I am thrilled to announce that the Cocktail Hour Book Club idea I’ve been working on behind the scenes has been selected as a finalist in the Cointreau UK #DreamDareCreate grant scheme. The idea – to create a club/podcast combining the best fiction with matching cocktails to drink while you discuss the book with friends – was picked from over 700 entries. Thanks to everyone who heard about it and supported it via social media. We’ve just heard we’ve been invited to finale to pitch, alongside nine other brilliant entries. I was extra-pleased when I read the other pitches as they’re very inspiring too!
I’m working on a full Dragon’s Den style pitch in May – the winner will receive a grant for £20,000 to make their dream happen. Wish me luck! There’s a lot of work ahead, but it’s great to know the rather amazing Cointreau Creative Crew jury believed in the idea enough for it to make their shortlist.
The Cointreau grant scheme really chimes with me too as I believe that to dream, dare and create is the best way to feel alive. (If you want to download my free e-book about making your dreams come true, you can, by signing up to my newsletter below, then I’ll send you a link.)
About The Cocktail Hour Book Club
I’ve been writing about, and researching cocktails, for a new novel and while I was doing that, I became fascinated by the culture and history behind spirits and drinking habits. And so the idea was born…
Do you love great books, delicious cocktails and precious time with friends? The Cocktail Hour Book Club brings all three together to showcase the UK’s brightest female bartenders and writers. It’s an intense hour of friendship, pleasure and inspiration, every single month.
The Club is open to everyone – no bouncers, no entrance fee – and includes a monthly selection of wonderful fiction by women writers, with matching bespoke cocktails you can create at home as you discuss the book. With a Cocktail Hour podcast including author interviews plus videos and downloadable recipes for drinks and matching nibbles, the club makes it easy to create a glamorous and gorgeous soiree for your friends.
The club aims to showcase the work of female innovators, to encourage creativity in the written word, mixology and design.
The podcast: will feature that month’s novelist discussing not only the themes of their book, but also their lives, inspirations – and favourite cocktail. They’ll also offer tips to members on being more creative. I’ll interview brilliant women who tell the best stories, and also reveal my diary of creative writing, working on my cocktail-themed novels.
The drinks: will be designed by upcoming bartenders, and inspired by the book (always including one that’s low-alcohol or alcohol free). There might be citrus flavours inspired by a story’s Mediterranean setting; a twist on a Prohibition classic from a historic novel, or a drink designed for the novelist herself. Using a mix of familiar ingredients, and offering options to suit your budget (and the current state of your cocktail cabinet), the drinks will be as irresistible as the books.
The books: No worthy reads that are a chore to get through, but page-turning books that invite you into a world you won’t want to leave.
The newsletter & website: A monthly newsletter will feature recipes for drinks and accompanying snacks, plus artwork by a leading artist. It might be the book’s cover designer, or the woman behind a new food or drink brand, or a leading photographer or artist. The website – see a very early mock-up at www.the-cocktailhour.com – explores the stories and the women behind the books and the drinks. The conversation carries on past cocktail hour in our private Facebook group. And a competition for best original story and best cocktail will bring the first year to a celebratory climax.
The members: what our members will have in common is a love of new tastes and new ideas. Age is unimportant – the CHBC brings together women of all generations who have an appetite for grown-up glamour.
For now I’m celebrating the short-listing – cheers!