8 Boozy book and drink pairings for summer

Summer is the perfect time to pair up some of your favorite books with a perfect boozy drink. If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll know that I’m expecting my first baby so while I’ll be dreaming about consuming these beverages, I hope you make one in my honor. Make some room on your wine rack and break out your favorite cocktail shaker – it’s time to read and drink.

The Perfect Girlfriend by Karen Hamilton

Juliette will stop at nothing to win back her ex-boyfriend, Nate, even becoming a flight attendant to methodically plan ways to spend more time with him. Juliette is wounded, intelligent and traumatized – an interesting combination for this stalker protagonist. This book contains two of my favorite ingredients in a thriller: a psychologically complex antagonist and England.

Pair this thrilling read with: the Smitten cocktail

A few years ago, a friend of mine made me this Smitten cocktail, a minty-lemony gin and Campari cocktail, and I think I fell in love with the cocktail just as quickly as Juliette fell in love with Nate. The Smitten is not too bitter, and not too sweet. Ideally, to pair with this particular book, you would want to buy the teeny-tiny bottles of gin served on flights. Now if only I could find a small bottle of Beefeater Gin


First: Sandra Day O’Connor by Evan Thomas

I was in a terrible reading funk when I heard a podcast interview with Evan Thomas about his new biography profiling Sandra Day O’Connor. While I am just as much a fan of learning about Ruth Bader Ginsberg and our other female Supreme Court Justices, I was particularly interested in what it was like for the first female SCOTUS Justice who paved the way for the Justices who were nominated after her and became a symbol of the breaking glass ceiling.

Pair this inspiring read with: a glass of bourbon

One of the reasons I loved this book was the scattering of little tidbits about who O’Connor is as a person, aside from her legal expertise and legacy. Apparently, #NotoriousSOC is a fan of a good drink and on her travels would seek a good glass of Scotch. While I’m not a big fan of Scotch, I’m always down for a nice glass of bourbon.


Broken Nek: Finding the Family You Never Knew You Always Wanted by Katie Albrecht and Mary Albrecht

Katie Albrecht abruptly seeks shelter and compassion from her aunt, Mary, after her grandmother’s funeral. Katie has come to realize that she cannot endure her father’s abusive behavior anymore. Unbeknownst to Katie, Mary has her own abusive history with her brother (Katie’s father) and she’s ambivalent about opening these old wounds. Told between both of their perspectives, what results is a powerful story of two women coming to terms with their self-worth, and finding validation in each other’s experiences as survivors from the same abuser. Through each other, they find the strength to set the boundaries and expectations they need in order to grow stronger and find something resembling closure.

Pair this emotional read with: a red wine blend

These ladies sometimes found themselves bonding over a beer or a glass of wine, oftentimes after major familial blowouts. I would love to share a bottle of Francis Ford Coppola Diamond Collection Claret, a red wine blend that’s as deep as the themes in this book, with these two courageous women.


They All Fall Down by Rachel Howzell Hall

Miriam Macy is ready to escape her current family (and legal) drama so she’s thrilled when she’s invited on a trip to an island off the Sea of Cortez. But Miriam was brought to this island under false pretenses, and every guest has a secret sin that makes real-life allegories out of their weaknesses. Throwing a bunch of sinful people on a deserted island together is bound to stir up trouble, and Hall doesn’t shy away from contemporary themes of racism, police brutality, bullying, eating disorders, homophobia and more.

Pair this mysterious read with: the Blood and Sand cocktail

The featured cocktail toward the beginning of the book, and what seems like a delightfully strong way to start a vacation on an island, is the Blood and Sand cocktail. It’s like a version of the sidecar that isn’t here to mess around. Sign. Me. Up.


A Woman is No Man by Etaf Rum         

Bouncing back and forth in time and place, we are joined by the narratives of Isra, a woman who moves to New York City in 1990 from Palestine, to Isra’s oldest daughter, Deya, in 2008 Brooklyn. Both women feel silenced by the expectations of women in their culture. These expectations are further reinforced by other women in their surroundings, primarily Isra’s mother-in-law and Deya’s grandmother, Fareeda. Deya is a teenager, struggling to make sense of her mother’s death by car crash when she was only eight years old. How does Deya balance her desire to seek her own path in contemporary New York, while reconciling the traditional life her mother wanted for her? What was the chain of events leading up to Isra’s death, and what kind of a woman was she?

Pair this powerful novel with: a Vanilla Chai Tea White Russian

While mint chai tea is the prevailing drink (and symbol) in this epic story, I struggled to think of what would make a good cocktail or wine pairing for this book. That is until I stumbled upon a classic with a spicy twist: the Vanilla Chai Tea White Russian. While White Russians are usually associated with winter cocktails, I think the warmth of the chai over ice would be just as enjoyable during an outdoor, early summer bonfire as it would an indoor, wintry fireplace.


The Power of Sprinkles by Amirah Kassem

Amirah Kassem left her career in fashion to start baking full-time, and now she shares the secrets of her NYC-based bakery, Flour Shop, complete with her signature rainbow explosion cakes. I was inspired to pre-order this book due to having read about Kassem’s fun notion of a “birthday lifestyle.” What I wasn’t expecting was tried-and-true technical tips for home bakers that are incredibly helpful (I will never look at cream cheese frosting in the same way). A little fun and a little education – does it get any better?

Pair this fun colorful read with: Sparkling Rosé

Rather than pair this cookbook with a cake-based or rainbow-layered cocktail, I am inclined to pop a bottle of my favorite bubbly (yes, I said favorite), Mumm Napa Sparkling Rosé, just like I would on my birthday. It’s light, it’s delicious and celebratory. Cheers!


How Could She by Lauren Mechling

Geraldine has been struggling to find her path in Toronto, where she grew up. Her two closest friends, Rachel and Sunny, are living what she thinks are successful lives in New York City, and she starts to contemplate if a move is the right prescription for her paralytic life-ailments. What she doesn’t expect is an unraveling of the friendships she holds most dear to her. With opinions no longer suppressed and secrets coming out, the story pulses to a conclusion that carries more power in its whimper than it would in a bang.

Pair this deep read with: a sparkling white wine

As soon as I finished this book, I wanted to send it to my closest friends and talk about our own friendship struggles over a glass of wine. I love introducing people to Vinho Verde, which, despite its green name, is a white wine with the subtlest bite and bubble. My favorite of this varietal is Vera, which is both widely available and retails at less than $15 (winning!).


Yes Way Rosé: A Guide to the Pink Wine State of Mind by Erica Blumenthal and Nikki Huganir

What do you get when you combine two female entrepreneurs who love millennial pink and good wine? A fabulous company dedicated to crafting the best rosé one can drink. While yes, this is a coffee table book with beautiful pink photographs, it’s also a female friendship love story of two friends who grew up together and started a marketing business that turned into curating their own blend of rosé. Because the writers democratize their selection of wines, the rosé recommendations are not brand exclusive – two class act ladies boosting other, delicious, rosé companies, many of which I’d never heard of before.

Pair this fun and enchanting read with: a canned rosé

Obviously, rosé needs to be the pairing for this book, but what kind? I’m a fan of canned wine, especially for spring and summer. It’s portable for outdoor music shows and picnics, or just the right amount of wine when you want to sit on your balcony and un-wined (see what I did there?! #momjoke). Yes Way Rosé just released their canned rosé, and I can’t wait to try it.

*Disclosure: The links above are affiliate links. These picks are editorially selected, but if you purchase, She Reads may get something in return. We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. 

Sandra Manley

Sandra Manley-Eichler is a freelance book reviewer and founder of the Reading with Champagne blog. She lives in the Chicago suburbs with her husband, two cats, and a soon-to-be-born baby boy (coming to a bookstore near you, due July 2019!) Sandra enjoys baking, all varieties of sparkling wine, anything millennial pink and encouraging celebration in everyday moments!

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