📖: James Baldwin’s Go Tell It On the Mountain (1953)
Why this book?
Go Tell It on the Mountain is James Baldwin’s first novel, published in 1953. It begins with the main character John’s fourteenth birthday, a day when John begins to question his faith, sexuality, and destiny as a preacher.
Much like the novel’s protagonist, James Baldwin also became a preacher at age 14, after a life-changing prayer meeting at his church. However, after some years, he became disillusioned with Christianity, left the ministry, and at age 24, moved to Paris to continue writing and to experience life outside of the racist confines of America.
Baldwin returned to the US in the late 1950’s and became a prominent voice and essayist analyzing issues of race, power, and class during the civil rights movement. As a gay man, Baldwin also wrote stories that explored ideas of queer sexuality and masculinity. His works were also influential in the gay rights movement, in addition to the civil rights movement.
Even almost seventy years after his first publication, much of Baldwin’s writing and social analyses remain extremely contemporary. While The Fire Next Time is resurging in popularity today, I thought it would be interesting to go back to Baldwin’s first work, to see where he began as a writer and understand how his ideas on race, class, sexuality, and faith developed over the course of his career as a writer and activist.
Why this drink?
The second section of this book is titled “The Prayers of the Saints,” which gives readers insight into the history and perspective of John’s family members. As a nod to this section of the book, this cocktail will feature elderflower liqueur as a key ingredient (St. Germain and St. Elder are two brands that produce this spirit).
3 oz dry white wine*
2 oz elderflower liqueur
1 oz club soda
- mix all ingredients in a mixing glass with ice.
- pour into collins glass with ice.
- garnish with lemon twist and add a splash of lemon juice (optional).
*I used sauvignon blanc in this recipe, but you can also use a pinot grigio or riesling. The recipe also works with a brut champagne.
If you don’t have elderflower liqueur, you can also use an alcohol-free elderflower cordial or syrup (sold at Ikea and Amazon).
If you don’t have club soda, you may also use a plain or citrus-flavored sparkling water (i.e., lemon) or ginger beer/ale may be a possible alternative.
This recipe was inspired by The Spruce Eats’ Elderflower Cocktail Recipe With Champagne.
Another round, please! 🥂
You might also like:
Maya Angelou’s I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (1969)
Finished the book? What did you think about it? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!