Big Little Lies: “Perry’s Surprise”

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty was the perfect read for this time of year for me;  I have a kindergartener heading to school for the first time. I am learning how to navigate schoolwork and mom cliques; I also love a good mystery.  This book was well written and had some great surprises.

The story focuses on three women, Madeline, Celeste and Jane.  The ladies all have little ones starting kindergarten together and they all end up getting wrapped up in schoolyard politics, marriage issues and growing pains. However, underlying these plot points is the fact that the book is framed in a murder investigation. We know that someone has been killed but we don’t know who or why; Moriarty does a great job at keeping the reader invested and guessing until the end.

This book kept me enthralled from beginning to end not just with the whodunit aspect, but also because of the incredibly relatable characters. I could identify with Jane when she freaked out from having to complete her kid’s assignment the night before it is due; I could identify with Celeste in how she attempted to keep up the illusion of a perfect life, and I could identify with Madeline’s struggle with getting older.  I enjoyed this book as a good read but I also enjoyed it as a woman, wife and mother of small children.

This novel does not have a huge amount of food in it but there is a fair amount of booze; I have chosen to write about the drinks mentioned in the story. The first drink mentioned is the “Perry Surprise”. The second drink, “Not on a School Night” will be featured in a second post later on!

“”Mummy gets a rest tonight,” Perry told the boys earlier, and he’s done the whole bath, teeth, story routine on his own, while she sat on the couch, reading her book and drinking a Perry Surprise. It was a cocktail he’d invented years ago.  It tasted of chocolate and cream and strawberries and cinnamon, and every woman he ever prepared it for went crazy over it.  “I’ll give you my children in return for that recipe,” Madeline had once told Perry.” -Liane Moriarty

This drink is significant for a few reasons, the first being the ingredients. The drink  is comprised of a few different elements but nothing definitive. It tastes like a few different ingredients but we don’t know how much of exactly what they are. Chocolate. Chocolate liquer? Chocolate syrup? We don’t know. Just like in the story we know that someone has been murdered but we don’t know why or how or even who it is.

The name of this drink is also significant. Perry is a main character in the story and he does surprise us a couple different times. I don’t want to go into further detail for those of you that haven’t read the novel but I will say that like the drink is comprised of several different flavors; there are several different sides to Perry as well.

So, for this drink all I had to go on was the description of the flavors. I discussed the flavor combination with a friend of mine that happens to  work in the liquor industry. He suggested the liquors I used to give me a proper flavor mix and a good texture (not too thick or syrupy). A strawberry vodka for the strawberry flavor, chocolate liqueur for the chocolate flavor, and then a wonderful bit of booze called Rumchata which tastes like cream and cinnamon; I had the bases covered. Now, with any alcoholic drink you should mix the flavors to your own preferences but I included my specific recipe below. Overall, I was very happy with the results of this drink and the blend of the four flavors.

Perry Surprise

1.5 oz. Strawberry Flavored Vodka

1 oz. Rumchata

1 oz. Chocolate Liqueur

  1. Mix over ice, strain into martini glass. (I like to do a chocolate rim with this)




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