On Friday, December 14 Philip Greene presented a 90-minute seminar in support of his recently-published book, To Have and Have Another – A Hemingway Cocktail Companion. This sold-out event covered the life and times of the great novelist Ernest Hemingway, focusing especially on the drinks that populated his life, prose, and letters. Additionally, the attendees all made their own drinks, shaking their own Jack Rose and Hemingway Daiquiri, stirring their own Montgomery Martini, and building their own Americano.
E. Henmiway Special (circa 1937)
2 oz white rum
1 teaspoon grapefruit juice
1 teaspoon maraschino liqueur
½ oz fresh lime juice
“Frappe” (chip or crush) some ice, add to shaker, then add remaining ingredients. Shake well, then pour contents of shaker into a chilled cocktail glass.
Blend well with ice. Serve in a large chilled goblet.
Suggested reading: Islands in the Stream
But on this night Thomas Hudson had been ashore about four days when he got really drunk. It had started at noon at the Floridita and he had drunk first with Cuban politicians that had dropped in, nervous for a quick one; with sugar planters and rice planters; with Cuban government functionaries, drinking through their lunch hour; with second and third secretaries of Embassy, shepherding someone to the Floridita; with the inescapable FBI men, pleasant and all trying to look so average, clean-cut-young-American that they stood out as clearly as though they had work a bureau shoulder patch on their white linen or seersucker suits. He had drunk double frozen daiquiris, the great ones that Constante made, that had no taste of alcohol and felt, as you drank them, the way downhill glacier skiing feels running through powder snow and, after the sixth and eighth, felt like downhill glacier skiing feels when you are running unroped. Some Navy that he knew came in and he drank with them and then with some of the then-called Hooligan Navy or Coast Guard. This was getting too near to shop, which he was drinking away from, so he went down to the far end of the bar where the old respectable whores were, the fine old whores that every resident drinker at the Floridita had slept with sometime in the last twenty years, and sat on a stool with and had a club sandwich and drank more double frozens.
Two recipes from which to choose:
2 oz AppleJack Brandy (such as Laird’s, or Calvados if splurging)
½ oz fresh lime or lemon juice
¼ oz Grenadine (preferably genuine pomegranate)
Shake well with ice, strain into chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with twist of lime or lemon peel.
Harry MacElhone’s 1920s Paris recipe:
1 ½ oz Applejack or Calvados
¾ oz dry gin
¾ oz orange juice
¾ oz fresh lemon or lime juice
1/3 oz French vermouth
1/3 oz Italian vermouth
Grenadine to colour (about 1/3 oz)
Shake well with ice, strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with twist of lime or lemon peel. Recipe adapted from Barflies and Cocktails, 1927 edition
“At five o’clock I was in the Hotel Crillon, waiting for Brett. She was not there, so I sat down and wrote some letters. They were not very good letters but I hoped their being on Crillon stationery would help them. Brett did not turn up, so about quarter to six I went down to the bar and had a Jack Rose with George the barman. Brett had not been in the bar either, and so I looked for her up-stairs on my way out, and took a taxi to the Café Select. crossing the Seine I saw a string of barges being towed empty down the current, riding high, the bargemen at the sweeps as they came towards the bridge. The river looked nice. It was always pleasant crossing bridges in Paris.” The Sun Also Rises
From a letter Hemingway wrote in 1949, use “[j]ust enough vermouth to cover the bottom of the glass, ounce 3/4 of gin, and the Spanish cocktail onions very crisp and also 15 degrees below zero when they go in the glass.”[i] Translated:
1 ¾ oz dry London style gin (Hemingway preferred 94 proof Gordon’s)
1/8 oz French dry vermouth (Noilly Prat)
Stir well in a mixing glass with plenty of ice, strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a couple of frozen Spanish cocktail onions, or a chilled garlic onion. In Cuba, Hemingway sometimes garnished his Martini with thinly sliced onion.
Note: the 94 proof Gordon’s Gin that Hemingway favored is no longer available in the U.S., however, Tanqueray is similar in style and flavor.
The Grand-Hotel and des Iles Borromees was open and several small hotels that stayed open all the year. I started in the rain for the Iles Borromees carrying my bag. I saw a carriage coming down the street and signaled to the driver. It was better to arrive in a carriage. We drove up to the carriage entrance of the big hotel and the concierge came out with an umbrella and was very polite.
I took a good room. It was very big and light and looked out onto the lake. . . . The hotel was very luxurious. I went down the long halls, down the wide stairs, through the rooms to the bar. I knew the barman and sat on a high stool and ate salted almonds and potato chips. The martini felt cool and clean.
The sandwiches came and I ate three and drank a couple more martinis. I had never tasted anything so cool and clean. They made me feel civilized. I had had too much red wine, bread, cheese, bad coffee and grappa. I sat on the high stool before the pleasant mahogany, the brass and the mirrors and did not think at all. The barman asked me some question. “Don’t talk about the war,” I said. The war was a long way away. Maybe there wasn’t any war. There was no war here. Then I realized it was over for me. But I did not have the feeling that it was really over. I had the feeling of a boy who thinks of what is happening at a certain hour at the schoolhouse from which he has played truant. A Farewell to Arms
1 oz Campari
1 oz Italian (Sweet) Vermouth
1-2 oz seltzer water (to taste)
Add all ingredients to a rocks or highball glass filled with ice. Stir. Garnish with an orange wedge or a lemon twist. Enjoy.
To mix it up a little, here’s an excerpt from another author’s prose, that of Ian Fleming. Fleming saw fit to feature the Americano in at least two James Bond stories, this time, From a View to a Kill:
James Bond had his first drink of the evening at Fouquet’s. It was not a solid drink. One cannot drink seriously in French cafés. Out of doors on a pavement in the sun is no place for vodka or whisky or gin. A fine a l’eau is fairly serious, but it intoxicates without tasting very good. A quart de champagne or a champagne à l’orange is all right before luncheon, but in the evening one quart leads to another quart and a bottle of indifferent champagne is a bad foundation for the night. Pernod is possible, but it should be drunk in company, and anyway Bond had never liked the stuff because its liquorice [sic] taste reminded him of his childhood. No, in cafés you have to drink the least offensive of the musical comedy drinks that go with them, and Bond always had the same thing–an Americano–Bitter Campari, Cinzano, a large slice of lemon peel and soda. For the soda he always specified Perrier, for in his opinion expensive soda water was the cheapest way to improve a poor drink.