Autostraddle Book Club #7: We’re Reading “Blue Is The Warmest Color”

Originally I was going to write a review for Blue Is The Warmest Color, but after the really intense response to our giveaway post I emailed Laneia. “How about,” I said, “I make this here graphic novel a book club.” Because obviously, all of y’all really want to read this. And I do too. And thus it was decided. We’re reading Blue Is The Warmest Color.


Blue Is the Warmest Color, by Julie Maroh, was originally conceived when Maroh was 15 (according to this author talk right here) and published en français in March 2010. Its title, Le bleu est une couleur chaude, was  re-worked in English translation to Blue Angel. But it’s back as Blue is the Warmest Color after the film adaption (winner of the Cannes Palme d’Or and reviewed here on Autostraddle) used that title. This book chronicles the life of Clementine, an adolescent with a lot of sexuality questions, as she meets Emma, a bright blue-haired queer woman who answers some of those questions and brings up even more. A coming of age story, a love story and – well – a couple other stories mixed in there, too.

So here’s the deal with the Autostraddle Book Club: let’s all take one month to buy the book and read it. Because it’s a graphic novel, actually getting through it doesn’t take a ton of time. BUT! Because it’s a graphic novel, there’s twice the content to discuss in December: we need to talk story and art.

And! Because I’m the one doing the book club and I also write one of the liquor-related columns, I have a bit of an added element. Queermos, I present to you:


Liquor In The Book Club: The Warmest Drink

Sipping cocktails and reading are two of my favorite things, and I love doing them together. So I invented a drink to reflect my experience reading this book. I’m not going to tell you exactly why – that’s one of my discussion questions for a month from now – but I am going to give you the recipe so you can enjoy sipping on this while metaphorically rolling around in this wonderful art.

The Warmest Drink has two components – the drink itself, and a Vanilla-Rum whipped cream. You should start with the whipped cream. It’s an adaption of Mom’s Whipped Cream (originally posted here). Just to warn you, this whipped cream is legitimately my greatest accomplishment to date. So.


Ingredients for Mom’s Whipped Cream, Vanilla-Rum Style:

+ 1 cup heavy cream
+ 1 tablespoon sugar
+ 1 teaspoon vanilla
+ 1 teaspoon dark spiced rum (I’m using The Kraken)

Directions for the whipped cream:

In a medium or large mixing bowl, combine the cream, sugar, vanilla and rum. And do be aware – you don’t have to be one hundred percent exact on the rum. I overspilled a little, which was a really solid decision. Grab an electric mixer unless you want your arm to turn into a spaghetti noodle and whip the mixture until peaks form. Cover your brand new Vanilla-Rum Whipped Cream and stick it in the fridge. Lick the sprongy things on the mixer and move onto the drink part of The Warmest Drink.

My girlfriend made me put this in here.

My girlfriend made me put this in here.

Ingredients For the Warmest Drink:

+ 1/2 cup sugar
+ 1/4 cup cocoa
+ 1 dash of salt
+ 1/3 cup hot water
+ 4 cups milk (I’m using 2%)
+ 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
+ 1 oz dark spiced rum per person drinking (again, using The Kraken because it is a perfect spiced rum)
+ 1 dash Bitterman’s Hellfire bitters (that’s Habanero Shrub, y’all)
+ ground nutmeg to garnish


 Directions for The Warmest Drink:

If you’re keeping score, you’ll notice I got the Hot Chocolate recipe from the side of the Hershey’s Cocoa box. It’s called Favorite Hot Chocolate, but I’m about to make it more favorite by adding rum and hellfire.

Combine the cocoa, sugar and salt in a sauce pan.


If you’re wondering what a dash of salt looks like in my recipes, this is that dash of salt.


Add the 1/3 cup of water and stir until there are no more clumps. Then chuck that mixture on the stove, medium heat. Bring it to a boil, then stir at a boil for about two minutes.


Then add the milk. Reduce the heat a bit because you want to make the hot chocolate hot, but you really don’t want to boil it. Because then the milk will be all scalded and it will taste weird. You’re also going to want to reduce the heat a bit because you’re going to want to step away and prepare the alcohol part of this drink.


In your desired serving mugs (we’re using smaller mugs because I like boozey drinks) use your jigger to measure out 1 oz of Kraken into each.


Then grab your Bittermans. I love Bittermans because each bottle comes with a dropper. Now a dash of Hellfire is about a quarter-full dropper or 15 drops from said dropper. It looks like this –


When your hot chocolate is hot enough, remove it from the heat and add the 3/4 teaspoon vanilla to the pot. Top your rum-and-hellfire-filled mugs with hot chocolate. Grab your bar spoon and stir everything together. Remember that whipped cream from the fridge? Put a nice big dollop on top of your Warmest Drink. Garnish with a sprinkle of nutmeg.


Options for this drink: when you’re making your hot chocolate, throw two cinnamon sticks in the bottom of the pot. Or! Add a cinnamon stick to the garnish.

Drink, read and be merry! And remember, don’t drink so much of this that you can’t form cohesive opinions regarding Blue Is The Warmest Color by Julie Maroh! Grab your copy in French or in English and let’s get cracking.

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A.E. Osworth

A.E. Osworth is part-time Faculty at The New School, where they teach undergraduates the art of digital storytelling. Their novel, We Are Watching Eliza Bright, about a game developer dealing with harassment (and narrated collectively by a fictional subreddit), is forthcoming from Grand Central Publishing (April 2021) and is available for pre-order now. They have an eight-year freelancing career and you can find their work on Autostraddle (where they used to be the Geekery Editor), Guernica, Quartz, Electric Lit, Paper Darts, Mashable, and drDoctor, among others.

A.E. has written 542 articles for us.


  1. also pro tip that cara taught me: you can make whipped cream with a mason jar! you just pour the heavy cream in and screw the lid on tight and shake it around in kind of a figure eight motion and eventually you will have whipped cream. it is legit magic, and really handy when you don’t have a mixer or strong biceps.

  2. I have to try this. My go-to winter drink used to be a blueberry tea, but then I got sick of Amaretto. I am not a spiced rum person nor a rum person in general, but I think you’re turning me.

  3. Are y’all familiar with Felicia Day’s video book club Vaginal Fantasy? They read scifi romance novels over Google Hangout and it is live. Everyone brings their own drink of choice as well. Anyway, I bring it up because I think we all have a lot of feelings about this Graphic Novel/movie/etc. and I also like to feel like I’m not drinking alone, so…maybe it would be really fun for Ali to lead a Google Hangout in which other Autostraddle readers/members/staff can also participate and we all drink together and share our perspectives on this book? Just an idea…

  4. Great idea! I love comics. Looking forward to participating. I have a lot of feels concerning this book.

  5. Ok, see this is why I think AS should have some sort of chat room. I remember having a chat room with my HP buddies from pottermore and we’d do book clubs. We did Hunger Games once, we took turns reading out loud so even those who didn’t have a book could relate. Eventually, we had one person do it cause she was like the bestest story teller ever. Since the vid and chat room could both happen some people would react via message. Those were great Wednesday nights. We’d usually try to aim for some sort of cliff hanger in the book to keep people coming back.

    We used to drink in front of each other too now that I think about it. Reading and drinking. Good times, good times.

  6. Cannot wait for my copy of this book to come in! I would have bought it in the store but apparently Barnes and Noble and Books a Million still aren’t very queer friendly in good ole South Carolina…don’t get me started.

    Oh. And that drink looks too good. Like way too good. Props to you!

  7. A-ha! Funny thing is: I’ve had my own Blue is the Warmest Color Book Club!

    When the movie won palm d’or, I realized I had bought the french version (that was the only one available back then) of the graphic novel in 2011 in Geneva (i’m from Brazil)!

    So I started looking for someone to translate french and we started a book club reunion! We used to meet at a nice coffee/drinks shop. It was very cool! The reading was not very effective, though! The drinks caused the focus to get many other places!

  8. That whipped cream sounds like a life changer! One of my best mates and I would have hangover days where we would veg out in her bed, drinking hot chocolate with Captain Morgans and watch KStew movies. The rummy hot chocolate makes you slightly smashed so you can tune out how bad the acting is.

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