Combined Measures: Great Writers & Their Drinks
- Emma Spedding toasts six great writers with a twist on their signature drinks by Dach&Sons mixologist Jon Lister. Photography Liz Seabrook
50 ml Mezcal tequila
25 ml Triple sec
25ml freshly squeezed lime juice
Technique: 1. Run lime around the edge of the glass (at Dach&Sons they use a vanilla infused smoked salt n’pepper rim – but you can just put glass in a dish and whirl around in salt.)
2. Shake the ingredients over ice to wake up and bind the alcohol. Don’t strain it as we want to keep the Margarita rustic with bits of ice and lime.
3. Serve straight up, with a slice of lime on the side.
“Don’t drink to get drunk,
drink to enjoy life”
Kerouac is said to have developed a love of margaritas on one of his drunken travels through Mexico. One drinking legend says that in the bathrooms of the White Horse Tavern in New York there used to be a sign above the urinals which read “Kerouac go home”, a clear order to the writer to put down his signature margarita.
To drink like Kerouac, Jon Lister (Dach&Son’s resident mixologist) explains you must maintain the rustic feel of the margarita, so don’t strain the drink and use Mezcal tequila for an authentic smoky flavour. Served on a piece of slate, the combination of flavours is rustic, powerful and so very Kerouac.
The Twist: Dach&Sons have developed an unusual way of serving their margaritas, called “Smoky n’ Bandits” which is a classic margarita accompanied by cheese sprayed with whiskey on the side. They decant whiskey into vaporisers which you then spray over a small square of cheese, to be eaten before taking a sip of your traditional marg. A Dalwhinnie 15 is spritzed over mature cheddar, while Talisker is paired with blue cheese. The whiskey acts as an alcoholic chutney and the smokiness adds an extra dynamic to the classic tequila cocktail.
3 ounces white rum
Juice of 2 limes
Juice of 1/2 grapefruit
6 drops of maraschino liqueur
1. Shake the ingredients with ice and then
pour into a goblet style glass like Hemingway.
2. Serve with a slice of grapefruit.
“An intelligent man is sometimes forced
to be drunk to spend time with his fools”
How to pick just one drink for the king of the cocktail? Hemingway’s grandson believes it would have to be the mojito, which was invented at La Bodeguita del Medio in Havana Cuba where Hemingway used to drink them. A “My mojito in La Bodeguita, my daiquiri in El Flordita” sign in his own handwriting still hangs over the bar. But Jon argues you don’t get more Hemingway than a Papa Doble, also known as a Hemingway Daiquiri, which he used to knock back in El Floridita. He drank them in glasses as large as vases, and boasted that he once drank sixteen in one sitting.
In 1948 A. E. Hotchner drank daiquiris with him and wrote in the memoir, Papa Hemingway: “a Papa Doble was compounded of two and a half jiggers of Bacardi White Label Rum, the juice of two limes and half a grapefruit and six drops of maraschino.” This cocktail is a seesaw of flavours, balancing sour with sweet. But Hemingway always ordered his without sugar.
Hemingway described the texture of his cocktail with as much care as he described defeating Marlins, as he wrote the drink must appear “like the sea where the wave falls away from the bow of a ship when she is doing thirty knots.” To achieve this magical texture Hotchner wrote the ingredients were “placed in an electric mixer over shaved ice, whirled vigorously and served foaming in large goblets.”
1 egg white
Raspberry syrup or use fresh
raspberries to give it a soft, fresh lift
1 ½ ounce of gin
1. Shake over ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
2. Place fresh raspberries on the top.
“I’d rather have a bottle in front of me
than a frontal lobotomy”
Jon remarks that the Clover Club was to prohibition era Manhattan what the Cosmopolitan was to Carrie Bradshaw’s in the early 2000s – a fashionable crowd pleaser. Dorthy Parker was a hard drinker fond of straight whiskey and sours, but it’s highly likely she would have sat in one of her favourite speakeasies with this in her hand. With it’s silky texture and combination of egg white, sugar and gin it’s like an irresistible alcoholic milkshake.
But don’t let the pink froth fool you, this isn’t simply the cupcake of cocktails. It was in fact named after a Philadelphia men’s club of the same name and was described by Jack Townsend as a “distinguished patron of the oak-paneled lounge.”
It is appropriate to assign Ms Parker a gin cocktail, as last year the New York distilling company named a gin after her – the Dorothy Parker American Gin. Her fondness of the spirit is perhaps most recognised through her infamous quote: “I like to have a Martini, two at the very most; three, I’m under the table, four I’m under my host!”
The Clover Club is a drink of writers as well as Philadelphia lawyers, as Albert Stevens Crocket wrote in Old Wardorf Bar Days (1931) that: “W.B. Yeats tasted the cocktail, and smacked his lips. Another taste. His eye gleamed and his face lighted up. It was filled with a variety of flavors, and it must be tasted all the way down to the bottom of the glass”.
2 oz vodka
5 oz fresh orange juice
1 slice of fresh oranges
1. Pour into a highball glass and fill with ice cubes
and top off with slices of orange.
“In this profession it’s
a long walk between drinks”
When Truman Capote described himself in Music for Chameleons he wrote: “I’m an alcoholic. I’m a drug addict. I’m homosexual. I’m a genius.” He was a complex character with an incredibly simple taste in drinks.
The screwdriver is the American name for vodka and orange. Legend has it the name originated from American oilmen working in the Middle East who would sneak vodka in their juice boxes and stir with a screwdriver.
Truman Capote called this his special “orange drink” and if you’re looking for evidence of how this cocktail was his signature tipple, look no further than a 1975 Playgirl interview where the writer describes him “sipping his screwdriver and peering at me from behind rose-tinted glasses.” The interview is punctuated by constant reminders of Capote and his orange drink. But it turned into a million dollar libel suit between Gore Vidal and Capote, which Vidal’s biographer Fred Kaplan said was down to a probing interviewer and a glass of orange vodka in his hand.
1 oz lemon
¼ oz sugar syrup
2 oz gin
1. Shake over ice cubes, strain in a highball glass
and fill to top with soda water.
2. Add a twist of lemon to the glass.
Special thanks to Jon Lister and Dach&Sons for helping with this featureWords Emma Spedding
Photography Liz Seabrook
“Here’s to alcohol,
the rose colored glasses of life”
Fitzgerald used to introduce himself as “one of the most notorious drinkers of the younger generation” or simply “F. Scott Fitzgerald, the well-known alcoholic.” Alcoholic turmoil aside, to drink like Fitzgerald you must turn to gin.
Legend has it Scott and Zelda liked the spirit because you couldn’t detect it on their breaths. In The Great Gatsby, the novel where cocktails float, refuge from the heat was found in Gin Rickeys that clicked full of ice on Daisy Buchanens’s porch.
The Gin Fizz was a favourite in New Orleans and became so popular in the early 20th century that bars would employ extra bartenders to do all that shaking. It is accepted that Fitzgerald had an unfaltering love of gin, but what is not as certain is how much he drank. He is portrayed as a lightweight but it is not known whether this is true or pantomime. Ernest Hemingway wrote of him, “most drunkards in those days died of pneumonia, a disease which has now been almost eliminated. But it was hard to accept him as a drunkard, since he was affected by such small quantities of alcohol.”