Summer is a fantastic time to put up your feet and relax in the sunshine while having a tall, cool, refreshing drink. It’s also an ideal time to catch up on your reading, whether you’re on vacation, enjoying the weekend or taking advantage of the longer daylight hours. But if you want to make your warm-weather months doubly fantastic, match the right drink to the right read and enjoy both at the same time. Here are four reading-and-drinking combos to get you started:
BOOK: Onward Kitchen Soldiers by Rob Chirico
DRINK: Flirting With the Sandpiper
If you like the food business, cooking shows or just rollicking good reads, this nonfiction book is your bag. It’s a great look inside competitive cooking and TV chefs, with a protagonist who was once a chef before he developed food allergies, and is now in public relations for cookbooks. He ends up having to prep an over-the-top restaurant owner–who doesn’t actually know how to cook–for a show called Gladiator Chef. Read it while sipping the rummy highball called Flirting With the Sandpiper, from Chirico’s drink book The Field Guide to Cocktails.
HOW TO MAKE IT:
Flirting With the Sandpiper
1-1/2 ounces light rum
3 ounces freshly squeezed orange juice
1 dash Scrappy’s orange bitters (or another bitters of your choice)
1 teaspoon cherry brandy
1. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway full with ice cubes. Add the rum, orange juice, and bitters. Shake well.
2. Fill a highball glass three-quarters up with ice cubes. Strain the mix over the ice and into the glass. Carefully float the cherry brandy on top of the drink.
BOOK: Little Green by Walter Mosely
DRINK: Chartreuse Daisy
This is the book I’m looking forward to reading most this summer (to be honest, I’ll be reading it for the second time because it’s that good), and any fan of detective fiction, awesome writing and historical reads with umph will feel the same way. The 11th book in the Easy Rawlins series (which is only one avenue that Mr. Mosley trods), Little Green takes place in 1967 and is a great portrayal of that psychedelic time, as well as being a mystery told with wit, grit and incredible insight. Pair it with a Chartreuse Daisy, both because of the colorful green Chartreuse involved and because daisies match up with the 1960s in a nice way.
HOW TO MAKE IT:
2 ounces gin (Big Gin is a good fit)
1/2 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 ounce grenadine
1 ounce green Chartreuse
Strawberry slice, for garnish
Orange slice, for garnish
1. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway full with cracked ice. Add the gin, lemon juice, and grenadine. Shake very well, until the shaker gets frosty.
2. Fill a goblet three-quarters up with cracked ice. Strain the mix over the ice. Stir briefly. Float the Chartreuse over the ice, stir again briefly.
3. Garnish with the strawberry and orange. If you’re feeling like a little extra fragrance will add to the day’s exuberance, add a few mint sprigs to the drink.
BOOK: The Confessions of Max Tivoli by Andrew Sean Greer
DRINK: The Martinez
This modern classic is a wonderful read about a man who is born looking like an old, near-dying person, and then who goes through life aging backwards. Of course it’s really about love and loss, and is loaded with amazing prose that’ll break your heart (all of which is sorta crucial to a good summer read). The story begins: “We are each the love of someone's life,” and the tale takes place in San Francisco circa 1871, which means this demands imbibing a classic drink like the Martinez. This cocktail is thought by many to have been concocted in the 1800s and is potentially the precursor to the Martini.
HOW TO MAKE IT:
1-3/4 ounces gin (Voyager here please)
3/4 ounce sweet vermouth
1/4 ounce Maraschino liqueur
2 dashes Angostura bitters
Lemon twist, for garnish
1. Fill a cocktail shaker or mixing glass halfway full with cracked ice. Add the gin, vermouth, liqueur, and two dashes bitters. Stir well.
2. Strain into a cocktail glass. Twist the twist over the glass and drop it in.
BOOK: Death in Summer by William Trevor
DRINK: Death in the Afternoon
This book by the legendary Irish writer is obviously an ideal summer read (if a bit melancholy in title–though by the end, summer is a bit melancholy itself). It starts with Thaddeus Davenant, who has just buried his young wife after she died in an accident, leaving him with their child, a step-mother who moves in and a scary nanny who doesn’t leave. It’s a book that can be grim and hopeful and have a bit of thriller alongside the weight the tragedy all at once. Serve it up with Hemingway’s favorite, the bubbly Death in the Afternoon.
HOW TO MAKE IT:
Death in the Afternoon
1-1/2 ounces absinthe
4 ounces chilled brut sparkling wine
1. Add the absinthe to a flute. Top with the sparkling wine. If your wine’s not well-chilled, add a single ice cube.