It’s the most wonderful time of the year…wait. This isn’t a Christmas themed blog post. What am I doing? We are, however, a mere week away from Thanksgiving. That means lots of time off, spending time with family, eating food we shouldn’t and reading all the things.
If you’ve noticed changes happening on this website, it is because I am finally reading more (yay!), and I’ve been revisiting some old works-in-progress that I *may* start up again in the coming weeks.
So before I delve into that madness (because sometimes writers can’t fully let go of old stories, am I right?), I thought today’s post could be something both fun and different for the blog. And also a way to encourage me to read the books I already own that have yet to be opened. Here are four books still on my shelf that need to be read, and the drinks – inspired by Pinterest – that I would pair with them for the perfect reading session.
Victorian America by Thomas J. Schlereth
A Gregorian Drink for the Victorian Era
I don’t know why, but this book just screams hot toddy. While I am not a fan of alcohol, this drink does contain bourbon. And it’s something I know many Victorians drank on the daily. According to the pin, it contains orange, ginger, maple syrup, cranberry juice, bourbon, cinnamon, cloves, star anise and peppercorns. If that won’t warm you up on a chilly winter’s night, I don’t know what else will! According to sipawards.com, the hot toddy “originally started in India (controlled by the British at the time) in the 1610s and was derived from the Hindi word “taddy,” which translated into a drink made with fermented palm sap. Fast forward to 1786, where the word became official and was defined as an alcoholic drink made with hot water, spices, and sugar.”
From the back cover: A valuable and compelling portrait of the daily life of Americans during the Victorian era – the fourth volume in the Everyday Life in America series.
A detailed, lively survey of the commonplace objectives, events, experiences, products, and tastes that comprised America’s Victorian culture, expressed its values, and shaped modern life…a splendid achievement.-Kirkus Reviews
The Last Tiara by M.J. Rose
Cranberry Mojitos for all the tiaras
The mojito. Something I’ve never had before. However, this recipe provided by the originator of the pin just sounds delightful. And something I can easily imaging a character in this story, set in 1915, enjoying in St. Petersburg, Russia. Don’t ask how I came to this conclusion. I can fully blame my overactive imagination for that one! This recipe features orange soda, ginger, lime, mint, ginger simple syrup, brown and white sugar, cranberry juice, ice cubes, rum and water. Whew! Sounds both utterly complicated and positively delicious.
Sophia Moon had always been reticent about her life in Russia and when she dies, suspiciously, on a wintry New York evening, Isobelle despairs that her mother’s secrets have died with her. But while renovating the apartment they shared, Isobelle discovers something among her mother’s effects—a stunning silver tiara, stripped of its jewels. Isobelle’s research into the tiara’s provenance draws her closer to her mother’s past—including the story of what became of her father back in Russia, a man she has never known. Read more…
A Dress of Violet Taffeta by Tessa Arlen
Drinking chocolate for a tale from 1912
For this story set between 1910 and 1912, I decided to go with something a bit warmer and much less alcoholic. While the Titanic’s sinking isn’t this story’s main focus, the cold certainly is part of it. For this story I chose a Gingerbread Hot Chocolate. Drinking chocolate was a popular choice back then, after all. This recipe includes ginger, gingerbread syrup, allspice, brown sugar, cinnamon, cloves, cocoa powder, gingerbread spice mix, powdered and superfine sugar, milk, whipping cream and water. This is definitely one to share with a friend!
Lucy Duff Gordon knows she is talented. She sees color, light, and texture in ways few people can begin to imagine. But is the male dominated world of haute couture, who would use her art for their own gain, ready for her? When she is deserted by her wealthy husband, Lucy is left penniless with an aging mother and her five-year-old daughter to support. Desperate to survive, Lucy turns to her one true talent to make a living. As a little girl, the dresses she made for her dolls were the envy of her group of playmates. Read more…
The Taming of the Queen by Philippa Gregory
Winter Wassail for the Queen
Wassail. A tale as old as time. A drink for a Tudor queen. Winter wassail, or hot spiced cider, sounds like a perfect thing to have on a Friday night with a Tudor era read. This recipe isn’t for a single soul, as it has eight cups of apple cider and two cups of orange juice. I mean, you could make it all for yourself, and I bet it would be just as tasty chilled and served over ice. Ingredients for this particular recipe are a red apple, cranberries, ginger, orange, cinnamon, cloves, juniper berries, cider and orange juice. Where one obtains juniper berries, though, I don’t really know!
Kateryn Parr, a thirty-year-old widow in a secret affair with a new lover, has no choice when a man old enough to be her father who has buried four wives—King Henry VIII—commands her to marry him.
Kateryn has no doubt about the danger she faces: the previous queen lasted sixteen months, the one before barely half a year. But Henry adores his new bride and Kateryn’s trust in him grows as she unites the royal family, creates a radical study circle at the heart of the court, and rules the kingdom as Regent. Read more…
Hot toddies, cranberry mojitos, gingerbread drinking chocolate and winter wassail. That sounds like an amazing line up for Thanksgiving or some holiday party later this year. And y’all know what? I think I just might make the wassail for one of my family Christmas celebrations! Which one do you want to try the most?