5 Summer Reads That Pair Perfectly With Cocktails

by Mamrie Hart

For some people, their favorite reading ritual is sitting on the front porch, or cracking open a paperback once they've crawled into bed. Maybe reading for you requires a hot cup of coffee or that morning commute on the subway. For me, it's drinking.

Yep, if I have a book in-hand, the other is definitely holding a martini. I love drinking and reading so much that I consider myself an expert. If you want to pair wine with food, call a sommelier (usually with a little hesitation in your voice, cause how the heck do you pronounce "sommelier"?!). But if you want to read a tale with a cocktail, you've come to the right place.

Below, I've created your summer drinking and reading list in case you should want to try out my ritual. But instead of just going completely random, I decided to theme it out with celebrity biographies. Why?

  1. Because I just wrote a biography, so I’m a wee bit obsessed. I might not be a celebrity, but don't tell the people whom I'm catfishing.
  2. Because celebrity biographies are bar none the perfect read for summer.

Summer is for relaxing. You don't want to be reading anything too intense. I mean, what if your cabana boy comes over and accidentally drops an entire piña colada on you? You should be reading something that you can pick up and enjoy in small increments: a book that will keep you entertained, but not that's dramatic enough that you couldn't give in to a nap. Hence, this reading list. So, are you ready for my picks? Let's get started!

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling

Pairs with a Sparkling Rose

Mindy Kaling is a girly girl — but that doesn't mean she isn't a total badass. If I had her cell phone number (and I wouldn't advise giving it to me, Mindy), I would not only ask her business advice, but also constantly ask her to go get cocktails and pedicures, complete with too many emojis. Her personality, and book, is bubbly and refreshing just like a crisp sparkling rose. Plus, it feels fancy, and if you follow Mindy on instagram, you would know she loves getting all fancified.

Food: A Love Story by Jim Gaffigan

Pairs with a Michelada

I've felt Jim on a spiritual level ever since I heard him do an entire stand up set about his unabashed love of Hot Pockets. I feel the same way about Bagel Bites. Hell, I have a drinking game in my book for which one of the rules is to drink every time I mention a food you could buy at 7-11.

In his newest book, Food, he doesn't just tackle his fervor for the frozen food aisle, but the entire grocery store. This one's going to make you hungry, so you'll going to need a cocktail with a little bite. For those of you unfamiliar, a michelada is basically a little Bloody Mary mix, some fresh lime, and a little hot sauce over ice topped off with an ice cold beer. It's the perfect summer cocktail for reading this book, 'cause you get that savory, salty fix. And, if reading about food makes you hungry enough, there is no shame in garnishing this drink like a Bloody Mary. I'm talking pickles, olives, cheese cubes, and a freakin' shrimp cocktail. Go nuts.

Yes Please by Amy Poehler

Pairs with a Bottle of Red Wine

Full disclosure: I am the queen of taking months to read a book, but I bought Amy's memoir in a an L.A. airport and finished it by the end of the night in North Carolina.

You might think, Really, Mamrie? A bottle of red for the summer? Excuse me, you have air conditioning! Sometimes, you've got to keep your sunburnt body indoors and take it easy. For that day, this book and beverage combo is perfect. I knew Amy's memoir would be hilarious, but I was surprised at how real it was — how honest she was about everything from motherhood to career to even what a bitch it can be to finish a book. She's down to earth, like an earthy red. She doesn't just deliver rapid fire jokes in the pages, but instead lets her words breathe — just like what you should do for your bottle of vino. And just like you slowly sip a delicious bottle of wine, you will want to savor this book, and wish it came in a magnum size.

The Book of Joan by Melissa Rivers

Pairs with a Jalapeño Margarita

Being a major Joan Rivers fan, I've read just about everything there is about this comedy legend. I love this book because it's Joan from a completely different perspective: through her daughter Melissa. I know some of you might think that this would be too intense of a book for a light summer read, but fear not. Melissa not only delivers those mother daughter stories that you’re looking for, she also brings the humor. Just like a jalapeño margarita, this book has a kick!

And finally, for my last memoir, I'm giving it up for one of the original sexpots...

My First Five Husbands... and the Ones Who Got Away by Rue McClanahan

Pairs with a Mojito

Gotta toss in a throwback! And why not give props to one of my spirit animals, Golden Girl Blanche Devereux. Just hearing her name evokes visions of silk kaftans and Miami '80s realness. And what is more Miami than a classic mojito? With tales of McClanahan's love life, you can almost imagine her reading it in her southern drawl, while lazing on a rattan chair. Consider this book your summer fling read.

But let's get real. If you really want to dive into a book with a cocktail accompaniment, buy my book! Not only is it a perfect collection of stories that you can toss in your beach bag, but each chapter has a special cocktail recipe specially designed for the story ahead.

Now go forth, and have a great summer!

Image: Courtesy of Plume