DSH Picks Your Poison – Mixology for the Author Life

What’s in the Drink Special? Experimental Mixology for the Author life.


“Sometimes you just need something fruity and stupid.”

I love pina coladas.
I love sangria.
Let’s start there.

The Backstory


I purchased a pack of coconut carbonated water. We drink copious amounts of flavored carbonated water like it’s, well, water. And having grown bored of Lemoncello, I thought I’d give this one a chance. 50/50 it would taste like ass.


I had a hankering for one or the other – actually I just needed a drink and wished I could have one of them. But I didn’t have the ingredients for both so I sort of just mixed some things together. Red wine, ginger ale, carbonated coconut water. I dubbed it the San Gralada.

And told no one.

Ah, yeah…

I was invited to appear on The Signature Cocktail Show with Kyle Hamman. I couldn’t do my signature Old Fashioned (the secret is in the simple syrup) as it had been done recently so I thought I’d bring the San Gralada. Heh.

On the show, I asked Kyle to taste the coconut seltzer straight from the can. He sipped and gagged and proclaimed:

“Tastes like suntan lotion.”

He’s not wrong. Then I told him it was only the second time I had ever made the drink. Heh. Made for good TV. You can watch the episode HERE.

But here’s the thing with chemistry or alchemy, <DEAR READER INSERT BEAUTIFUL METAPHOR HERE>.

We finished the recipe, toasted, and then, huh… Another sip.


That’s…. well, let’s not spoil anything.

Small batch recommendation.

Save a finger: buy them sliced.

What you’ll need:

  1. Cheap red wine
  2. Spiced rum (optional for a stronger drink… wink, wink, nudge, nudge)
  3. Ginger ale
  4. Coconut seltzer (Lacroix)
  5. Large wine glass or mason jar or something suitable.
  6. Big ass ice cube
  7. Slice of pineapple
  8. Slice of orange
  9. A cherry if you feel like being fancy


The Steps
(this is really simple. it’s lengthy cuz I’m padding with chuckles) :

  1. One glass (get a big glass) of red wine. (I went with a Dark Red. The bolder the better.) Make this a heavy pour that a friendly bartender might grace you. A bartender you don’t know. But is giving you the benefit of the doubt already. Stay classy.
  2. Add a big ice cube. One of those you use for your whiskey and shame on you. Get a tray or two, big spender. No one wants to look at a cocktail with chunks of ice. Class it up! Plus, it doesn’t water down your drink as quickly. But you don’t need a lesson on surface area and the laws of thermo dynamics. Just do it. Do it for yourself.
  3. A shot of spiced rum. (sounds good!). Take a shot to test. Or put it in your drink. This isn’t bakery! And to be honest I haven’t added the rum to a version yet. So, you’re getting my NEXT version even before me. I will def do it.
  4. Ginger ale. A small can (new 8oz minis) or half a 12 ounce of ginger ale. At this point find the level of the glass you would consider full enough and fill to half that line with the ginger ale. So, half wine, ¼ ginger ale, ¼ room for next step. Leave room at the top, this isn’t a gas tank.
  5. Coconut seltzer. Take a sip from the can. Tastes like suntan lotion, doesn’t it? Don’t worry. Fill that remaining space.
  6. Add a slice of pineapple, orange, and maybe a cherry. Don’t add the cherry juice. It doesn’t help, trust me. But you really should do this. Buy a sliced or ringed or cubed pineapple. I’m not testing your knife skills. But you should have some. No lime here. Maybe a splash of the pineapple juice. Whatever is slushing around in your precut container of pineapple will work. Just a bit.

    Where’s the orange dammit?
  7. Now here comes the moment of truth. Your moment of truth.


    Sip your San Gralada. Note all the flavors. It’s complex. Steady yourself. It can be a bit perplexing and disorienting.

  8. Pat yourself on the back, you’re a member of a very exclusive club. Heh.
  9. TWEAKS: If the coconut is too strong. Add more ginger ale. Or wine. Or fruit. There’s no wrong answer here. You know when you’ll have it all in balance. You’ll be sipping and picking apart the flavors.
  10. Now reverse engineer the measurements to make a big pitcher. Or small batch it one at a time.
  11. DSH, this still tastes like ass. Well, it’s a good thing you made a small batch, huh. No worries. Don’t make it again. Goto Step 12.
  12. Go to either my BLACK & TAN recipe (coming soon) or my favorite and most recent MEZCAL INFUSION (coming soon). I’ve finished the first batch and am making a second right now for the next entry in the Experimental Mixology for the Author Life Series. Heh.
  13. “Write drunk, edit sober” – Hemingway
  14. Don’t go out like Hemingway.
  15. Hydrate. Because I love you.
  16. Any remaining typos are because that second batch is workign.
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