As I was staring into my computer screen, brainstorming how to spread the word about an anthology I helped put together, Christmas, Actually, I took a sip of wine. How to promote the work of several authors without feeling so promotion-y? I took another sip of wine as I pondered. Then it hit me. No, not the need to go to the bathroom (well, actually, yeah). The solution was right there in my wine-loving hands: pair up festive drinks with holiday books!
It made perfect sense, and not just because I had a nice buzz going. When you get all cozied up with a good Christmas book, having the right beverage by your side can get you into the spirit that much quicker.
Here are my recommendations for fun holiday reads and their best drinking buddies (in moderation of course, or Santa will put you on the naughty list):
Winter Street, by Elin Hilderbrand
Recommended Drink: Spiked Apple Cider
There’s no place like no home for the holidays. Because where else could so much chaos ensue in just one spot? The “delightfully dysfunctional” Quinn family has their fair share of problems during the festive season, and you’ll enjoy reading about them from the comfort of your plush armchair, glass of spiked apple cider by your side.
A New York Christmas, Anne Perry
Recommended Drink: Manhattan
English-born mystery writer Anne Perry admirably maintains an annual tradition of writing a Christmas-inspired novel, but her 2014 offering is the first time her story takes place across the pond. As her characters face cold, harsh truths in the equally cold and harsh New York winter, you can enjoy a strong Manhattan cocktail in the comfort of your warm, not-harsh home.
This is Christmas, Talli Roland
Recommended Drink: Mulled Wine
Every time I see this book title I start singing So This is Christmas in my head. Which in turn makes me want to snuggle up with a warm mug of mulled wine as I read. Talli Roland’s latest Christmas offering is a collection of four holiday novellas, each heart-warming and sweet. Simmer a big batch of mulled wine on the stove while cinnamon and clove aromas waft through the air, sweetening your holiday reading.
A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens
Recommended Drink: Eggnog
Perhaps if Ebenezer Scrooge would have indulged in a little more eggnog, he wouldn’t have been so grouchy. But then this classic Christmas tale would be as flimsy as the ghosts who haunt it. Could you imagine if Scrooge skipped the Bah Humbugs and bypassed the whole ghosts of Christmas past, present, and yet to come scenario? We wouldn’t have much of a story. So it’s probably better he remained a grump. Leaves more eggnog for the rest us.
How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Dr. Seuss
Recommended Drink: Hot Chocolate
I won’t advocate drinking around the kids (though once they’re in bed, all bets are off), but who said every drink had to be alcoholic? A steamy mug of hot chocolate goes perfectly with this grinchy tale. Just be sure to make enough to share with all the residents of Whoville!
Recommended Drink: Jäger Bomb
With a title like that, you’re not left with much choice. You need a drink that’s going to pack a punch as you read these witty, brash, and hilarious essays from Jen Mann of I Just Want to Pee Alone fame. So that means the only drink to pair with this book is actually a shot — a quick shot to the jugular to be exact. I recommend a Jäger Bomb; the combination of fiery Jägermeister and heart-racing Red Bull is gonna get you where it counts.
The Repeat Year, Andrea Lochen
Recommended Drink: Kir Royale
Have you ever wanted a do-over? What about redoing an entire year of your life? Starting on New Year’s Day, this loosely-related-to-the-holidays book (hey, we didn’t want them ALL to be about Christmas, did we?) lays out an intriguing premise about rewriting our future. And what better way to enjoy a New Year’s book than with a glass of bubbly? I recommend saying goodbye to the previous year and ringing in the new year with a Kir Royale: sparkling wine with a dash of crème de cassis.
Christmas Confessions & Cocktails, Vicki Lesage
Recommended Drink: Christmas Cookie Martini
If you think your family is the only crazy one, I’m here to tell you you’re not alone! In my latest book, I share 25 stories about various holiday triumphs and tribulations, and pair each story with a sassy cocktail recipe. No matter how raucous your Yuletide season, you can commiserate with me. And even better if you commiserate over a delicious Christmas Cookie Martini (the easy recipe is in the book!)