Imagine – using a cocktail as a promotional tool. Read on for details about the ingredients for this cocktail and how it has worked into the promotion of Cafe Tempest: Adventures on a Small Greek Island by Barbara Bonfigli
Retsina has been given a bad rap, starting about 500 b.c. when some picky Athenians turned up their Grecian noses at the scent and taste of pine resin. Being a readily available natural resource — pine forests were a lot more common in Greece than cork groves — it was used to seal traveling amphorae of white wine. These plugs of pine added a certain flavor to the wine — turpentine comes to mind here. Heroditus records no complaints back then. For a while it was even trendy to add a little pine mash to the freshly pressed grapes. But when the Turks began overrunning parts of Greece a few hundred years later, a legend grew that pine sap was added to the wine stores to spoil them for the invaders. That sealed retsina’s fate in the area of public relations — ’til now.
When I started going to Greece in the 80′s, the Turkish invasion theory had waned, and I was told that a bit of resin in your wine prevents a hangover in the hot, ubiquitous Greek sun; be sure to pack a bottle for your beach picnic. I wasn’t buying that, but I am buying retsina. The fact that I, a Californian born within sipping distance of the vineyards of Napa Valley, really like retsina, indicates that the ancients were on to something. Either that or it’s clear proof of reincarnation. That, however, is a another story…maybe the sequel to “Café Tempest: Adventures on a Small Greek Island.”
Publishing a book requires a thorough review. I discovered that my novel mentions retsina 34 times, not in a loving way. According to my protagonist Sarah, retsina can start your motorbike, remove nail polish, cure you of thought, and cause –what is it?– oh yes, memory loss. Unfair Sarah! I decided to correct this slander. For my first book party, held in a fancy Greek restaurant in New York City, I decided to create a cocktail based on retsina. A friend and I experimented with lots of ingredients (this is pure fun, by the way, as long as you’re not planning to drive anywhere.) We couldn’t get it quite right. Then the bartender at the restaurant added a little Samos, a sweet Greek dessert wine to our concoction. Bingo! The “Café Tempestini” was born.
We served it that first night, to a lot of discerning i.e. highly skeptical — but brave– Greeks and they were amazed. The main ingredient is rather disguised of course, but you can still taste retsina in there. Now I mix a batch at every bookstore event, book party, dinner party. People adore it; and how it opens their ears and imaginations and wallets! Books are flying out the door.
To learn about Barbara Bonfigli and Café Tempest, feel free to visit any of these sites.
Order Café Tempest directly from the publisher – http://www.tellmepress.com/pub_ct.php or from Amazon http://www.amazon.com/Café-Tempest-Adventures-Small-Island/dp/0981645313
To see the complete tour schedule visit http://virtualblogtour.blogspot.com/2009/05/cafe-tempest-by-barbara-bonfigli-summer.html
Barbara Bonfigli’s website – www.cafetempest.com