January 2012 | Nate Pedersen

American Authors and American Cocktails

Gimlet_cocktail.jpgNew Year's Eve has passed, and with it, the opportunity to freely imbibe before the new resolutions set in. So instead, we can soberly contemplate the long history between American writers and drinking cocktails. The good folks at Flavorwire compiled a piece last year on ten classic authors and their favorite drinks. I'd like to expand on that list here at Fine Books with a few American authors who didn't make their cut:

Raymond Carver and the Bloody Mary

Carver was for many years a hard drinker and the story goes that the Bloody Mary was his favorite cocktail because he was hungover so often.

Raymond Chandler and the Gimlet

Chandler picked up a taste for gimlets while in London and almost single-handedly popularized the cocktail in America. In a famous scene in The Long Goodbye, Terry Lennox describes the perfect gimlet recipe as "half gin and half Rose's lime juice and nothing else."
Hart Crane and the Mai Tai

Crane was a notorious drunk who once started a brawl in a Parisian bar so he would get arrested and thus avoid the bar tab. Crane's favorite liquor was rum and the Mai Tai, which combines light and dark rum with Grand Marnier, lime juice, an almond syrup, and a simple syrup, was his cocktail of choice.

Jack Kerouac and the Margarita

By most accounts, Kerouac wasn't particularly choosy about his liquor, but given the option, he'd usually select a margarita. He picked up the preference on one of his many trips through Mexico, whose culture he dearly loved. "Don't drink to get drunk; drink to enjoy life."

Jack London and the Martini

The story goes that London was so fond of his favorite bartender's martinis that he had them prepared in bulk at the bar and shipped up to his house. London favored vodka martinis and the Jack London Martini recipe that populates the web today consists of currant-flavored vodka with a touch of maraschino liqueur thrown into the mix.

Hunter S. Thompson and Wild Turkey Whiskey

Thompson, one of American literature's hardest drinkers, (and that's a tough category) famously favored Wild Turkey whiskey, straight-up and strong. He was practically a mascot for the company. The Kentucky-distilled bourbon even made its way into his most famous novel, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

Tennessee Williams and the Ramos Fizz

Folks in New Orleans still drink this famous Southern cocktail to Williams' memory. The playwright featured the creamy drink in a number of his works. The standard recipe contains egg, cream, lemon and lime juice, sugar, gin (of course), and a bit of orange flower soda water. 

Remember to check out the Flavorwire piece for Faulkner, Parker, Burroughs, Sexton, Fitzgerald, McCullers, Bukowski, and Hemingway.  So, beyond that, are we missing anyone else?