“We live for books.” – Umberto Eco

National Book Lover’s Day occurs on August 9th each year, but I’m a slow reader, so am still celebrating. This year I present the stunning “Secret Book Box” from the Karakuri Creation Group artist Hideaki Kawashima. The box, crafted from magnolia, cherry, walnut, chanchin, and maple woods, forms the shape of three interlocked books of different colors.

“Some like to believe it's the book that chooses the person.” ― Carlos Ruiz Zafón

This quote by the “The Shadow of the Wind” author rather reminds me of another well-known adage, if you happen to know a fellow named Olivander: “The wand chooses the wizard.” To toast the Secret Book Box and celebrate Book Lover’s Day I’ve made a few tasty tipples one might find at fine Harry Potter establishments like the Three Broomsticks and the Hog’s Head in Hogsmeade. First of all we have Butterbeer, that delicious delight full of foamy goodness that all muggles deserve to taste. There are numerous recipes floating about for this treat, and it can get quite elaborate, but I find the simple version to be quite satisfying. I’ve picked the cold style (Butterbeer can also be served hot, for a warm winter treat) and turned butterscotch soda slushy by putting it in an ice cream maker. Adding butterscotch syrup to vanilla cream soda also works well if you don’t have butterscotch soda. The foam is the best part – simply make butterscotch whipped cream by whisking heavy cream, sugar, powdered sugar, vanilla extract and butterscotch syrup together. This heavenly mix gets heaped upon the slushy drink and the result is hard to put down. It’s good enough on its own, but of course I went even farther by adding a touch of dark, delicious rum to mine (such as Plantation’s OFTD). After all, Butterbeer is speculated to be mildly alcoholic in the books.


“A room without books is like a body without a soul.” – Cicero

And for the adult wizards among us who hanker for something a bit stronger than Butterbeer, I poured a bracing glass of Firewhisky, the potion of preference for merry magicians. Pick your favorite whisky (or whiskey if you’re Stateside) and add a dose of spicy cinnamon syrup. The drink (as I’ve created it, at least) is like a cinnamon Old fashioned, with a Serious Kick. Not to be confused with a Sirius Black, which is not a drink at all. At least not yet. Many thanks to J.K. Rowling for these delightful drink ideas. Here’s to the magic in boxes and books, so enjoyable to open. Cheers!

“I cannot live without books;” – Thomas Jefferson



2 oz fine bourbon or whisky

½ oz serrano pepper infused cinnamon syrup

Stir ingredients over ice to chill and dilute, then strain into a favorite glass. Sip and let yourself fall under its spell.

For more about the learned Secret Book Box by Hideaki Kawashima see:

Boxes and Booze: Boxes and Books