Every book has a behind-the-scenes, “wish I could have put that in!” element that didn’t make it in the final published version for one reason or another. Kinda like deleted movie scenes. (At least it makes for better DVD bonuses, or in this case, a blog post.)
I’ve got a couple behind-the-scenes stories to share about Cooking Light Chill, our book of smoothies, slushes, shakes, juices, drinks and ices, which comes out May 14th. First is the cover. We really wanted something that was different than the standard shot of a single smoothie, and we loved the idea of doing an assortment of drinks for a lot of color, so we decided to shoot a bunch of smoothies surrounded by ice.
Of course—of course!—the first cover shoot did not happen in winter, but in the heat of an Alabama summer. Our food stylist had half a dozen blenders going at once, we scoured the city for the prettiest ice (found at a Chevron gas station in Edgewood, Alabama), and the team set up tubs to hold the ice. They were shooting next to a window, so the heat was pouring in and the ice wasn’t lasting long. It was all hands on deck to keep the glasses filled, the drinks looking fresh, the tub filled with ice, and get the shots before the ice melted—even editors and designers left their cubicles to help.
That was the first take. It turned out we had to shoot again (and thankfully, in a slightly cooler month) with a more elaborate set up. The photographer and stylists ended up punching holes in the tub holding the drinks to let the water from the melting ice drain, which helped keep the glasses from sloshing around. A kiddie pool underneath caught the drips. And voila! Our cover.
The other behind-the-scenes story happened around our test kitchen table. As we tested and tasted each recipe, we couldn’t help but think about how we’d like to jazz them up with some alcohol. We couldn’t publish our cocktail versions in the book (children are a large audience for this title), but that didn’t prevent any of us from having a mixologist’s daydreams. “Wouldn’t this ice be great with some prosecco?” “I can’t wait to make this at home and add some gin…” “Now imagine if you could add some ginger-infused vodka…” We repeatedly wondered where or how we could use alcoholic versions, and we even dreamed up a name for a boozy sequel: Chill After Hours.
I trust you’ll know what to do with the Piña Colada Shake on page 105, or the Watermelon Mojito Smash on page 162. Below are twenty of the other ideas we came up with—which may or may not have been tested privately in our homes, on our decks and patios. (In some cases, sitting on a rooftop deck on a weekend evening, surrounded by friends, where I discovered I really love the Spicy Blood Orange Cooler on page 112 with Prosecco in place of the sparkling water.) I hope you’ll enjoy. (Responsibly, yes?)
– Creamy Mango, Avocado, and Lime Smoothie, page 39: Shot of tequila
– Grapefruit, Fennel, and Avocado Smoothie, page 45: vodka. (Think Salty Dog!)
– Island Sunrise Smoothie, page 49: tequila (think Tequila Sunrise!)
– Apple Cider Slush, page 77: Replace the apple cider with hard cider.
– Black Forest Shake, page 78: Cherry brandy
– Caramel Sea-Salt Milk Shake, page 84: Godiva caramel liqueur
– Lemongrass Slush, page 97, idea no. 1: Hendrick’s gin and Thai bitters
– Lemongrass Slush, page 97, idea no. 2: – Citrus vodka, St. Germain Elderflower liqueur (think Lemon Drop!)
– Mocha Slush, page 101: Kahlua
– Spicy Pineapple Slush, page 106: Pepper vodka
– Rich Pistachio Shake, page 109: Crispin’s Rose Liqueur (for a Moroccan twist)
– Spicy Blood Orange Cooler, page 112: Prosecco
– Asian Pear Sparkler, page 122: Square One Cucumber Vodka, St. Germain
– Blueberry Ginger Juice, page 125: Ginger vodka
– Cherry Sparkler, page 128: Ginger Vodka and Cherry Bitters
– Mango Punch, page 135: Alizé Rose Passion or Lillet Blanc
– Pear-Apple-Cranberry Punch, page 143: Pimm’s No. 1
– Pink Grapefruit Fizz, page 145: Light tequila and grapefruit bitters. Garnish the rim with salt.
– Real Ginger Ale, page 150: Bourbon