“First you take a drink, then the drink takes a drink, then the drink takes you.” — F. Scott Fitzgerald
Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with these 6 literary book and drink pairings!
While St. Patrick’s Day originally paid homage to the patron saint of Ireland, this holiday is now recognized as a celebration of Irish culture with special foods, dancing, and all-green everything. Most notably in popular culture, though, is the celebration of drinking alcohol!
We’re not condoning alcoholism, but if you’re celebrating with a drink why not make it a literary celebration? For our third installment of BookPal’s Read & Eat series, we’re highlighting some of our favorite literary masterpieces and the drinks they (and their authors) inspire! Whether you’re a teacher who regularly teaches these books or simply an avid reader looking for a fun new list of titles to tackle, we’re sure you’ll find inspiration below.
6 literary book and drink pairings:
1. Read The Old Man and the Sea while drinking a whiskey & soda.
In the literary world, Ernest Hemingway is as infamous for his drinking habits as he is for his masterpieces. Read one of his most popular works, The Old Man and the Sea, with a whiskey and soda — one of his favorite drinks — in hand. First published in 1953, this short novel about an aging Cuban fisherman struggling with a giant marlin (fish) was cited by the Nobel Committee when they awarded Hemingway with the 1954 Nobel Prize in Literature.
2. Read Ulysses while sipping on a glass of your favorite wine.
Did you know that Hemingway and James Joyce were drinking buddies? An Irish novelist, short story author, and poet, Joyce is widely regarded as one of the most influential authors of the 20th century. Pick up a copy of Ulysses, his landmark work paralleling Homer’s Odyssey, and marvel at the stream of consciousness he is so well-known for. But, why wine? As Joyce once said, “What is better than to sit at the end of the day and drink wine with friends, or substitutes for friends?”
3. Read I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings while having a glass of sherry.
In a 1990 interview with The Paris Review, Maya Angelou revealed that she brought a bottle of sherry to the hotel rooms where she worked on her seminal works. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, inarguably one of her most famous pieces, is taught in high schools and colleges across the nation. This autobiography explores a number of subjects (racism, identity, and literacy, just to name a few) eloquently with a powerful narrative.
4. Read Song of Solomon while having a bottle of your favorite beer.
“She was the third beer. Not the first one, which the throat receives with almost tearful gratitude; nor the second, that confirms and extends the pleasure of the first. But the third, the one you drink because it’s there, because it can’t hurt, and because what difference does it make?” — Song of Solomon
Now we’re not saying you should have three bottles of beer, but beer would make a great pairing with this novel by Toni Morrison, who you may also recognize as the author of The Bluest Eye. Song of Solomon follows the life of a single man living in Michigan juxtaposed with the African-American experience in the United States over four generations.
5. Read The Picture of Dorian Gray while toasting with champagne.
Irish writer Oscar Wilde is famous for his works in plays, prose, poetry, and essays — but he is also famous for his taste for champagne! To be more precise, he explained that “iced champagne is a favorite drink of [his] — strongly against [his] doctor’s orders” during an official trial in court. So why not pair his favorite drink with his most renowned and only novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray? Perhaps the sparkling wine will take the edge off the insanity of Dorian Gray’s quest: to remain pure and youthful while hiding a portrait that reflects his hideous record of evil.
6. Read The Great Gatsby while having a gin cocktail.
The Great Gatsby is undeniably F. Scott Fitzgerald’s most famous literary masterpiece. Gin is the author’s drink of choice and it even makes several appearances in his renowned novel! A gin cocktail pairs perfectly with the vibrant Jazz Age that Fitzgerald sets his story in. Read The Great Gatsby and follow Nick Carraway as he narrates his encounters with his wealthy and friendly neighbor, Jay Gatsby.