Tim Federle is an apparent contradiction. He’s a 34-year-old Broadway dancer-turned-author who writes two types of books: a children’s series about a theater-loving teen falling for New York and figuring himself out, and a line of cocktail recipe books for adults. Those aren’t, at first blush, two genres destined to be put together, but he has enjoyed great success with both, both commercially and critically.
The instant Federle walks through the door—he’s come both for an interview and to teach me how to make a couple of cocktail recipes from his book—he’s as peppy as you’d expect of a children’s author. “Mailkimp calling!” he says as he enters the room. (He’s just as obsessed with Serial as much of the rest of America.) And as we start to make drinks, it only becomes clearer: This is a man who has devoted his life to giving others a good time—regardless of who his audience is.
“Once upon a time, my agent even said, 'Do you want to write one of them under a different name?’ And I said no,” Federle says. “I'm age-agnostic. If I can get kids laughing, great ... And for adult stuff as well, my entire life has been about taking a situation that was less than perfect and trying to find the joke in it.”
Federle's new book, Hickory Daiquiri Dock, takes nursery rhymes and twists them into drink ideas and funny stories new parents can relate to. One drink Federle teaches me to make, the Humpty Drunky, takes the singsong cadence of the original Humpty Dumpty and pairs it with a rhyme about a husband who can’t get it up after one too many. It’s naughty, but never crass. Hickory joins a line of recent publications like the viral smash Go the Fuck to Sleep and the follow-up You Have to Fucking Eat that add an irreverent twist to parenting.