Test Kitchen: Bookish Valentine’s Day

Whether your modus operandi is hopeless romantic or you’re more Galentine’s Day than Valentine’s Day, we have books to suit your flavour and drink pairings to match!


Share It:

Single Ladies Sangria

Yields 4-6 servings
  • 750 ml bottle of red wine or rosé
  • 1/2 cup of vodka
  • 1/4 cup of raspberry liqueur
  • 1/2 cup of pomegranate juice
  • 1/2 cup of carbonated water
  • 1 cup of fresh or frozen fruit of your liking 
Directions:Combine wine, vodka, raspberry liqueur, and pomegrante juice in a large pitcher and stir. Add fruit and refrigerate until chilled (about 1-2 hours). Before serving, add the carbonated water and stir gently. Or try this recipe for a non-alcoholic Single Ladies Sangria:
Yields 6 servings
  • 3 cups grape juice
  • 3/4 cup apple juice
  • 3/4 cup orange juice
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2-3 cups sparkling mineral carbonated water
  • 1 cup of fresh or frozen fruit of your liking 
Directions:Combine the juice to a large pitcher and stir gently. Add fruit and refrigerate until chilled (about 1-2 hours). Add carbonated water and stir gently before serving. 

Pair with…

Hard to Do: The Surprising Feminist History of Breaking Up by Kelli Maria Korducki (Coach House Books) 

Celebrate your singledom with refreshing sangria and insights of journalist and cultural critic Kelli Maria Korducki in Hard to Do. After ending a long-term relationship, Korducki wondered: “When did it become so damn difficult to figure out not only what we should want, but what we do want?” The result is a fascinating exploration of how in a capitalist patriarchy, breaking up is really hard to do, and that for women and people of marginalized gender identities, financial independence is essential in order to have options. Women are partnered with societal inequities like the pay gap, pop culture’s pressure to couple, and the commodification of oppressive structures of romantic love. At its heart, Hard to Do is both an exploration of the historical and cultural foundations of romantic relationships and a call to action: do what’s best for you. 

Buy it on All Lit Up

Afternoon Delight

Yields 1 cocktail
  • 2 ounces gin
  • 3/4 ounces fresh lemon juice 
  • 3/4 ounces simple syrup (recipe below)
  • 2 ounces soda water
  • Ice
  • Optional: 1 egg white
  • Garnish: lemon peel
  1. Pour the gin, lemon juice, simple syrup, and egg white (if using) into a cocktail shaker with ice.
  2. Shake, about 30 seconds.
  3. Strain into a glass over ice cubs.
  4. Top with soda water and garnish with lemon peel.
Simple syrup recipe:Ingredients
  • 1 cup water
  • 1-2 cups sugar
  1. Bring the water to a boil. Dissolve the sugar in the boiling water, stirring constantly.
  2. Once the sugar is dissolved completely, reduce the heat, cover, and allow to simmer for about 5-10 minutes (the more sugar, the less simmering time).
  3. Remove the pan from the heat. Allow to cool completely and thicken, then bottle. Store any excess in the fridge.

Pair with…

Just Pervs by Jess Taylor (Book*hug Press) 

Pair your Afternoon Delight with a side of sexy stories this Valentine’s Day. In Jess Taylor’s sophomore collection Just Pervs—a finalist for the 2020 Lambda Literary Awards—two sex addicts meet and fall in love, a woman catches her husband cheating on her with their dog, friends pine for each other, and bad characters make bad decisions. From Tinder flings to queer polyamory, Just Pervs offers a refreshing examination of female sexuality and a GET-IT-GIRL attitude.

Buy it on All Lit Up

Hot Chocolate for Two 

Yields 2 servings
  • 4 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 12 ounces milk, heated
  • 3 ounces spirit of choice
  1. Split the chocolate into two cups 
  2. Pour 6 ounces of the hot milk into each cup and let stand for 2 minutes until the chocolate melts, then stir with a spoon until smooth
  3. Pour 1 1/2 ounces of the spirit of your choice into each cup and stir to combine 
Or try this recipe for a non-alcoholic hot chocolate:
Yields 3-4 servings
  • 1 1/2 cups chocolate milk 
  • 1 cup (5 to 6 ounces) of your preferred dry hot chocolate mix
  • 3-4 cups cubed or crushed ice 
  • Whipped cream and chocolate sprinkles or shavings, for garnish, if desired
  1. Add the milk, hot chocolate mix and ice, in the order listed, to a blender and process until smooth
  2. Pour into glasses and top with whipped cream and chocolate shaving/sprinkles, if desired.

Pair with…

26 Knots by Bindu Sureh (Invisible Publishing)

If you’re partnered upor fancy a romantic date with yourselfmake it a(nother) cozy night in with tasty hot chocolate and Bindu Suresh’s gorgeous novel-in-stories 26 Knots (Invisible Publishing). A sultry debut full of entangled love affairs, ill-fated couplings, obsession, and heartbreak, this modern Romeo and Juliet-esque story is told through poetic-like vignettes perfect for reading aloud to your person. 

Buy it on All Lit Up.

* * *

More books about love: 


* * *

 For more Test Kitchen, click here