Sometimes I create or match a cocktail to the feeling a book emotes. Sometimes I select a cocktail utilizing a character’s name, or rather nickname, as in the case of the Daisy cocktail for Things We Never Got Over. However, for Book Lovers by Emily Henry, a certain cocktail actually plays a role within the novel.
Nora is having a bad day. She’s a smart and sassy literary agent in New York City. We meet Nora as she’s getting dumped by her boyfriend Grant while running late to a business meeting. As Nora’s meeting goes from bad to worse, she breaks from her usual professionalism and orders a gin dirty martini at lunch.
A gin dirty martini is salty and dry. It’s a classic cocktail. Characters who drink gin martinis in books and movies are typically sexy and sophisticated. These characteristics definitely apply to our heroine. Additionally, we find out later in the book that a kind flight attendant gave Nora gin after she and her sister, Libby, were flying home after scattering their mother’s ashes.
A flight attendant either overestimated our ages or took pity on us, and discreetly dropped off two miniature liquor bottles.
Through her hiccups, Libby chose the Bailey’s. I drank the gin.
Ever since that day, I couldn’t so much as smell it without thinking about holding tight to my sister, about missing Mom so much that she felt closer than she had in weeks.
Maybe that’s why it’s the only thing I really drink. Feeling that hole in your heart is better than feeling nothing at all.
Nora’s signature drink goes beyond aiding to superficially characterize her. Gin is a callback to her mother’s death. Nora’s career choice, relationships and how she navigates life are all connected to the moment her mother died.
Gin Dirty Martini
2 1/2 ounces gin
1/2 ounce dry vermouth
1/2 ounce olive brine (1 ounce if you like martinis extra dirty)
3 olives to garnish (I love blue cheese olives in my dirty martinis.)
Chill your martini glass by filling it with ice and water. Add gin, vermouth and olive brine to a shaker filled with ice. Shake for 30 seconds. Dump the ice water out of the martini glass. Strain the dirty martini into the chilled glass.
My favorite martini glasses can be found here. I love the extra long stem!
These metal cocktail picks are perfect for skewering those olives.
This cocktail shaker is both functional and gorgeous. I’ve used mine for years!
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