Papa Hemingway was a notorious lover, fighter, boozer, and hunter. Oh yeah, he also wrote books sometimes. Perhaps the manliest man to ever walk this planet, Hemingway preferred to be drunk—"not drunk in any positive sense but just enough to be careless," he explains in The Sun Also Rises. He drank, he wrote, he sobered up and edited, then drank again.
Unabashedly proud of his imbibing habits, Hem wrote to his heart's content about his love of alcohol. Below are some of Big Papa's finest words on wine, whiskey, daiquiris, and a very very special recipe for a Bloody Mary. Drink up!
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“Wine is one of the most civilized things in the world and one of the most natural things of the world that has been brought to the greatest perfection, and it offers a greater range for enjoyment and appreciation than, possibly, any other purely sensory thing.” —Death in the Afternoon
"Wine is a grand thing," I said. "It makes you forget all the bad." —A Farewell to Arms
"Got tight last night on absinthe and did knife tricks. Great success shooting the knife underhand into the piano." —Letter to a friend in 1931
“This frozen daiquiri, so well beaten as it is, looks like the sea where the wave falls away from the bow of a ship when she is doing thirty knots.” —Islands in the Stream
"Never delay kissing a pretty girl or opening a bottle of whiskey."
"Don't you drink? I notice you speak slightingly of the bottle. I have drunk since I was fifteen and few things have given me more pleasure. When you work hard all day with your head and know you must work again the next day what else can change your ideas and make them run on a different plane like whisky?"
“We…have found a way of making ice in the deep-freeze, in tennis ball tubes, that comes out 15 degrees below zero; with the glasses frozen too, it makes the coldest martini in the world. [The] whole drink comes out so cold you can’t hold it in your hand. It sticks to the fingers.”
The Bloody Mary
"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."
"My mojito in the Bodeguita del Medio and my daiquiri in the Floridita." —A signed quote hung on the wall of La Bodeguita del Medio in Havana, Cuba
"'The half bottle of champagne is the enemy of man."
"You have to work hard to deserve to drink it. But I would rather have a bottle of Ballantine Ale than any other drink after fighting a really big fish. When something has been taken out of you by strenuous exercise Ballantine puts it back in. We keep it iced in the bait box with chunks of ice packed around it. And you ought to taste it on a hot day when you have worked a big marlin fast because there were sharks after him. "
Death in the Afternoon (Cocktail)
"Pour one jigger absinthe into a champagne glass. Add iced champagne until it attains the proper opalescent milkiness. Drink three to five of these slowly."
Hem also had a small bar built in his fishing boat and lovingly referred to tequila as "the steering liquor."
Well put, Papa.
Jeremy Glass is a staff writer at Supercompressor and his favorite Hemingway book is the one about the old man and the sea—or maybe he's thinking about The Hunt for Red October?
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