Friday, June 10, 2011

Exhibit #67: Literacy & Likker

Charles Dickens' Brandy & Rum Punch $6
Old Jamaica rum, cognac, lemon peels and juice, water, and sugar. Last December we served this hot, but it is equally delicious cold, as we will serve it tonight. Though the list of ingredients is fairly simple, the careful preparation of the punch - including setting the whole thing on fire - and well-tweaked proportions produce a drink that is not only robust in strength and depth of flavor, but smooth and refreshing as well. Certainly many authors have a reputation in regards to their drinking habits, but Dickens, unlike many who followed him, had a real talent for preparing and creating punches - as opposed to simply drinking them. Hidden among his works and letters there is no shortage of top-shelf drink receipts, not to mention much practical advice regarding the art of punch-making.

A Farewell to Hemingway $10
A double shot of kirschwasser (dry cherry eau-de-vie from the Black Forest), plenty of lime juice, a little raspberry syrup, and club soda, tall and on the rocks. From Charles Baker's Jigger, Beaker, and Flask: "...being a sort of Kirsch Collins we invented on the night we saw Hemingway and bullfighter Sidney Franklin off on the plane for New York, and Loyalist Spain. There is no reason to this drink. It just happened because Ernest prefers kirschwasser, and it was a muggy, half-breathless sort of night."

Death in the Afternoon $13
A full measure of absinthe topped with champagne. This drink was Hemingway's notorious contribution to a small book of writers' drink recipes called So Red the Nose, or Breath in the Afternoon published in 1935: "This was arrived at by the author and three officers of the H.M.S. Danae after having spent seven hours overboard trying to get Capt. Bra Saunders' fishing boat off a bank where she had gone with us in a NW gale. Drink three to five of these slowly."

Gin Rickey $6.50
Plymouth gin, lime juice and club soda, on the rocks and tall. This drink was the favorite of F. Scott Fitzgerald, who preferred gin because he somehow had the impression that others could not smell it on him. The Rickey is an old drink, created by Missourian (Keokuk, MO), Confederate veteran and Democratic lobbyist "Colonel" Joe Rickey and was *the* fad drink of the later 19th century. Although originally made with rye whiskey, it was the gin incarnation that took flight.

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