Ernest Hemingway was never shy of a drink.
The difference between Ernest and your mate is that Ernest still sounded pretty damn intelligent after knocking back a few toots.
Hemingway would have turned 119 this year, and chances are you’ve seen somebody share a quote of his on Facebook about drinking wine. After all, he did say, “Wine is a grand thing. It makes you forget all the bad”, and who doesn’t want to forget the bad?
Over the years, many drinks have been named after the famous author, but some are trading on his name without much credence. The folks at Supercall did some digging around to find out what his actual favourite cocktails were, so maybe these will help you channel your inner wordsmith.
First up, the Daiquiri:
Sure, the Hemingway Daiquiri bears the writer’s name, but he fell in love with the original Daiquiri at El Floridita that was made to his manly man specifications. He would down glass after glass of his preferred twist, which came with double the usual rum and no sugar (so, cold rum with a little lime).
If the infamous story of the time he drank 17 in one sitting is any evidence, he definitely liked them.
Hemingway also described his love for the drink, including his garnish of choice—Spanish cocktail onions, served extremely chilled, like the ice and drinkware. That onion technically makes Hemingway’s go-to preparation a Gibson.
The White Lady:
According to Philip Greene’s To Have and Have Another: A Hemingway Cocktail Companion, Hemingway sometimes forewent the machismo-laden drinks for an elegant cocktail with a touch less bravado, like the White Lady. No slouch itself, this cocktail of gin, Cointreau and lemon juice would have satisfied Hemingway’s desire for a dry citrusy drink, not too far off from his beloved Daiquiri.
Consume more than two White Lady cocktails and there’s an 85% chance you’ll ask to speak to the manager.
The Bloody Mary:
As in all his drinking moments, Hemingway went big on Bloodies. In his recipe for a Bloody Mary, he called any amount less than a pitcher “worthless.” He preferred his with quality Russian vodka, chilled tomato juice, Worcestershire (or steak sauce), lime juice, celery salt, cayenne pepper and black pepper.
As for mixing instructions, he suggested stirring it all in a pitcher, and “if you get it too powerful, weaken with more tomato juice. If it lacks authority add more vodka.”
Better yet, buy tomato juice that is already perfectly spiced every time. You’re free to drink it out of a pitcher – no judgement here.
Hemingway was a big fan of Champagne in all forms. He once told Lillian Ross, “If I have any money, I can’t think of any better way of spending money than on Champagne.” He was also a big fan of doctoring the bubbly wine, like in a cocktail he invented called Death in the Afternoon in So Red the Nose, or Breath in the Afternoon.
Topping Champagne with a shot of absinthe is an herbal, bitter addition that fits with Hemingway’s stoic style. So if you ever want to feel like Hemingway, this is the perfect place to start.
Bonus – you also get a cracking hangover. Apparently.
To finish, the simple Scotch and Soda:
Another revelation of Greene’s companion to Hemingway’s boozy antics is that the writer preferred a simple Scotch and Soda over all other drinks. Of all cocktails, it appears the most often in his prose, especially in “The Snows of Kilimanjaro.”
The two-ingredient drink is as straightforward and honest as Hemingway’s writing style, and it’s the quickest way to unwind after a long day over a hot typewriter.
Just be sure that you’re using quality mixers, because Hemingway is a man who understood the difference between good and exceptional.
I leave you with this, from the man himself: “I drink to make other people more interesting.”
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