‘Nectar of the Gods: From Hera’s Hurricane to the Appletini of Discord, 75 Mythical Cocktails to Drink Like a Deity”

Nectar of the Gods by Liv Albert and Thea Engst

First a disclaimer: I don’t really drink much. But after reading and reviewing author Liv Albert’s “Greek Mythology: The Gods, The Goddesses, and Heroes Handbook,” I knew that I wanted to see “Nectar of the Gods: From Hera’s Hurricane to the Appletini of Discord, 75 Mythical Cocktails to Drink Like a Deity” as well. You see, I have a five-year-old grandson who is obsessed with Greek mythology (and other mythologies). He loved the handbook which we read (with a few quick edits when appropriate) to him. And he loves this book as well. While he already knew a lot of the information, he still liked to hear about Calypso, who “was a nymph best known for keeping Odysseus “captive” on her island of Ogygia for seven years.” Because he listens to the Odyssey and Iliad, he knows that “Calypso was the daughter of the Titan Atlas.” He finds the information and the illustrations fascinating.

Even though my grandson knew most of the information, I was unaware that “Bellerophon was the only Greek hero to ride the famous flying horse, Pegasus.” The text explains that while we all think Perseus rode Pegasus because of what we see in popular movies, that is not the case according to mythology. Each story about the basis of each cocktail is informative and written with humor. Perhaps especially charming are the directions for creating the Greek-inspired libations, as author Liv Albert is joined by Thea Engst in creating these scrumptious-sounding drinks.

The directions for The Triumph of Penelope, which ingredients include cognac, lemon juice, Simple Syrup, rose water, cava, and lemon peel, state in part: “Express the lemon peel over the cocktail and discard. Tell your suitors you’ll marry them once your cocktail is finished, and just like Penelope’s forever-in-progress shroud, if you never let your glass sit empty, that time will never come.” Or for The Valor of Atalanta: “With the strength and valor of the heroine of ancient Greece, Atalanta, combine the sherry and Apple Simple Syrup in a krater (a mixing glass), preferably one that depicts the famed Calydonian Boar Hunt. Stir well, contemplating how it might feel to be raised by bears. Strain over ice in a kylix (a rocks glass), top with prosecco, and garnish with the golden apple slices to make something nice out of an unfortunate situation.” There is also the information that Atalanta was such an important heroic figure that two different regions, Arcadia and Boeotia, claimed her as one of their own. She’s one of the few traditional Greek heroes who is female.

So this book really has it all. Stories to entertain children (though this is definitely not marketed to those under drinking age!), delicious cocktails, entertaining stories about ancient Greece, clever instructions for creating the cocktails, and lovely illustrations. It’s a book that would be a wonderful addition to any home bar or a fabulous gift for any bartender.

Please note: This review is based on the final, hardcover book provided by Simon & Schuster/Adams Media, for review purposes.