Iconic literary cocktails to enjoy curled up by the fire

World Best Bar

Nov 23, 2022

WBB literary cocktails
Cocktails are a great reflection of an era, and if we pay close attention, we can find them in the…

Cocktails are a great reflection of an era, and if we pay close attention, we can find them in the pages of some of our favorite literary classics.

Ever wondered where the Vesper Martini came from? Or who made the Mint julep famous?

Read on for a selection of our favourites, quotes included — best savoured while reading a good book in front of a roaring fire.

Mint julep, The Great Gatsby, 1925

Gatsby’s extravagant, champagne and cocktail-filled parties might be what most people remember from this classic, but it’s when Daisy, Tom and Gatsby have an argument in a room at the Plaza Hotel on a hot afternoon that the famous mint julep makes its appearance, with Daisy telling her husband: “I’ll make you a mint julep – then you’ll seem less stupid to yourself”. Zing!

Place a handful of mint leaves (4 to 5 sprigs, leaves only) into a julep cup, collins glass or double old-fashioned glass with either 1 teaspoon sugar/ 2 sugar cubes) or 1/2 oz simple syrup. Muddle well, but gently, to release the aroma and oil of the mint. Add 2 1/2 oz bourbon whiskey, fill the glass with crushed ice and stir slowly until the glass becomes frosty — the longer the better. Garnish with a sprig of fresh mint and serve.

Jack Rose, The Sun Also Rises, 1926

Of course, Ernest Hemingway had to be part of this list. The legendary author famously never turned down a strong drink — although only “to make other people more interesting”, in his own words. Jack Barnes, the narrator in The Sun Also Rises, shares a similar inclination, and we notably see him ordering a Jack Rose at the Hotel Crillon in Paris: “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.”

Popular in the 1920s and ‘30s, the Jack Rose is made with 1 part lemon or lime juice, 1/2 part Grenadine and 2 parts Applejack, traditionally shaken into a chilled glass, garnished, and served straight up.

Vesper Martini, Casino Royale, 1953

James Bond is a man who knows what he likes. As first introduced in Casino Royale, his signature martini, a concoction of his own invention and named after the seductive Vesper Lynd, is “Three measures of Gordon’s, one of vodka, half a measure of Kina Lillet. Shake it very well until it’s ice-cold, then add a large, thin slice of lemon peel. Got it?

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Spice up your life with these toasty fall cocktails