Restaurants have suggested wine pairings with their food—e.g. this beef dish goes best with a hearty red.
I’m thinking bookstores, or maybe even publishers, should pick up the habit. There’s the obvious: a dark merlot would match a vampire book. Chicklit set in New York or London goes with something trendy and served in a pretty, silly glass. But what about picks based on specific authors?
I’d say Debbie Macomber calls for hot chocolate with a lot of sugar and loads of marshmallows. At the other end of the spectrum, I recently read Cherie Priest’s Bloodshot and even though it’s a vampire book, I think that would call for something dry and quirky. I’d pick sake for her if that drink wasn’t so based in Japanese culture.
For Ilona Andrews’s books, whether they’re from the Edge or Kate Daniels series, you’ll need something home-brewed and quirky, like wine made from berries collected in dark woods. For the Kate books, maybe Russian tea served from a samovar. Sip the tea from a glass, with a filigree holder. Don’t forget to hold a sugar cube between your teeth, the way the Russians used to.
You could pick a drink based on what the characters drink, but then you’d have to sip indifferent ratafia for all of those Mary Balogh titles that have scenes set in Almack's. I think I’d prefer a fine, aged brandy, favored by many of her heroes. Or, if you’re avoiding alcohol, tea in a fine bone china cup, naturally. Don’t forget to warm the pot first. You are making the tea in a silver pot, of course.
J.R. Ward seems to have characters who drink expensive scotch. Strong, take-away-your-breath belts of fire. That works. Or maybe a shot of top shelf vodka (Grey Goose!) served straight up.
For a book by J.L. Merrow, I’d go for a good, rich beer and I’d drink it in a pub that still serves ale brewed on the premises. There should be a dart board in the pub.
A book by Lorna Landvik would go well with good, home-made lemonade. Something tart, strong yet finishing sweetly and leaving you pining for the lemonade you once tasted years ago.
I just read a Jill Mansell and I think some chilled white wine would go with it. Nothing too strong or heady, but sweet and with a quirky aftertaste. (Do wine aficionados use the word “quirky”? How about “nutty”? That works, too.)
In Catherine Cade’s Hawaii heroes stories, the heroines tend to drink Mai Tais so no need to use much creative thinking on that one. Yum.
E.L. James’s Fifty Shades—you’d want something sweet with a kick to it that you wouldn’t expect. Maybe a Long Island Iced Tea.
Tori Scott’s Texas-based romances go down well with Lone Star Beer or maybe a cup of percolated coffee served in a good, thick mug. You might want to include a smidge of cocoa in the coffee.
How about picking the drink first? So if you’re in a mood for organic green tea, maybe you’d want to pair it with some sort of green romance. Are there ecofriendly romances?
I’m sipping some eggnog and am clicking through my Kindle to see what’ll go with it. Have any suggested pairings? This eggnog has a lot of nutmeg and could use some rum. No particular author comes to mind as a match. Maybe I need to go shopping for something thick and basically sweet with tropical overtones.
Kate Rothwell writes romance using her own name and the pseudonym Summer Devon. She lives in Connecticut with four men (three of whom are her sons). You can out more about her at KateRothwell.com and SummerDevon.com.