Two lusciously pink martinis. A shaker and bottle of limoncello are in the background.
Beverages, Foodie book club

Pink penguin martini


Inspired by: Where’d You Go Bernadette?

The pink penguin martini is a refreshingly sweet and tangy pink lemonade martini perfect for a Friday night chill out. This drink is inspired by the book Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple. And it is the first installment of my online Foodie Book Club. The recipe for the pink penguin martini comes after the book discussion. If you’re here just for the recipe, use the “jump to recipe” button at the top of this blog post.

Two lusciously pink martinis. A shaker and bottle of limoncello are in the background.
Tangy and refreshing pink lemonade martini

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Come for the recipes, stay for the book discussion:

Most people who read this book will say that it is about the main character Bernadette. She is a wife, mother and incredibly intelligent accomplished woman with a past career in architecture. To me, this book is about a family and how each individual’s lives, goals and achievements are intertwined.  It is about relationships, our roles and how central these are to our overall happiness and well-being.

Like many families in the greater Seattle area, Bernadette and her husband are transplants from somewhere else (Los Angeles to be specific). While Bernadette struggles with many things that make Seattle so very Pacific Northwest, her husband thrives in his career at Microsoft. In fact, he achieves rock-star-like status within the high-tech industry known for his ground-breaking work and TED talks. The story is told through the perspective of many characters through a series of emails, letters and faxes including Bernadette herself. Bernadette’s description of her annoyances to everything Seattle is hilariously funny and relatable to anyone from this area. For a sampling: her annoyances range from the dreary winters to a prevalence of too polite Canadians, to whether you’re a Subaru family vs a Mercedes family, to the Seattle freeze. (The Seattle freeze refers to a phenomenon many newcomers experience where it can be quite difficult to break into a circle of friends).

Seattle from the top of Queen Anne Hill. Space needle and sky line view.
Seattle from Queen Anne Hill

Her daughter Bea is also killing it at school. She’s extremely bright, witty and musically talented. Her family is also wealthy. You would think that Bernadette should be incredibly happy with her life, since her family appears to be thriving. But she struggles. She struggles with depression. She struggles with being different than the other neighborhood moms. She struggles with neighbors thinking she’s crazy (when in fact they are perhaps even more crazy). She is quirky and stuck in a rut. She has hired a virtual assistant from India to help her with even the smallest of every day affairs because she increasingly hates to leave her house. She seems to be starving for a true friend, confiding intimate details of her life with her random virtual assistant. There is a sense throughout the story that Bernadette misses something from the past. Before moving to Seattle, Bernadette was an award winning, revolutionary Architect in Los Angeles.

Fresh vegetables at Pike Place Market

After a great deal of comical chaos and tension between Bernadette, her husband and her Queen Anne neighbors, she disappears two days before Christmas. Their family’s world is in chaos. Where’d she go? In their pursuit of solving this mystery, her husband Elgie and daughter Bea embark on a cruise to Antarctica. They are chasing Bernadette’s last known trail. During this time, they fear the worst for Bernadette and do some soul searching themselves. They discover another world full of life, naturalists and penguins. Father and daughter are faced with a major life change. They rediscover who they are, what they want out of life and most importantly, who they want to share their time with on their journey through it. It is a wonderful story of a family’s ups and downs. Life is full of unexpected twists and turns. There are times when you are in a rut. There are times when petty little things with neighbors get on your nerves (when they shouldn’t). And there are times when it seems all too perfect. Sometimes friendship, support and inspiration appear from where you least expect it.

Photo of the beach and a Washington ferry.
A peaceful beach and Washington State ferry

As a wife and mother, I can relate to some of Bernadette’s story. Sometimes I’d like to disappear. The daily selfless grind mothers experience can be incredibly exhausting. The work we do is the bedrock of society. Yet there is a sense it all goes unnoticed. It’s certainly not glamorous. I would not say that I am unhappy. In fact, the opposite. But life today is very different than my past where I had a successful career. There are times when I miss the days of power suits, high-heels and jetting off to client meetings. That being said, I also would not trade my rock-star mom status anytime soon.

Overhead view of the pink penguin martini in a chilled martini glass.
Serve this pink lemonade martini ice cold

The Pink Penguin Martini:

In Where’d You Go, Bernadette, the pink penguin martini is a pink lemonade martini enjoyed on-board the cruise by visiting scientists from Palmer Station in Antarctica. This tangy refreshing cocktail is an important clue to father and daughter solving their family’s mystery. This is my take on the drink as there is no real description in the book about how it is made. If you like pink lemonade, I think you’ll enjoy this cocktail. It’s time to chill. Think pink.

Two pink penguin martinis with a shaker at the side. A bottle of vodka and limoncello in the background.
Shaken, not stirred

People don’t go to Antarctica, they are called to Antarctica

Bernadette Fox

Pink penguin martini

Recipe by Michelle BarsnessCourse: Beverages, Foodie book clubCuisine: AmericanDifficulty: Easy


Prep time


Cooking timeminutes

The pink penguin martini is a refreshingly sweet and tangy pink lemonade martini perfect for a Friday night. If you like pink lemonade, you’ll enjoy this refreshing cocktail.


  • 1 oz cranberry juice

  • 2 oz pink raspberry lemonade (or strawberry lemonade)

  • 1.5 oz Limoncello liqueur

  • 1.5 oz vodka

  • splash of lime juice and lime zest (optional to taste)

  • ice


  • Add some ice to a cocktail shaker. Next, add cranberry juice, pink lemonade, Limoncello and vodka. Cover and shake well so the drink becomes well chilled.
  • Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Add a splash of lime juice or garnish with lime zest if desired.


  • The Pink Penguin Martini is inspired by the book Where’d You Go Bernadette, by Maria Semple. Join me for more foodie book club inspired recipes at
  • Did you enjoy this refreshing cocktail? Leave me a comment at

Have you read Where’d You Go, Bernadette? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this book. What did you think of Bernadette’s quirky ways? What do you think comes next for this family? Have you ever had a pink lemonade martini?

Read Along

Join me next time by reading The Milk Lady of Bangalore: An Unexpected Adventure by Shoba Marayan.

This is a delightful heartfelt story about two women from very different backgrounds living in India. This funny and heartwarming book explores Indian culture, food, cows and true friendship. It is both inspirational and informative. I’ll talk about this book at the end of April along with a milk inspired recipe.

Click here for the book club list and more book inspired recipes.



  1. 5 stars
    I need one of these today! This sounds like a great drink and a great book.

  2. 5 stars
    Great color. I can only imagine how delicious this pink penguin martini is. And I think it is the perfect drink for a relaxed weekend, so you are right on time!

  3. 5 stars
    Such a cool idea to find recipe inspiration in a book! Love the sound and colour of this martini cocktail! Def one to try!

  4. Brian Jones

    5 stars
    What a wonderful colour and the addition of limoncello is pure genius, I bet this tastes fantastic!

  5. 5 stars
    Sounds like a tasty cocktail, perfect for a night in as you say, and sounds like an interesting book it is inspired by.

  6. Lesli Schwartz

    5 stars
    Did you say “martini?” Yes, please! I love the flavors in this springy cocktail. It’s kind of like a lemoncello with some cranberry added!

  7. joann malik

    Do you think this would work just As well with gin? My book club is a gin group…

    • Hi Joann, That’s a great question. I haven’t tried it with gin. But, gin and and lemon or and other types of juice are commonly paired with gin. I say give it a try. I bet it will be a great twist. Gin and limoncello combined make a “limoncello collins”. Worth a try! Let me know how it turns out.


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