Happy Repeal Day! On December 5, 1933, the 18th amendment, which prohibited the manufacture, sale, distribution, and consumption of alcohol, was repealed. To celebrate this occasion, we’re pairing up some SparkPress titles with some classic cocktails. Enjoy!
The term cocktail was coined in 1806 in a New York newspaper, defined as a mixture of sugar, spirits, water, and bitters. This definition expanded over time, but some came to prefer something a little more old-fashioned—something that fit the original definition. Thus, the Old Fashioned was born. To pair with this drink, we recommend Trouble the Water by Jacqueline Friedland. It follows a young woman in the 1840s (right around the time the drink would be coming into popularity) who discovers that her benefactor is an abolitionist helping local slaves escape.
Shaken or stirred, dry or wet, gin or vodka, with a twist or olives, straight up or on the rocks… martinis can be made a variety of ways. In fact, one of the most famous references to a martini in pop culture is James Bond’s order, “shaken, not stirred.” No matter what way you take your martini, you can never go wrong feeling like Mr. Bond. Thus, we recommend reading Mission Afghanistan by Elie Paul Cohen. This memoir of a Franco-British civilian emergency doctor turned liaison emergency doctor in Afghanistan reads like a spy thriller.
A Manhattan is likely a drink that your grandmother enjoyed. This simple drink made out of whiskey or rye, sweet vermouth, and bitters has a multi-generational appeal—the maraschino cherry garnish makes it almost a grown-up Shirley Temple. For a multi-generational drink, we recommend a multi-generational book that may appeal to both you and your grandmother. Bedside Manners by Heather Frimmer is a mother-daughter story. It follows Joyce, a mother recently diagnosed with breast cancer, and her daughter Marnie, who is planning a wedding. These events force them into new roles, so they learn more about themselves—and each other.
This sweet drink has plenty of variations. These days, the daquiris that come to mind are frozen and fruity, but the original daquiris were simple—just sugar, lime, and rum. Whether you like it the original way or the more modern version, it’s delicious. For a drink this sweet, a young adult read may be a perfect fit. But Not Forever by Jan von Schleh features two identical girls switched in time—what could be sweeter? It has two parallel timelines, one back in 1895 and one in 2015.
No drink feels more Old West than one with whiskey in it. One of the most simple, old fashioned whiskey drinks is a whiskey sour. Just shake together some whiskey, lemon juice, and sugar with ice and strain. If you’re feeling the Old West vibe, you’ll want to read Girl With a Gun by Kari Bovée. This historical murder mystery reimagines Annie Oakley, the famous sharpshooter, as an amateur sleuth. When the people around her start dying, she must find the culprit and clear her name.
Once Madonna was photographed sipping on a cosmopolitan in the Rainbow Room, the drink rose to popularity. Then, in the late nineties, it became the drink of choice on Sex and The City. Soon, the drink became ubiquitous with young, urban women. Some may consider it a cliché nowadays, but clichés are cliché for a reason—they’re tried and true. While sipping on your cosmo, the book in your hand should also be a bit cliché. A rom-com, perhaps? In First Rodeo by Judith Hennessey, an urban, workaholic woman (probably also a fan of a cosmo) packs up her life, heads to the countryside, and falls for a country boy with big dreams.
One of the most famous Cuban cocktails is the mojito. This rum-based drink is traditionally made with sugar, lime, soda, and mint for a refreshing beverage during the hot Cuban summers. There are variations with lemon, rose, coconut, or gin, but nothing beats the classic mojito. To pair with this drink, we recommend The Opposite of Never by Mary Kathleen Mehuron. In this story about finding love later in life and the effects of addiction, Georgia and Kenny find hope in one another. Towards the end of the book, they run off to Cuba together, where they drink mojitos and make new friends.