“Imitation is not the sincerest form of flattery, it is the sincerest form of learning.”
So said George Bernard Shaw. To that end I feel it is only right, indeed I feel it is necessary, to imitate our most venerated literary idols in whatever small way we can.
We cannot all afford to live in Paris or New York, hoping to breathe in the inspiration our favorite authors did. But we can pop to the liquor store, and imagine for an hour or so that we have just finished a potentially Nobel prize winning manuscript.
Here are 5 of the best cocktails with literary connections:
1. Ernest Hemingway – Papa Doble (Daiquiri)
An author who famously drank like a fish, but swore he never wrote a word while under the influence. His Cuban days offer the most refreshing of his many favorite cocktails including the infamous Papa Doble, made by Constante, the barman at El Floriidita. He reportedly averaged 12 per sitting! I recommend slightly more moderation.
Find the original recipe below, ingredients in italics for those who prefer a sweeter taste.
3 ½ oz. Good White Rum
1 oz. Freshly Squeezed Lime Juice
1 oz. Freshly Squeezed Grapefruit Juice
¾ oz. Maraschino Liqueur
½ oz. Sugar Syrup
Shake very well over ice and strain into a chilled martini glass.
2. Patricia Highsmith – Gin Martini
The author of Strangers on a Train and The Talented Mr. Ripley wrote, while she was a student, that alcohol was necessary to “see the truth, the simplicity, and the primitive emotions once more.“ She was a prolific and fantastic writer, who fueled herself with gin. Although she rationed out her alcohol very strictly in an effort to control the addiction, her true feelings about her reliance on the stuff is obviously reflected in her most well known character, Tom Ripley.
The Perfect Martini
4 oz. Gin (Tanqueray)
1 oz. Dry Vermouth
Fill a shaker with ice, pour in Vermouth. Stir briefly and strain out Vermouth. Add the Gin, stir vigorously for 10 seconds. Strain in to a chilled martini glass. Garnish with 1 olive.
3. William Faulkner – Mint Julep
A minority insist that Faulkner also never wrote while drunk. However, it is more likely that he never wrote sober (one cause of the pre hip-hop style beef between Hemingway and Faulkner). He was known to stay up all night writing and drinking his liquor of choice, “I usually write at night. I always keep my whiskey within reach; so many ideas that I can’t remember in the morning pop into my head. “
Faulkner’s cocktail of choice was the mint julep, served in his beloved metal cup. Below is his personal recipe, which is still on display at his house in Oxford, Mississippi.
3 oz. Bourbon
2 Sprigs of Mint
1 tsp Sugar
The key is to dissolve the sugar in a little club soda before adding the other ingredients. Muddle and serve over ice.
4. Charles Bukowski – Boilermaker
An ordinary, working man’s kind of cocktail is so appropriate for a man who was from and for the poor and down-trodden. He was once described as the “laureate of the American lowlife.” There is very little to say about his life and work that is not immediately a mood killer, so I will just leave it with a quote and a recipe for an uncomplicated, but delicious winter cocktail.
“That’s the problem with drinking, I thought, as I poured myself a drink. If something bad happens you drink in an attempt to forget; if something good happens you drink in order to celebrate; and if nothing happens you drink to make something happen.”
1 pint of beer
1 shot of whiskey
Drop shot glass into beer glass and drink.
5. Dorothy Parker – Millionaire
Almost as famous for her drinking as she was for the many witty barbs often attributed to her, Dorothy Parker’s actual literary achievements often find themselves in the back seat. She was a poet, a critic, and a screenwriter. Nevertheless, the legend of Dorothy Parker often revolves around the following verse (possibly written by her)
“I love a martini,
But two at the most,
Three I’m under the table,
Four, I’m under the host.”
Find many more Parker inspired recipes in the book, Under the Table : A Dorothy Parker Cocktail Guide
2 oz. bourbon
¾ oz. Grand Marnier
¼ oz. pastis,
½ oz. grenadine
½ oz. lemon juice
1 egg white
Shake vigorously over ice and strain into a chilled martini glass, garnish with nutmeg.
Who did we miss? Leave your favorite literary cocktails below!
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Featured image via all-that-is-interesting