Every time Ignatius J. Reilly cracked open a bottle of Dr. Nut in John Kennedy Toole's A Confederacy of Dunces, I found myself longing for a taste the written word was not able to give. I didn't even know what Dr. Nut was; a regional soda long extinct by the time I made it into the world. But something about the descriptions of that cold drink running down the esophagus of Ignatius sparked a curiosity (a slightly repulsive curiosity, but still):
"The Dr. Nuts seemed only as an acid gurgling down into his intestine. He filled with gas, the sealed valve trapping it just as one pinches the mouth of a balloon. Great eructations rose from his throat and bounced upward toward the refuse-laden bowl of the milk glass chandelier. Once a person was asked to step into this brutal century, anything could happen." -Toole
The New Orleans soft drink stopped appearing on shelves when its producer, The World Bottling Co., was busted for not paying its taxes. But Phillip Collier's new book, Making New Orleans, provides some hope for those who want to experience a cooling, gassy sip of New Orleans literature and history in a glass. The book is an homage to the brands that have made New Orleans, past and present, and it includes a history of Dr. Nut in addition to a recipe that might get you close to the original.
"For nostalgic individuals," the book says, "according to drinksmixer.com, mixing 2 ounces of Dr. Pepper soda with 4 ounces of amaretto almond liqueur will make an 'adult' Dr. Nut beverage that will take your taste buds right back to the soda you grew up with." Though Ignatius, of course, drank his "virgin."
Collier will be signing his new book at noon tomorrow at Octavia Books.