Category Archives: LITERARY DRINKERS

Remembering Hemingway

Yesterday was Hemingway’s birthday, and we celebrated it appropriately at the bar where I work:

  

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Filed under ABSINTHE, ANNIVERSARIES, AUTHORS, BIRTHDAYS, CHAMPAGNE, LITERARY DRINKERS

The Dash Hammett Cocktail

Yesterday, I wrote a post about Dashiell Hammett’s birthday.

Today’s post is just a quick photo post of the cocktail I made:

 
About This Cocktail

The Dash Hammett is a smoky martini I read about in Mark Kingwell’s book called Classic Cocktails: A Modern Shake. It doesn’t specify brands or have any exotic ingredients, or even really all that many ingredients.

Ingredients

  • 6 parts gin
  • 1 part dry vermouth
  • 1 teaspoon smoky scotch
  • Lemon twist for garnish

Preparation

Shake all ingredients over ice and strain into a chilled martini glass, or first rinse the glass with scotch — not shaking it with the gin and dry vermouth. Garnish with a lemon twist, expressing the oils over the drink and around the rim of the glass.

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Filed under BIRTHDAYS, GIN, HISTORY, LITERARY DRINKERS, PHOTO POST, SCOTCH

Happy Birthday, Dashiell Hammett!

Ever want to drink like all the hard-boiled detectives and rogues depicted in classic pulp and noir stories?

Well, today is a perfect day for doing just that. Today is Dashiell Hammett’s birthday. He was born May 27, 1894.

There’s no official “Dashiell Hammett” cocktail that I know of, but the writer contributed more than a few things to drinking culture throughout the years.

His characters Nick and Nora appear in a series of mvoies, though Hammett wrote only one Thin Man novel. And then, of course, there is the Nick and Nora glass itself! 

Plus, Dashiell also gave us Sam Spade in The Maltese Falcon and Ed Beaumont in The Glass Key, among many others.

Want to kill a few minutes? Click this link for a montage of booze-related scenes from the Nick and Nora movies.

The montage kicks off with Nick Charles instructing a group of guys on how to appropriately shake different drinks:

“The important thing is the rhythm. Always have rhythm in your shaking. A Manhattan you shake to foxtrot, a Bronx to two-step time. A Dry Martini you always shake to waltz time.”

The scene where Nick marks time with the cocktail shaker isn’t in the original  novel,  but it is a part of Nick and Nora’s larger cinematic world — which will now be forever entwined with Hammett in general.

As I wrote earlier, there’s no official “Dasheill Hammett” cocktail that I know of, but in the book Classic Cocktails: A Modern Shake by Mark Kingwell, the last chapter (entitled “Spygames”) does conclude the book with a drink the writer dubs the “Dash Hammett.”

Kingwell writes the following passage about the drink:

In a final tribute, then, to an American original who appreciated a cocktail — if ultimately rather too many of them for his own good, a worthwhile note of caution here at the end — let’s stipulate a name change. There is no Spade, Hammett, or Thin Man cocktail that we know of. There is, however, an excellent drink that combines gin and scotch, the two favourite quaffs of the Hammett hard-men. We mean the so-called Smoky Martini. That’s six parts gin, one part dry vermouth, and a teaspoon of scotch, shaken with cracked ice and strained  into a chilled cocktail glass, lemon twist to garnish. (You can also dilute the scotch by washinbg it around the glass and discarding, rather than mixing in: the Scotch Wash.) 

It may never catch on with the rest of the world, but this drink will always be, for us, better known as the Dash Hammett.

About This Cocktail

The Dash Hammett is a smoky martini I read about in Mark Kingwell’s book called Classic Cocktails: A Modern Shake. It doesn’t specify brands or have any exotic ingredients, or even really all that many ingredients.

Ingredients

  • 6 parts gin
  • 1 part dry vermouth
  • 1 teaspoon smoky scotch
  • Lemon twist for garnish

Preparation

Shake all ingredients over ice and strain into a chilled martini glass, or first rinse the glass with scotch — not shaking it with the gin and dry vermouth. Garnish with a lemon twist, expressing the oils over the drink and around the rim of the glass.

Further Reading:

— Here’s a write-up about Hammett and San Francisco Noir.

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Filed under BIRTHDAYS, COCKTAIL CALENDAR, COCKTAIL HISTORY, COCKTAIL RECIPES, GIN, HISTORY, LITERARY DRINKERS, OLD HOLLYWOOD, SCOTCH, Uncategorized

Cheers, Old Sport — ‘The Great Gatsby’ Turns 90 Today

Today marks the 90th anniversary of The Great Gatsby‘s first publishing.

It surely needn’t be said, but The Great Gatsby was written by author F. Scott Fitzgerald — and even though it wasn’t all that popular at the time of its publishing, it’s now now regarded as more than just a literary classic. It’s a contender for the title of “Great American Novel.”

Before sex and drugs and rock ‘n’ roll there was sex and booze and raucous jazz parties. 

Of course, the novel’s not all champagne and swanky parties. Its themes of friction between social classes and one’s attempt at re-making himself a la “The American Dream” make sure it endures. There are extramarital affairs and characters pining for others who are married and gluttonous excess and, eventually, murder.

But intermingled with all that are the drinks!

As much a reflection of the times as Fitzgerald himself, booze flows throughout The Great Gatsby. Cocktail history oozes from the book, even when Fitzgerald isn’t specifically talking about a drink or drinking. Take for instance the Seelbach cocktail, named for the Seelbach Hotel. No one actually drinks it in the book and it’s never mentioned, but Fitzgerald’s characters Tom and Daisy Buchanon had their wedding there.

I’ve written about the Seelbach cocktail before. Click here for that post.

The book does mention two drinks by name though, the Gin Rickey and the Mint Julep:

Gin Rickey:

Before there was a “Gin Rickey” or a “Lime Rickey,” there was just simply: “The Rickey.”

The Rickey was created in the 1880s in Washington, DC by a bartender and a Democratic politician named Colonel Joe Rickey.

This first Rickey was whiskey-based (bourbon/rye). The gin version didn’t catch on for another decade, but became a prohibition staple.

The drink is mentioned in Chapter 7 of The Great Gatsby

With a reluctant backward glance the well-disciplined child held to her nurse’s hand and was pulled out the door, just as Tom came back, preceding four gin rickeys that clicked full of ice
Gatsby took up his drink.
“They certainly look cool,” he said, with visible tension.
We drank in long, greedy swallows.

This story in The Telegraph from 2013 has more info, not just about the Gin Rickey but about the Mint Julep and other drinks of the era — and writes about the same Gin Rickey scene that I posted above:

“The drink appears in a scene set on a boiling summer’s day, when Daisy orders her husband Tom to ‘make us a cold drink’ — using his absence to murmur to Gatsby of her love for him.”

Mint julep 

Kentucky Derby day is fast approaching and soon the Mint Julep will be on the forefront of everyone’s mind.

The drink is also mentioned in Chapter 7 of The Great Gatsby, and in tandem with Gatsby getting called out on his “Old Sport” saying no less!

“All this ‘old sport’ business. Where’d you pick that up?”
“Now see here, Tom,” said Daisy, turning around from the mirror, “if you’re going to make personal remarks I won’t stay here a minute. Call up and order some ice for the mint julep.”

Another Item Of Note:

As someone who works in the industry, I do so appreciate that Nick Carraway takes the time to remark upon the prep work that goes into getting ready for cocktail service:

Every Friday five crates of oranges and lemons arrived from a fruiterer in New York—every Monday these same oranges and lemons left his back door in a pyramid of pulpless halves. There was a machine in the kitchen which could extract the juice of two hundred oranges in half an hour if a little button was pressed two hundred times by a butler’s thumb.

Thirsty For More?

— Here’s the full 2013 article by The Telegraph (which I cribbed from earlier in this post about Gatsby‘s gin rickeys and mint juleps).

— This link goes to a blog post from 2012 which has beverage recommendations based on specific excerpts of The Great Gatsby.

—If that’s not enough, you can drink along with the 2013 movie. There are plenty of game rules online, just click herehere or here.

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Happy Birthday, Hemingway!

Today is Ernest Hemingway’s birthday.

Talk of the man tends to go hand-in-hand with talk of cocktails and libations.

There have been a great number of articles and cocktail lists written regarding Hemingway in the last few years, due in part to the publication of Philip Greene’s book “To Have And Have Another.”

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I’m not an expert on Hemingway, but I am more than passingly familiar with some of the drinks that get associated with his name:

Cocktails associated with Hemingway:
•Daiquiri
•Death In The Afternoon
•Dripped Absinthe
•Dry Martini
•Jack Rose

I’ve written about Death in the Afternoon before! Click the link and check out the cocktail in all it’s glory:
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Hemingway’s recipe for the drink:

“Pour 1 jigger of absinthe into a champagne glass. Add iced champagne until it attains the proper opalescent milkiness. Drink three to five of these slowly.”

As I said earlier, I’m not a Hemingway expert, but today’s a perfect day for learning a little about the man and all the cocktails he’s associated with.

Below you’ll find resources with info about absinthe and daiquiris and details debunking Hemingway mojito and Bloody Mary lore.

Links worth reading::
•A Liquor.com piece from 2013.
•A Food Republic piece from 2012.
•The Wondrich write-up on “Death in the Afternoon.”

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