One year ago today, I became a published author.
Granted, the book had been finished for months, was already printed, and had been distributed to many of the folks who pre-ordered it in September, but the official date of publication was October 4th, and I had had my sights on that date for the better part of a year.
It has been strange to be an author, mostly in how not-strange it has been. There is very little fanfare from day to day. Even the things I do in my capacity as "Brian D. Hoefling, author of Distilled Knowledge" are often tied up in logistics and details. When shall we schedule this event for maximum attendance? Can we wiggle down the price and still serve drinks? And so on.
The recognition is always sudden when it comes, and generally brief but all-consuming. This summer I met an Australian couple who had read my book and were thrilled to discover that I was about to give a talk at the very same museum where they happened to be. That was awesome.
Sometimes it's as simple as seeing it on a shelf - in a bookstore, in a friend's home, in any case no different from any other book there, no less a book, no less real, and no less published. Or being asked to sign a copy and remembering, for whatever reason I happen to remember it that day, that there is something on this planet to which my signature adds value.
I'm still rather dumbstruck by the whole thing. I had really never expected to write this book. Even while I was working on it, I never really expected it to come out when it was done.
I've heard it said that it's a good sign for a relationship if you can keep surprising each other. If that's so, then Distilled Knowledge and I are in it for the long haul. That little book keeps surprising me just by being there.
You have my thanks, the lot of you. You know who you are. If you're reading this, you're probably one of them.
And now, because I haven't had quite enough sap yet today (wait for the pun), I'm going to mark the occasion with a cocktail broadly inspired by the one I concocted when my first book arrived last year, which was:
1 1/2 oz. Rittenhouse 100º Rye
1 oz. Angostura Amaro
1/4 oz. Maple Syrup
2 dashes Crude Sycophant (Orange & Fig) Bitters
Shake with ice. Strain into a chilled coupe glass.
Today's shares the maple-fruit-herbal palate, which is one I enjoy quite a lot, but otherwise has little in common. It does, however, use ingredients that have some significance to me and to the last year in one way or another. Here you go:
Next Year in Salem
2 oz. Rhum Barbancourt 8-Year
1/2 oz. Cranberry Liqueur
2 tsp. Grade A Maple Syrup
2 tsp. Ferro China Baliva
1 healthy dash Crude Sycophant (Orange & Fig) Bitters
Stir with ice for a bit longer than you think you should. Double-strain into a rocks glass and serve without ice.