I recently celebrated one of my favorite holidays (National Drink Wine Day) by sitting down with a glass of cabernet and reading a book. It got me thinking about the pairing of drinks and novels. Certainly the rich flavor and the scent of the wine’s bouquet added something extra to my reading experience. Scent and taste trigger memory. One bite of a dessert, one sip of a cocktail can lead the mind toward old associations and past experiences, making the reading experience more vivid and real.
In my humble opinion, a glass of good cabernet goes well with anything. However, if your tastes lean elsewhere, I’ve created the below list of my very own recommended pairings to enhance your reading experience. Cheers!
Harry Potter + Butterbeer
This beverage may be the invention of J.K. Rowling, but leave it to the internet to create recipes based off of this famous wizarding drink. This article on Intoxicology.com has a few different recipes to choose from, whether you like your butterbeer alcoholic or non-alcoholic. What would make your reading experience more immersive then sipping butterbeer alongside Harry, Ron, and Hermione at The Three Broomsticks?
The Great Gatsby + Gin and Tonic
Nothing represents the Roaring Twenties quite like gin. A gin and tonic will transport you to those wild and booze-filled days of prohibition (funny how that turned out, right?), and it’ll be like you are right there at a party in the Gatsby mansion.
The Joy Luck Club + Tea and Oranges
I’m coupling this selection with food, because although tea is an essential pairing with this novel, it seems secondary to the delicious foods featured throughout the story.
The hostess had to serve dyansyin food to bring good fortune of all kinds—dumplings shaped like silver money ingots, long rice noodles for long life, boiled peanuts for conceiving sons, and of course, good luck oranges for a sweet and plentiful life.
This is a fabulous novel, and some tea and oranges will pull you into it as you read about the rich histories of its characters.
Charlotte’s Web + Milk
I think of Charlotte’s Web, and I immediately think of Wilbur’s buttermilk bath that takes him from being a pig to a radiant pig. I wouldn’t recommend buttermilk, ew, but a glass of some cold milk while reading this book on a summery porch, that I recommend. And, don’t insult E.B. White by drinking skim milk with this book, you need the full-fat experience to get the pairing just right.
Interview with a Vampire + Vampire Wine
Now, naturally, blood is a vampire’s preferred beverage, but we’re not vampires. I don’t want to hear about any LQ readers drinking blood cause it pairs so nicely with their vampire novels. But, there is an alternative. Vampire Vineyards makes a series of wines that are perfect to sip on while you wear black velvet and read your Anne Rice collection. They sell bottles of “Fangria.” You can’t get more vampirey than that.
The Tales of Edgar Allen Poe + Amontillado
I actually had to Google what Amontillado is. It’s not something I regularly go to the store for, but it’s a medium dry sherry. It’s an obvious, but perfect pairing for an evening with Edgar Allen Poe. But, please drink responsibly; don’t actually drink the whole cask of amontillado, that’s not healthy. You might get so drunk that someone BRICKS YOU INTO THE WALL! Duh, duh, duhhhhh!!!!
American Psycho + The Most Expensive Champagne You Can Afford
We sit in silence while the hardbody pours the champagne. Once she leaves, McDermott asks if we liked the food. I tell him the potpie was fine but there was way too much tomatillo sauce. McDermott nods, says, “That’s what I’ve heard.”
Van Patten returns, mumbling, “They don’t have a good bathroom to do coke in.”
Nothing says Wall Street like dropping hundreds of dollars on a single bottle of champagne. You could also just get sparkling white wine and call it a day too. Skip the drugs though, you don’t have to get THAT immersed in the book.
The Namesake + Chai
In The Namesake, the Ganguli family come to America and make a home for themselves while still keeping true to their Indian roots. Transport yourself with the fragrant scent of chai tea as you drink it while reading this novel. And if you want some authentic chai, this wonderful article by the Hathi Cooks gives you the basics of making it as well as a step-by-step recipe.