If your favorite author was a drink, this is what he’d be
These drinks are notably associated with some of the best pens of fiction
Dec 31, 2017
Drinking and Dreaming
Orange juice with vodka was Truman Capote’s favorite drink. “My orange drink,” as he liked to call it, is the perfect cocktail to be paired with a flakey croissant and a side of New York dreams. Capote’s Breakfast at Tiffany’s is remembered through the iconic Audrey Hepburn as Holly Golightly in the 1961 movie adaptation of the novel. The film opens with a dressed-up Holly walking towards Tiffany’s display window on Fifth Avenue. She takes out a piece of bread and a cup of coffee, and looks through the window. The story unravels. A masterpiece told in flashback, Capote captured the spirit of the city of dreams. Because in New York, you can become anything.
The Secret Drunk
Gin is usually associated with Jay Gatsby, the tragic character in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s 1925 classic The Great Gatsby. The drink (called the gin rickey in the novel) appears in chapter seven—in a tense setting where Jay and his love interest Daisy secretly flirt as they wait for Daisy’s husband to return with “four gin rickeys that clicked full of ice.” It’s only apt that it appears in one of Fitzgerald’s well-received novels. With a fetish for merrymaking, Fitzgerald preferred this same drink at parties he often attended. It’s because gin could not be detected in the breath. But with how people drank in the roaring ’20s, his party behavior would have revealed the truth.
The Careful Drinker
Ernest Hemingway has a reputation to be quite the drinker. The truth is that he wouldn’t mix more than one drink at a time. His characters often imbibed the same cocktail he favored. But the martini was his go-to drink and, according to hearsay, each one he imbibed seemed drier than the last. One could only imagine Hemingway musing as Lieutenant Frederic Henry did in Farewell to Arms: “I had never tasted anything so cool and clean.”
Little could be said about Sylvia Plath’s drinking habits. She did love a little sherry, as revealed in her unabridged journals. But it was vodka that many associate with the writer. In her novel The Bell Jar, 19-year-old Esther Greenwood lands an internship for a magazine in New York. In the course of her experience, she breaks down and tries to recover. Is dear Sylvia disguising herself as Esther in the story? In one chapter, Esther joins her friend and some guys in a bar. Inexperienced, she orders a vodka. “Just plain. I always have it plain,” she adds. Vodka has become a popular coming-of-age drink that didn’t taste like anything but assured to make one feel “powerful and godlike” as Esther would say. Perhaps it’s the kind of confidence potion the young ones think they need at that age.
You Only Live Once
“Don’t drink to get drunk; drink to enjoy life,” said Jack Kerouac. Although Kerouac wasn’t so particular with his alcohol, he did have a certain fondness for the margarita—a preference he picked up on one of his many trips through Mexico. In On The Road, Kerouac narrates the friendship of Dean Moriarty and Sal Paradise in an array of restless journeys all the way form New York City to Denver, New Orleans, and, of course, to his beloved Mexico. To drink like Kerouac, one must always be in the company of friends. A little tequila could spark up a conversation for the mad ones, the ones, as Kerouac phrased in his novel, “mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved … the ones that never yawn or say a commonplace thing…”
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