What to Booze While You Peruse, Part 1

by Derwood Hunsdale-Talbot on January 7, 2011

There’s nothing like mild intoxication to make even the dullest Russian novel seem vast and brilliantly entertaining.

I recommend reading Tolstoy aloud in your best Russian accent and then re-reading that same part out loud with your best Kentucky accent, recording it all, and playing it back a week later in the privacy of your bathroom. Because of the acoustics.

But the enduring question: with what does one refresh to best reflect the read?

Best Brews for your Best Books

A Tale of Two Cities and Mulled Wine
Tale of two cities by dickens
Just as the city folk lap up spilled wine on the Parisian streets, you too will be lapping up spilled drips from the pages of your Dickens.

Recipe: Simmer cheap, fruity, red table wine with orange zest, some sugar, a cinnamon stick, cloves, cardamom, allspice, and a big ol’ splash of brandy.

The Sun Also Rises and Mojitos
the sun also rises hemingway
A life of love affairs, siestas, and bull running seem perfectly attainable after a few of Heminway’s signature majitos. They may come from Cuba, but rum flows just as freely in Paris and Spain.

Recipe: Muddle (yes, you must muddle) fresh mint leaves and some lime and some sugar in the bottom of a glass. Add ice, pour in the rum, and top off with some fizzy water.

The Long Goodbye and Gimlets

the long goodbye chandler
When was the last time you saw Philip Marlowe without a drink and a smoke? My thoughts exactly. Terry Lenox has a very specific recipe for the brew.

Recipe: “Half gin, half Rose’s lime juice, and nothing else.”

The Sound and the Fury and Mint Juleps

the sound and the fury faulkner
Nothing says the South like a mint julep. Before you know it, you’ll be wearing big hats, find yourself inexplicably attending horse races, and uttering such idiomatic aphorisms as “all over Creation.”

Recipe: Stir together a whole bunch of mint, sugar, bourbon and water. Start sipping.

The Heart is a Lonely Hunter and Sonny Boys

the heart is a lonely hunter mccullers

It turns out Carson McCullers was never really sober (ever) and you don’t have to be, either! By disguising her boozy beverage in a thermos, she could tipple away all day while writing.

Recipe: Blend hot tea and however much sherry you can stand. Extra points for authenticity if you claim “it’s just tea.”

The Great Gatsby and a Gin Rickey

Great gatsby fitzgerald
Roar away your own version of the 20s with Nick, Daisy, Tom, Jay & the gang. I can guarantee you that they will all be (albeit fictionally) as drunk as you for at least 60% of the novel, and F. Scott himself was known as the original gin-soaked prankster.

Recipe: In a tall glass, combine lime, lots of gin and some seltzer. Yes, it’s nearly exactly the same as a gin and tonic.

Factotum and Cheap Red Wine
factotum bukowski
It has oft been said that wine drunks are the trickiest of them all. Feeling a bit “Method”? Sink into the inevitable depression of Henry Chinaski – but snap out of it when you hit the last page. The alternative is everlasting, Bukowski-style gloom.

Recipe: All the red wine you can get your hands on. It doesn’t get much easier than this.


For booze based on the brilliant (yet alcohol-soaked) minds of your favorite writers, check out What to Booze While You Peruse, Part 2.

Unrelated, yet entertaining

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What to Booze While You Peruse, Part 1 | Electronic Book Reviews
January 7, 2011 at 7:20 pm

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Liza LaCasse January 8, 2011 at 12:58 pm

Good reads + good booze = My kind of evening. : )

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