Summer Cocktails (and Mocktails!) for Your Next Book Club Meeting

Organizing a book club meeting this summer? Move over, wine and water!

Serve up these drinks inspired by a few of our recent favorite reads instead. Make yourself a Maharani cocktail inspired by Alka Joshi’s The Secret Keeper of Jaipur. Or serve up non-alcoholic Black Cherry Water courtesy of Sarah Penner and The Lost Apothecary. Whichever the case, your book club’s going to be in for a treat!

The Maharani Cocktail

The Maharani Cocktail

Because the dowager queen is a fan of gin and tonics, Alka Joshi asked her brother, Madhup, to create a cocktail just for her. Enjoy it with a samosa, pakora, or any other savories Lakshmi has on offer. Inspired by The Secret Keeper of Jaipur by Alka Joshi.

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ oz. gin
  • A pinch of freshly ground cardamom
  • 4 strands of saffron
  • 3 oz. tonic water
  • 3 drops Patrón orange liqueur
  • Ice

Directions

  1. Combine the cardamom and saffron with the gin. Let stand until flavors are infused then strain.
  2. Add the tonic water and orange liqueur. Top with ice.

Serves one.

The Maharani Mocktail

The Maharani Mocktail

An non-alcoholic twist on a cocktail fit for the dowager queen. Inspired by The Secret Keeper of Jaipur by Alka Joshi.

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ oz.  Sobrii Non-Alcoholic Gin or Seedlip Non-Alcoholic Spirit
  • A pinch of freshly ground cardamom
  • 4 strands of saffron
  • 3 oz. tonic water
  • A splash of orange juice
  • Ice

Directions

  1. Combine the cardamom and saffron with the non-alcoholic gin. Let stand until flavors are infused then strain.
  2. Add the tonic water and a splash of orange juice. Top with ice.

Serves one.

The Henry

The Henry

A favorite drink on the Hau Terrace at the Outrigger Canoe Club. Inspired by Radar Girls by Sara Ackerman.

Ingredients

  • 1 oz. vodka (more to taste)
  • 1 oz. orange juice
  • 1 oz. lilikoi (passion fruit) juice
  • 1 oz. Grenadine syrup
  • Crushed ice

Directions

  1. Blend and enjoy in a double old fashioned glass.

Serves one.

Orange Brandy

Orange Brandy

Serve up your own delicious brew of orange brandy. Inspired by The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner.

Ingredients

  • 8 oranges
  • 1 qt. brandy
  • Water
  • ¾ lb. sugar

Directions

  1. To brandy, add the peels of eight oranges. Cover in a pitcher for 48 hours.
  2. To 3 pints water, add sugar and boil until reduced by half. When cooled, mix with brandy and serve.

Serves a crowd. Originally printed in English Housewifery, Elizabeth Moxon, 9th edition (1786).

Non-Alcoholic Black Cherry Water

Black Cherry Water

This jazzed up drink will leave you feeling refreshed and rejuvenated! Inspired by The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner.

Ingredients

  • 6 lb. black cherries
  • Several sprigs of assorted herbs (rosemary, marjoram, mint, celery leaf and marigold)
  • 1 oz. dried flower petals
  • ½ oz. anise seed
  • ½ oz. sweet fennel seed
  • Water

Directions

  1. Lightly mash cherries and add several springs of rosemary, marjoram, mint, celery leaf and marigold. Add the dried flower petals, anise seed, and sweet fennel seed, lightly cruised. Mix well.
  2. Add 1 qt. cold water and soak overnight. Strain water with a fine sieve and serve.

Serves a crowd. Originally printed in The London Art of Cookery, John Farley, 7th edition (1792).

Cleopatra: Mulled Wine Fit For a Queen

Cleopatra: Mulled Wine for for a Queen

Cleopatra is one of history’s most famous women and also one of history’s favorite drinkers. The beverage of choice for this powerful queen was sweet, mulled wine. Girly Drinks tells the story of how wine symbolized her freedom … and led to her downfall. Inspired by Girly Drinks by Mallory O’Meara.

Ingredients

  • 1 750ml bottle of wine
  • 3 cinnamon sticks (plus more for garnish)
  • 3 star anise
  • ½ cup of honey

Directions

  1. Combine all ingredients in a medium pot or saucepan. Bring to a simmer, then reduce heat to medium low. Simmer for 10 minutes. Garnish with an extra cinnamon stick and serve.

Serves six.

The Garden Cocktail

The Garden Cocktail

This cocktail is bright and fresh, but also complicated. The pinch of salt adds an edge, while the basil and citrus pack maximum summer fragrance into your glass. This is a great one to enjoy outside in the shade on a hot afternoon. Inspired by Daughters of the Wild by Natalka Burian.

Ingredients

  • 2 slices of grapefruit
  • 3 basil leaves
  • A pinch of salt
  • ¾ oz agave syrup
  • ¾ oz freshly squeezed lime
  • 2 oz gin
  • Soda water
  • Lots of ice

Directions

  1. In a shaking tin (or pint glass) muddle the grapefruit, basil and salt. Add 5–7 ice cubes, the agave, lime, gin and shake, with intention, for at least 30 seconds. Strain the mixture into a tall glass filled with ice and top with soda water.
  2. If you want, garnish with a bright green basil leaf. Enjoy! This one would be delicious without the gin, too, if you’re not drinking alcohol.

Serves one.

Helen’s Lethal Margaritas

Helen's Lethal Margaritas

Take a page out of The Sweet Magnolias Cookbook! It doesn’t get much easier than this—and sooo delish! Inspired by the Sweet Magnolia series by Sherryl Woods.

Ingredients

  • 1 (6 oz.) can frozen limeade concentrate
  • ¾ cup tequila
  • ¼ cup triple sec or Grand Marnier
  • 2 tablespoons agave nectar or honey

Directions

  1. Fill the container of a blender with 4 cups of ice. Add all ingredients. Secure lid on blender, and blend until smooth.
  2. Pour into 4 salt-rimmed margarita glasses, or simply pass straws to your best friends and let everyone gather around.

Serves four.

What’s your favorite drink to have at your book club? Let us know in the comments below!

    Katie Didow

    Katie's been a book nerd ever since she skipped out on recess to read Harry Potter. When she's not reading, you'll find her sewing, baking or binge-watching her old favorite TV shows on Disney+.

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