At first I was going to put together a compendium of disgusting Halloween-themed cocktails that involved pumpkin flavored vodka, and chocolate martinis, olive and lychee eyeballs, and a lot of dry ice for special effects. Nonsense. I finally came to my senses when I wandered down the garden path of idle curiosity, which as you know, has a deleterious effect on cats. Instead I wondered about what we could offer to our favorite dead writers, should they come a-calling this Saturday night, when the adults will reclaim Halloween as their own. While not exactly the Proustian query posed by Vanity Fair every month, this is a broad survey of some writers I think would be amusing at a ghostly Halloween cocktail party.
Noel Coward said that the perfect martini could be made by “filling a glass with gin then waving it in the general direction of Italy”. Fill your glasses and join me on our ghoulish visit to a moonlight cocktail party. No enchanted cocktail hour would be complete without Ernest Hemingway, who tops every dead-writer-cocktail-survey I encountered. His poor mother. I have been to his house in Key West and skritched some of his cats with their polydactyl toes. The house has some admirable verandahs, which shriek out for a séance and Coward’s Madame Arcati inviting our favorite roués and decorous dead to join us once more for some ocean breezes and Bloody Marys. http://www.hemingwayhome.com/
“To make a pitcher of Blood Marys (any smaller amount is worthless) take a good sized pitcher and put in it as big a lump of ice as it will hold. (This to prevent too rapid melting and watering of our product.) Mix a pint of good Russian vodka and an equal amount of chilled tomato juice.
Add a tablespoon full of Worcestershire Sauce. Lea and Perrins is usual but you can use AI or any good beef-steak sauce. Stir. (with two rs) Then add a jigger of fresh squeezed lime juice. Stir. Then add small amounts of celery salt, cayenne pepper, black pepper. Keep on stirring and taste to see how it is doing. If you get it too powerful weaken with more tomato juice. If it lacks authority add more vodka.” https://www.thrillist.com/vice/ernest-hemingway-s-favorite-drinks-with-quotes-whiskey-wine-absinthe-bloody-marys
Bob your hair, rouge your knees, and get out your ropes of pearls. Scott and Zelda have arrived in Key West. The Fitzgeralds were very, very fond of Gin Rickeys. We can swoop around the porches, imagining our own jazzy music, swaying with the palm tress, drinking these sweet concoctions: http://on.aol.com/video/f–scott-fitzgeralds-gin-rickey-recipe-and-bukowskis-boilermaker-517940317 Whatever gin they have not reserved for their infant daughter’s night time bottle, we can spirit away to make Gin Rickey cocktails.
John Cheever’s specter conjures up a solemn progression of cocktails. Avoid him, because he will want to go swimming. Instead, let’s look for Evelyn Waugh, who is merrily mixing some of his favorite stingers at the bar. I can summon up the image of the angelic Cary Grant, ordering a round of them for the flock of church ladies, crowding his tête-à-tête luncheon with Loretta Young in The Bishop’s Wife. Stingers are deadly. Trust me. I have been stung.
Evelyn Waugh’s Stinger
2 ounces brandy
¾ ounce crème de menthe
½ ounce dry vermouth or bourbon
Directions: Shake with ice. Pour into a chilled martini glass or Old Fashioned glass.
Sad ethereal wraith Carson McCullers has been hard at it since breakfast. Her tea packs a deadly punch:
Long Island Iced Tea Recipe
1⁄2 ounce gin
1⁄2 ounce vodka
1⁄2 ounce tequila
1⁄2 ounce. light rum
1⁄2 ounce Cointreau
3⁄4 ounce lemon juice
Top with cola
Pour all ingredients except cola and garnish into a cocktail shaker filled with ice cubes. Shake, and then strain into a Collins glass filled with ice cubes. Add cola until color of tea. Garnish with lemon wedge. Serve with two straws.
Edna St. Vincent Millay was very fond of the Between the Sheets cocktail. This party could be getting interesting.
3/4 ounce brandy
3/4 ounce light rum
3/4 ounce triple sec
1/2 ounce lemon juice
Lemon twist for garnish
Dorothy Parker and the Algonquin set are cackling over a hot Ouija board in the corner. Their Whiskey Sours have been evaporating by the pitcher-ful. “I wish I could drink like a lady. I can take one or two at the most. Three and I’m under the table. Four and I’m under the host.” http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/fresh-whiskey-sours-recipe.html
Rushing out from the eternal New Yorker magazine offices in the sky, Mr. E.B. White shares his favorite Martini recipe: “Equal parts lime juice, apricot brandy, honey, and dry vermouth. Stir this all together (you only need a tiny amount of the whole business), then add 4 times the amount of gin. Plenty of ice, stir, and serve.” Wowser. Three martini lunches, indeed! http://paperandsalt.org/2012/03/08/the-cocktail-hour-e-b-white/
There is a whole lot of gin going on at this imaginary party. Since Halloween falls on a Saturday this year, Mr. Friday and I will chill a charming bottle of Prosecco, and sit on the balcony and watch the little hobgoblins and ghosts bob about in their Halloween euphoria. The ghostly writers and folks from my imagination are having a little shindig at the cemetery if you’d like to go out and meet them. They are just dying to see you.
“I began to think vodka was my drink at last. It didn’t taste like anything, but it went straight down into my stomach like a sword swallowers’ sword and made me feel powerful and godlike.”
― Sylvia Plath