Do you know what drink would pair well with Pink Floyd’s iconic record “The Dark Side of the Moon”? Or Prince’s landmark album “Purple Rain”?
Brother-and-sister authors Andre Darlington and Tenaya Darlington want to enhance your music listening experience, one drink at a time, with “Booze and Vinyl.” Their book isn’t just a sonic exploration of music’s greatest hits of the past 60 years — it’s also a thoughtful retrospective on how popular cocktails became a part of American culture.
“We did a lot of listening to music and making drinks while writing our last book [‘The New Cocktail Hour’],” Andre says. “We started to notice that there was a really good synergy between cocktail stories and music history.”
The authors will help bring these stories to life at a “Booze and Vinyl” listening party — which will have cocktails, of course — at the Smithsonian Castle on Monday.
Each of the 70 records featured in the book is matched up with an “A-side” and a “B-side” cocktail. In finalizing their list, the siblings wanted a diverse group of albums that are easily available for readers to buy and could also evoke interesting drink stories. The mood and imagery of the music were key drivers for their cocktail selections.
“We wanted this to be a really accessible cocktail book,” Andre says. “We used a lot of well-known two- or three-ingredient cocktails.”
Take Michael Jackson’s “Thriller,” which is paired with a Moon Walk cocktail. Andre says the drink was created by a bartender in the 1960s to commemorate the Apollo 11 moon landing. The Rolling Stones’ 1971 classic “Sticky Fingers” is matched up with a Tequila Sunrise. According to Andre, the choice is a nod to Keith Richards describing the band’s 1972 concerts as “the cocaine and Tequila Sunrise tour.”
While “Booze and Vinyl” does a thorough job examining popular albums, we wondered what drinks Andre would pair with records by notable D.C. area musicians. We put his music (and cocktail) knowledge to the test.
Album: “Money Jungle" (1963)
Artist: Duke Ellington
“I immediately thought of the Millionaire cocktail,” Darlington says. “The Millionaire is a drink where there are a lot of recipes for it. I usually have it with bourbon or rye, and you can make it with gin. But it was popular in the Jazz Age during Prohibition. It feels like a jazzy cocktail and it has the money connection, so it seems like the perfect choice.”
Album: “Red Medicine” (1995)
“Fugazi was straight-edge — they probably didn’t drink,” he says. “As an F-you to them, I could do a Sazerac, which is a drink that contains a very high alcohol content. This feels appropriate — I’ve been to a couple Fugazi shows, and they were amazing, but we definitely drank at those shows even though the band was straight-edge.”
Album: “Bustin’ Loose” (1979)
Artist: Chuck Brown & the Soul Searchers
Cocktail: Pina colada or Pink Squirrel
“It is such a late-’70s soul album,” Darlington says. “I would drink a pina colada or a Pink Squirrel, which was huge in the late ’70s. It was like a milkshake but with booze in it. I know a pina colada sounds like something that should be for a Caribbean album, but I’m thinking of it for the smoothness of the record. I’m going for texture!”
Album: “Live at the Cellar Door” (1975)
Artist: The Seldom Scene
Cocktail: Moonshine julep
“I would probably do a moonshine julep,” he says. “It’s just a mint julep, which normally uses bourbon, but you use white dog instead. That’s what I would drink for a bluegrass album.” While his choice might seem like an easy answer, Darlington makes no apologies: “ I don’t know if it’s too obvious. But sometimes obvious is good.”
Album: “For Your Own Special Sweetheart” (1994)
Cocktail: “I thought of a Long Island Iced Tea since that album is from 1994,” Darlington says, reminiscing about his time going to punk shows. “Back then, you could go into these punk rock bars and there was always Long Island Iced Teas. I used to drink so many of them when I was younger — they had a two-for-one deal and you would get totally destroyed.”