Thursday, November 1, 2012

Hemingway, the Drinkingest of All Writers

Last May, I attended a seminar called "Do Not Resuscitate." The subject was classic cocktails that did NOT deserve to be revived. Among those that took a beating at the hands of the historians on the panel was the Papa Doble, better known at the Hemingway Daiquiri, a drink of great strength and little compensating sweetness. According to a couple of the speakers, when it came to mixing drinks, the sugar-averse Hemingway "always got it wrong."

Well, maybe those panelists didn't try every drink Hemingway advocated. For he liked a lot of different liquids. In his breezy new book, "To Have and Have Another" (great title!), Philip Greene takes a look at every one of them. The ones Papa drank, and the ones his characters drank (which were almost always also one that Papa drank). That's more than fifty separate libations. Take a look:
How to Drink Like Hemingway
Even a casual student of the novelist Ernest Hemingway knows the man liked to drink. But a quick skimming of Philip Greene’s new book, “To Have and Have Another: A Hemingway Cocktail Companion,” reveals exactly how much the man enjoyed his cups.
Each chapter of the book, due out in November, is dedicated to a libation that either Hemingway or one of his characters (or both) tipped back. There are more than 50 chapters, and the drinks are listed alphabetically; you reach Page 70 before you get past A, B and C.
“I don’t know if there’s enough critical mass for a Faulkner or Fitzgerald book,” Mr. Greene said. “I think I could put together an anthology of other authors combined. But I don’t know if there’s another writer with that wide a palate.”
Mr. Greene’s interest in the Hemingway began as a teenager, when he read the short story “Big Two-Hearted River.” It first occurred to him to make a drink from one of the author’s books in 1989, when he was visiting in-laws in Florida who had a lime tree and a coconut palm tree in their yard. He took the ingredients on hand and made a Papa invention called a Green Isaac’s Special, which appears in the pages of “Islands in the Stream.” (The recipe is below.)
“I think my in-laws thought I was a little crazy,” Mr. Greene said.
If you’d rather make like the characters in “The Sun Also Rises,” the applejack-based Jack Rose is recommended. “A Farewell to Arms”? Champagne cocktails. “To Have and Have Not”? An Ojen Special (that is, if you can findojen, a sort of Spanish absinthe that is no longer made).
If you want to approach the thing from the opposite direction, just have a whiskey and soda. Someone drinks one in almost every book Hemingway ever wrote.
“Certainly, the protagonists drink drinks that he liked,” said Mr. Greene, whose day job is as trademark counsel to the Marine Corps. It follows that the chapters on the daiquiri and martini — Hemingway favorites — are considerably longer. (Mr. Greene also dispels the widely held belief that the sugary mojito was the author’s favorite.)
Incidentally, Hemingway would have known how to ride out a tussle like Hurricane Sandy. In the book, Mr. Greene, quoting the Hemingway biographer Carlos Baker, describes a sailing trip in Key West, Fla., that Hemingway went on with his editor, Maxwell Perkins. They were caught in a storm and had to spend several days marooned at Fort Jefferson, in the lower Keys: “First they ran out of ice, then beer, then canned goods, then coffee, then liquor, then Bermuda onions, and at last everything but fish. Ernest did not care. He said he never ate or drank better in his life.”

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