Bellying Up the Bard Shakespeare illustration

Shakespeare, Not Stirred is the zany brainchild of Michelle Ephraim, J91, and Caroline Bicks. The book of cocktail recipes provides liquid prescriptions for a number of conditions diagnosed centuries ago by William Shakespeare: family dysfunction, waning youth, romantic complaints.

All your favorite characters make appearances in these libations, as do those recognizable, for the most part, only to scholars. There’s Gertrude’s Milkshake, Weird Sisters Blood and Hand Punch, Rosalind’s Gender Blender, and Antony’s Fuzzy Naval.

Ephraim and Bicks give us the (scholar-approved, often hilarious) Shakespearian backstory that inspired each cocoction, and also include a number of food recipes such as A Midsummer Night’s Bean Dip and Gloucester’s Jellied Eyeballs.

Forsooth, there’s much ado about the bard that’s conducive to quaffing. Even if you’ve never felt compelled to shout “my kingdom for a cocktail,” there’s plenty here to help you uncork your proclivity for stentorian declamation. Where did I lay that fool’s cap…?

While I look for it, enjoy the cocktails below.—Frederick Kalil

Jaques’s “7 and 7” Birthday Cocktail
Jaques in As You Like It paints a pretty bleak picture of human existence when he delivers his Seven Ages of Man speech: “All the world’s a stage,/And all the men and women merely players,” stumbling through the same predictable series of roles—none of which seem very fun. But why not look on the upside of getting older and celebrate each year that you’ve earned? Hell, even if you’re teetering on the edge of age #7, waiting to take your final curtain call, “sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything,” you can still get a buzz on. Happy birthday!

  • 2 ounces Seagram’s 7
  • ¼ cup Rose’s lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons simple syrup
  • Splash of seltzer
  • Lime, for “party streamer” garnish
  1. Roll the lime on a hard surface for a minute to soften the rind. Position a citrus peeler at the top of the lime and, pressing down firmly, rotate the lime slowly to create one long “streamer.” Twist it into a ringlet.
  2. Pour the Seagram’s, lime juice, and simple syrup into a lowball glass over ice and stir. Top with seltzer. Dangle the rind streamer festively on rim.

Starveling’s Moonshine
Robin Starveling faced a lot of challenges playing “Moonshine” in A Tedious Brief Scene of Young Pyramus and His Love Thisbe. First there was his scene-stealing ass of a cast mate, Bottom. Then there were those awkward props he had to haul around and explain to everyone—like a thorn bush, a lantern, and a dog. Not to mention that snobby audience who kept making fun of his one freaking line. But what better way to celebrate than with a blowout cast party? After a couple of these Moonshine cocktails, you’ll remember your one-night-only theatrical flop as the Best Experience Ever.

  • 1½ ounces corn whiskey
  • 1 ounce ginger liqueur
  • ½ ounce simple syrup
  • 1 ounce fresh lemon juice
  1. Pour all ingredients into a shaker filled with ice.
  2. Shake while chanting “Ma-ma-ma-ma, mi-mi-mi-mi, mo-mo-mo-mo, mu-mu-mu-mu” and pour into a tall glass.
  3. Fill with ice.
  4. Back-rub circle optional.