Columns > Published on December 27th, 2021

Cheers for Fears: 10 Book and Cocktail Pairings to Celebrate the New Year

I decided to pair some of my favorite 2021 reads with a cocktail recipe for the New Year. I’m a firm believer that it doesn’t matter when a book was released (they’re never too old to be enjoyed), so some of my favorite books this year are previously released titles.

"Between Two Fires" by Christopher Buehlman

Cocktail: “A Cure for What Ails Ya”
Ingredients: 2 ½ oz. Mead (Friary Honey Mead), 1 ½ oz. Ginger Beer (Reed’s Extra), 1 oz. lemon juice, lemon peel garnish

There were few reasons to celebrate in Buehlman’s Medieval, Historical Fiction/Horror novel set during plague/war times. There were a few scenes where our protagonists were drinking and making merry (wine was the drink of choice). Mead was also enjoyed in this time period, and I have had some yummy, modern Mead. I will be trying this cocktail on New Year’s Eve and raising my glass to one of the best books I’ve ever read.

Get Between Two Fires at Bookshop or Amazon 


"The Secret Skin" by Wendy Wagner

Cocktail: 1910 Old Fashioned with Pendleton Whisky
Ingredients: 2 oz 1910 Pendleton Whisky, 1 dash bitters, 1 sugar cube, 1 splash club soda, 1 cherry/orange twist

I looked up the most popular alcohol in Oregon and Pendleton Whisky was it! Their website had some great recipes, and what would be better to pair with a Gothic horror story than an Old Fashioned? Plus, it’s one of my personal favorite drink orders.

Get The Secret Skin ​at Bookshop or Amazon


"Rosemary’s Baby" by Ira Levin

Cocktail: Cranberry Vodka Spritzer with Rosemary Syrup
Ingredients: 2 oz Cranberry Juice, 1 oz. Cranberry Vodka, ¾ oz. Rosemary Syrup (make your own!), 1 oz. sparkling water

I knew I wanted to find a cocktail using Rosemary syrup in honor of our protagonist, Rosemary. Bonus that cranberries are so pretty and festive! Perfect for ringing in the new year and toasting to satanic cults and gaslighting.

Get Rosemary's Baby at Bookshop or Amazon


"Chasing the Boogeyman" by Richard Chizmar

Cocktail: The Maryland Mule
Ingredients: 2 oz. Sagamore Spirit Rye Whisky, 4 oz. Ginger Beer, ½ lime squeezed in, lime wedge & mint for garnish, serve in a copper mug

Since the main character in this book is the author himself, of course I had to choose a cocktail from Maryland. This book is set in the author’s hometown and centers on Chizmar’s personal account of a fictional serial killer terrorizing his community.

Get Chasing the Boogeyman ​at Bookshop or Amazon


"Off Season" by Jack Ketchum

Cocktail: Lobster Bloody Mary
Ingredients: 2-3tsp Old Bay Seasoning, 3 oz. vodka, 1 tsp. Worcestshire sauce, ¼ tsp. Celery salt, 2 tb. Pickle juice, 1 lemon plus lemon juice, 6 oz. tomato juice, 5-10 drops tabasco, 2 tsp. Horseradish sauce, 2 tb. Fresh lobster juice

Ugh, gross. Worse than eating people, this cocktail sounds disgusting, but when I looked up “Maine’s Best Bloody Mary Recipe” this is their signature drink. So if you want to really taste the flavors of Jack Ketchum’s cannibal horror set on the coast of Maine, try this Bloody Mary.

Get Off Season ​at Bookshop or Amazon


"Goddess of Filth" by V. Castro

Cocktail: Sparkling Pomegranate Margarita
Ingredients: 2 oz. 100% agave blanco tequila, 2 oz. POM pomegranate juice, 1 oz. lime juice, 2 oz. sparkling white wine, garnish with pomegranate arils and lime wedge-serve on the rocks

This is the sexiest margarita recipe I could find; perfect for New Year’s Eve and for setting expectations for V. Castro’s spicy, juicy, culturally sparkling female-centric coming-of-age, possession horror story with a twist.

Get Goddess of Filth at Bookshop or Amazon


"Moon Lake" by Joe Lansdale

Cocktail: Backyard Iced Tea Cocktail
Ingredients: 2 oz. spiced rum, 2 oz. lemonade, 1 oz. unsweetened iced tea, garnish with a lemon wedge serve over ice

I did a Google search for popular cocktails in East Texas, but I thought it better to just ask the man himself. Joe answered that Budweiser is the drink of choice. He laughed.

We also got to talking about iced tea. Joe prefers his unsweetened, so this seems like the perfect, laidback cocktail to pair with Joe’s 2021 small-town, coming-of-age, crime-thriller, Moon Lake. I read several Lansdale books this year, so I will definitely drink to his brand of storytelling being in heavy rotation next year and forever.

                                               Get Moon Lake ​at Bookshop or Amazon


"Participation Trophy" by Ira Rat

Cocktail: Virgin Strawberry Daiquiri
Ingredients: 2 cups of frozen strawberries, ¼ cup simple syrup, 3 tb. Lime juice, 1 cup tonic water or lemon lime soda, ½ to ¾ cup water, 1 cup of ice–blend, garnish with a strawberry

If you’re drinking mocktails this holiday season, this recipe is for the best Virgin Strawberry Daiquiri you’ve ever had. And since high school kids can’t buy alcohol, it’s the best pairing for Participation Trophy, a quirky story that has strong Freaks & Geeks/Heathers vibes. A fast, easy read that’s a lot of fun.

Get Participation Trophy directly from Filthy Loot


"Flowers for the Sea" by Zin E. Rocklyn

Cocktail: Dark n’ Stormy
Ingredients: 2 oz. spiced rum (Kraken is my favorite!) ½ oz. lime juice, Ginger Beer (for this one, try Gosling’s) garnish: lime wedge, serve on ice in a copper mug

Ravenous sea beasts, a flooded homeland, survivors adrift at sea. I’m pairing this dark, dystopian fantasy with my favorite drink order and the cocktail I make the most at home, a Dark n’ Stormy. These are perfect to pair with a yummy seafood dinner at a toast at midnight.

Get Flowers for the Sea ​at Bookshop or Amazon


"Queen of Teeth" by Hailey Piper

Cocktail: Pink Shimmer Love Potion #9
Ingredients: 2 oz. Passion Fruit Liqueur (Chinola brand),1 oz. Vanilla Vodka,  ¾ tsp. Pink pearl dust (craft store), 1 oz. cranberry juice, a splash of half & half, garnish with a strawberry

This cocktail sounds absolutely wild; an assault on your tastebuds, so it’s the perfect drink to pair with Hailey Piper’s weird, wild, and wonderful body horror novel. This one is all about trying something new, thinking outside genre norms, and embracing fierce, fresh storytelling. Drink up!

Get Queen of Teeth ​at Bookshop or Amazon

Here's to 2022! Have a happy new year, everyone!

About the author

Sadie Hartmann, “Mother Horror” reviews horror fiction for Cemetery Dance Online and Scream Magazine. She is a co-owner of a curated, horror fiction book subscription company called Night Worms. She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband, kids and Frenchie.

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