. Nice job Ali!

    Like I said in my article, there is no wring way to make a hot toddy. It’s one of those few magical drinks that everyone can develop their own recipe.

    I like that you use ground spices in yours. I’m gonna try that!

    Good Curling!