"Before paper was easy to come by, scrolls and books would be rinsed of their ink so that their pages could be reused when the original copies no longer had an audience.” A dash of lampblack bitters left a squid trail through his whiskey and vermouth. "Even after their removal, however, the molecules of ink would continue to cluster in a similar geometric manner. Because of this, most of the information was retained in the ink itself long after it had been wrung from the text.
"We extract our own ink, here. This bar was a used bookstore, once, and we still have all of their leftover stock. It was the sort of place that helped old libraries liquidate their holdings, where books were bought by the yard to complement the shelves of those too busy to bother with actually reading enough to populate them. We give these unread books a second chance, here, because when you drink their words, over time, you come to remember them as phantom memories.”
He took a sip from his print-splashed Manhattan; underneath the fire of alcohol was something more subtle, like the scent of freshly-printed newspaper. He had expected something closer to that classic aroma of a yellowing library, yet this was ink that had been given a second chance, its age cast aside during distillation.
"Is there any way to know exactly what it is that I'm drinking?"
“I can spoil the surprise for you, if you’d like to know now,” the bartender smiled; an old library index card was affixed to the bottle. "It seems you’ve been drinking... well, this should be interesting."
"What is it?"
"You're drinking the index of a counterfeit version of the Encyclopedia Brittanica from 1902. Which means you're going to know where everything used to be in a set of volumes that no longer exist, and nobody bothered to read."
“I’ve got to admit, that’s rather depressing,” the patron furrowed his mustache. "What do I have to gain from that?”
She shrugged. “At the very least, you’ll come to recognize why it’s important that we give them a second chance."
When books are written in cuttlefish ink, it's not always clear where they came from.
Your bartender is not responsible for any retained punctuation marks.
When drinking fermented ink, take care not to get lost on the way home.
Seek medical attention immediately if you suspect you've ingested a Jabberwock.