I like alcohol. I love books. And I’ve been thinking a lot about how best to combine them. I want to know what beverage pairs best with what book.
There are so many mistakes one can make when pairing literature and drinks. Going too literal may result in some odd combinations. I don’t think rye whiskey would pair to well with Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye. Also, working in a joke could be disastrous. I’m look at you Shirley Temple and Lolita. Nabokov would not approve.
So how does one determine what pairs with what? Below I have a few suggestions but with endless combinations to create, what books would you pair with drinks?
Robert Louis Stevenson
Of course, a pirate novel pairs well with rum. Pirates drank rum not just for fun and recreation but also because keeping water drinkable on ships was not the easiest of tasks. Just saying rum puts one in a pirate state of mind, especially if it’s Captain Morgan. If the rum is too strong for you, eat a lime or lemon wedge after and claim it’s to ward off scurvy. We wont judge.
Ten people brought to a mysterious island, each one of them guilty of murder but completely free of punishment for their sins until now. A bittersweet situation that would pair well with a bittersweet liquor. The almond flavored liquor pairs well with a good mystery. Plus as you delve deeper into the mystery, you almost start to wonder if it’s the amaretto in your glass giving it the subtle hint of bitter almonds or something else.
Applejack is a concentrated apple cider that is similar to hard cider, except it has a higher alcohol concentration. Since applejack was popular in colonial times and apples are associated with autumn, it pairs well with the story set in fall 1790. For a further suggestion, try heating your applejack into a hot toddy like drink to celebrate the autumn wind blowing through the air as Ichabod Crane and the Headless Horseman meet for the first time.
Challenge to not try in one reading:
A little bit of everything
With so many characters and about 1500 pages of text, Les Miserables provides a ton of opportunities to imbibe with the best of them. Strong whiskey for the time Jean Valjean spent in prison. Red wine with Javert. Scotch when Jean Valjean makes his transformation into Monsieur Madeleine. Rosè with Fantine, beer with the young revolutionaries and of course a champagne toast for the wedding at the end.