Your Reading Life

Books and Booze: 5 Delicious Pairings

Alcohol and literature go together like gin and tonic. While authors have a reputation for hitting the bottle - thanks for that, Hemingway - the relationship between readers and a good tipple often goes unremarked.

There’s nothing I like better than settling down in front of a crackling log fire (in this fantasy I can both afford a house with said fire and know how to light it) with a good book and a dram or two of single malt scotch (in this fantasy I can also afford proper whisky instead of blended, supermarket-own-brand swill).

But some books call for something a bit more complex – after all, who can read Ian Fleming without getting a thirst for a vodka martini, shaken not stirred?

So, after exhaustive research, I’ve chosen the five best books and booze combinations – but be careful, enjoy responsibly, and never read and drive.

1. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen + Earl Grey martini
Sophisticated with a dash of old-fashioned elegance – the delicate bergamot flavor infuses the strong spirits, giving a delicate twist on a classic. If Mr. Darcy had knocked back a few of these at the Meryton ball and actually plucked up the courage to talk about Lizzie instead of snarking about her within earshot, the novel could have gone very differently.

2. Kraken by China Miéville + Perfect Storm
Really, anything made with Kraken rum works for this one, for obvious reasons. Add some ginger beer and a chunky wedge of lime to the dark, spiced rum and lose yourself in Miéville’s funny and absorbing fantasy novel.

3. Dracula by Bram Stoker + Bloody Mary
If you have a fang fetish but don’t fancy sinking your teeth into your beloved’s neck (not recommended, not even if you’re Edward Cullen), this ruby-red drink should quench your bloodlust. And since its main ingredient is tomato juice, it totally counts as part of your five veggies a day.

4. A Spear of Summer Grass by Deanna Raybourn + White Lady
Also known as a ‘Delilah’ – like Raybourn’s feisty flapper heroine – this combination of gin, cointreau and lemon juice is tart and more-ish (trust me and my pounding headache on this one).

5. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn + The Last Word
This drink was famous during Prohibition, but it’s fallen out of favour in recent years. Pretty, but with a bit of a kick, it’s a perfect match for a novel where none of the characters is exactly what they seem. And if you’ve read the novel you know exactly how important having the last word is.

Photo Credit: NDT/Shutterstock.com]

What do you imbibe when you’re curled up with your favorite book? Do you read Wuthering Heights with a highball of Dark n’ Stormy, or enjoy Fifty Shades of Grey with a Ménage à Trois? Drop us your recommendations and cocktail recipes in the comments!

About the Author

KAITE WELSH's fiction has been nominated for several awards, including the Cheshire Prize for Literature (‘The Art of Stonemasonry’, Zoo, Chester University Press, 2010) and the Gaylactic Spectrum Short Story Award (‘City of the Dead’, Haunted Hearths and Sapphic Shades, Lethe Press, 2008). She's been longlisted for the Cinnamon Press Short Story Prize and is currently seeking representation for her first novel The Wages of Sin, a historical thriller set in Victorian Edinburgh. She really likes tea, cats, pretty notebooks, riot grrl, tattoos and any piece of classical music that gives the cello the attention it deserves. Visit the author on Twitter @KaiteWelsh.
  • The Book Wheel

    Dracula and Bloody Mary might be the most perfect pairing ever!

  • Jen Squire

    Great read! I can’t remember who it was linked to when I first read about the Negroni, but Kingsley Amis has apparently endorsed it. http://www.acontinuouslean.com/2011/05/02/spring-ritual-ode-to-the-negroni/

  • Julie

    When reading about Commissario Guido Brunetti in Donna Leon’s latest mystery, I always drink a glass of prosecco and imagine being in Venice.