Thirsty Thursday, Literary Edition

In Food and Drink on April 12, 2012 at 6:20 pm

It’s no big secret that some of the greatest writers throughout history have also been some of the greatest imbibers of spirits (read: drunks) — and while I’m not here to suggest that talent lies at the bottom of a bottle, the fact remains: Sometimes writers just gotsta grab a drink. They’re full of angst and feeling and, well, apparently liquor, and every now and then that mixture necessitates a break with a firmly-grasped tumbler in a dimly-lit bar.

Anonymous Single Malt Scotch

Anonymous Single Malt Scotch (Photo credit: clappstar)

But writers can’t drink just anything – no! It’s got to be respectable. Classy.  Something that packs a punch but says ‘I might need my brain later; I’m a writer.’

It wouldn’t do to find Ernest Hemingway kicking back with a couple of Zima’s or a tray of Jell-O shots, so what’s a literary guy or gal to do? Well here are four drinks that will take you off-menu and into the very depths of your angsty, writerly soul:

The Sentimental Gentleman

  • 3 parts single malt scotch
  • 1 part Benedictine
  • 1 part Nux Alpina

I came across this drink at a bar in Cambridge (Massachusetts, not the other one) called Brick and Mortar. I highly recommend you check this place out for the original if you can. You’ll be feeling very sentimental indeed, and maybe you’ll finally be able to finish up that Harlequin romance novel you’ve been working on.


  • Regular vodka or gin martini
  • One half-measure of single-malt scotch

The BVI is so named because it’s the signature cocktail at the Bedford Village Inn in Bedford, New Hampshire. Their version calls for a garnish of blue cheese stuffed olives and a generous portion of olive juice, but it’s better this way, I promise.

The Padovani

  • 3 parts single-malt scotch
  • 2 or 1 part(s) St. Germain elderflower liquer 

If you’re noticing a pattern (an overabundance of scotch) there’s a reason for it: it’s a very writerly drink. It’s cruel and unforgiving like your harshest critic; it’s bracing and fortifying like your most ardent supporters; it’s — well, whatever, it’s just good. I recommend something with a lot of peat flavor for this particular drink. Try Bowmore — it’s cheap, and therefore perfect for the professional writer.

The Left Bank

  • 3 parts gin
  • 2 parts St. Germain elderflower liquer
  • 2 parts Suavignon  Blanc

You might find this on the menu here and there (specifically here and there) but it’s easy enough to remember how to make it. And best of all, when you explain it to the bartender, you might just be describing his new favorite drink.

So that’s a good start — after all, there’s only so many hours in the day, and we want to make sure you imbibe responsibly (remember that bit about still having a brain later?) — but I’m always open to trying something new. So, aside from your straight whiskeys, bourbons, mint juleps and Long Island iced teas (I’m looking at you Gatsby), what are your favorite literary drinks?


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