10 Great Novels and the Cocktails You Should Pair Them With


As the bookish among you are most likely aware, literature and liquor have gone hand in hand since time immemorial. But while we know which drinks our favorite authors liked to imbibe while creating, that’s not necessarily a good indication of which drinks are best to read their work by. We’ve already given you our suggestions on the cocktails you should pair with your favorite TV shows, but if you’re more likely to be curled up with a book than in front of the small screen this weekend, we have a few thoughts as to how to best keep the party going in your living room. Click through to read about the cocktails we would pair with ten of our favorite novels, and if you’ve found another winning combination, give us your own recommendations in the comments!


Amaretto Sour

1 jigger amaretto almond liqueur 1 oz. lemon juice maraschino cherries as desired sugar to rim glass

Though we were tempted to pick something bright red for our Lola, we think the Amaretto Sour might be her drink — sweet enough that she’d like it, serious enough that it would make her feel grown up. Not to mention the fact that that very tension between the playfully sweet and deadly serious also happens to be one of the joys of the novel — so why not indulge all the senses?

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The Catcher in the Rye

Old Fashioned

1 sugar cube 3 dashes Angostura bitters dash of club soda 2 ounces rye whiskey 1 orange slice and/or 1 maraschino cherry

We know Holden is a Scotch and Soda man himself, but it’s the Old Fashioned that most reminds us of existential angst and dark evenings in New York City in the fifties (or today, really). But don’t be a phony — only drink this if you’re a real whiskey fan.

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Salty Dog

3 ounces vodka 6 ounces fresh squeezed grapefruit juice salt to rim glass lime wedges

Not only will you feel as though the salt spray is hitting your face with every sip, but you can rest assured that your reading will not be interrupted by bouts of scurvy. And that’s very important for long sea voyages, you know.

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The Great Gatsby

French 75

1 jigger dry gin 1 teaspoon simple syrup the juice of 1/2 lemon 5 ounces Brut champagne

While reading The Great Gatsby, you should really drink the cocktail that most lets you indulge in your own fancy 1920s fantasies — for us, it’s the oh-so-classy (and time period appropriate) French 75, which originated in 1915 at the New York Bar in Paris. Yes, it’s ever so chic, my darling. Plus, you can thrill in solidarity with Fitzgerald — whose favorite drink was gin (harder to smell on the breath, you see).

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The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao


1 beer 1 shot whiskey

When you read about dudes in college who are only casually trying to get it together, you should drink like a dude in college who is only casually trying to get it together. And if you have enough of these, you might just work up the courage to try out some of Yunior’s slang — so drink with caution.

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Pisco Sour

1/2 cup pisco or brandy the juice from 2 limes 1 tablespoon simple syrup 1 egg white (optional) 2 dashes angostura bitters orange slices

Both Peru and Chile claim the creation of pisco, that delicious grape brandy, and liquor die-hards from both countries have been arguing over its true origins for years. So we think it’s only proper to take a glass to power you through an equally tempestuous novel by our favorite Chilean novelist. But hey Peru, don’t read anything into this — we’re not taking sides.

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Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

Death in the Afternoon

2 ounces absinthe 4 ounces Brut champagne

We know this cocktail is a Hemingway classic, but come on — what better to fuel your trip down the rabbit hole than a hallucinogenic, celebratory mix of absinthe and champagne?

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Infinite Jest

Long Island Iced Tea

1 ounce vodka 1 ounce gin 1 ounce rum 1 ounce tequila 1/2 ounce triple sec 1/2 ounce sour mix splash of cola

Relax; you’ll be here for a while. No, we didn’t just pair these two because of that “long” in the title (though the thought has obviously crossed our minds). We think the cocktail is perfect for Wallace’s mix of high brow and low brow, his critique of American entertainment, and the number of elements you’re likely to encounter in any given chapter. And yes, Long Island Iced Teas are usually enormous, and you’re going to need quite a few before you finish.

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Dangerous Liaisons

Kir Royal

1 ounce creme de cassis 5 ounces champagne

Just like this scandalous epistolary novel, the Kir Royal is French, foppish, and very likely to put a few sexy ideas in your head.

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The Sound and the Fury

Chatham Artillery Punch

8 lemons 1 pound superfine sugar 750-milliliter bottle bourbon or rye 750-milliliter bottle Cognac 750-milliliter bottle dark Jamaican rum 3 bottles Champagne or other sparkling wine nutmeg

[Recipe via The New York Times ]

Though we’re not sure that the man who famously opined that “civilization begins with distillation” would go to all this trouble to get some drink in him (we’ve heard he favored the Mint Julep, or a whiskey), the rest of us get a little slack. After all, a complex, maddening, amazing Southern classic deserves to be drunk while reading one of the same.

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