Although he didn’t actually say, “Write drunk. Edit sober,” serious academic research suggests that Hemingway might’ve been a proponent of alcohol. (The Sun Also Rises isn’t exactly a 200-page drunk-fest, but close enough.) When asked about downing martinis before writing, Hemingway responded:
“Jeezus Christ! Have you ever heard of anyone who drank while he worked? You’re thinking of Faulkner. He does sometimes — and I can tell right in the middle of a page when he’s had his first one. Besides, who in hell would mix more than one martini at a time, anyway?”
When he wasn’t working, he got tipsy in Havana, the birthplace of the mojito, but actually preferred dry martinis, just like Frederic in A Farewell to Arms, who said, “I had never tasted anything so cool and clean. They made me feel civilized.”
With so many beverages attached to his name (including the absinthe and Brut combo, “Death in the Afternoon”), how does one properly celebrate à la Hemingway? A page from The Hemingway Cookbook — a collection of recipes collected and inspired by the author — might come in handy.
When he was a young and ambitious expat in Paris, Hemingway visited Gertrude Stein and her lover, Alice B. Toklas, to discuss writing, eat and drink. In A Moveable Feast he wrote, “It was warm and comfortable and they gave you good things to eat and tea and natural distilled liqueurs …” One such liqueur, made from black currants, was turned into a recipe that appears in The Hemingway Cookbook and the Alice B. Toklas Cookbook. The full recipe, which can be found here, calls for:
1/2 pound raspberries
3 pounds black currants
1 cup black currant leaves
1 quart vodka, or solution up to 90% alcohol
3 pounds sugar
3 cups water
It can be served alone, or as part of a white wine cocktail such as Kir, which is typically served as an aperitif. Bottoms up!