A Literary Cocktail Party inspired by Arrowsmith

literary

I would call Sinclair Lewis’ Arrowsmith a “pretty serious book”, but one of my favorite things about it is its setting within the Prohibition Era. We see the protaganist, Martin Arrowsmith, going into speakeasies with his friends and sneaking into the back rooms of warehouses alongside the general public warnings on the dangers of drinking and gambling. I think this especially stood out to me as the other Pulitzer winners set in this era have all shied away from any mentions of drinking. Without further adieu, I invite you to The Ice House in the West Indies to join Martin Arrowsmith for his signature “rum swizzler.”

barrio47

This is Barrio 47, but I imagine The Ice House is similar to this

The Ice House, that dimmest and most peaceful among saloons, with its cool marble tables, its gilt-touched white walls, had not been closed, though only the oldest topers and the youngest bravos, fresh out from Home and agonizingly lonely… were desperate enough to go there, and of the attendants there remained only one big Jamaica barman. By chance he was among them all the most divine mixer of the planter’s punch, the New Orleans fizz, and the rum swizzle.

rum swizzle.jpg

Recipe courtesy of Liquor.com

Bermuda Rum Swizzle Cocktail:

  • 4 oz. Gold Rum
  • 4 oz. Black Rum
  • 8 oz. Pineapple Juice
  • 8 oz. Orange Juice
  • 3/4 oz. Grenadine
  • 6 dashes of Angostura Bitters

Shake vigorously with crushed ice, and then garnish with pineapple, oranges, maraschino cherries, and any other tropical fruit that catch your eye.

Although I’m glad we no longer have this law, it’s a period of time that I don’t know much about and am intrigued by. I suppose finding a book on the Prohibition should be added to my to-do list!

Additional Reading:

  • Font courtesy of Manfred Klein
  • Curious about the difference between gold and black rum? Apparently there are four types of rum.
  • Check out our first Literary Cocktail Party post here, featuring Harper Lee’s Go Set a Watchman, Lev Grossman’s The Magicians, and Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall.
  • Arrowsmith was the 1926 Pulitzer winner, and Sinclair Lewis was the first (and only) writer to refuse the prize. Read more about it here.
  • Fun fact: 1926 was also the year The Great Gatsby was published. Some people would say that Gatsby deserved the Pulitzer much more than Arrowsmith did.

A Literary Cocktail Party: Book & Drink Pairings

I don’t know about you, but I have a flurry of social obligations this weekend. In order to make it to all of these events, I will probably be abstaining from drinking a lot of alcohol – this weekend is a marathon, not a sprint! However, I don’t want to miss out on all the fun, so I thought I’d plan a literary cocktail party here. If these books hosted parties, what would their signature drinks be? Without further adieu, you are cordially invited to…

literary

Go Set a Watchman + Manhattansmanhattan

go set a watchmanGo Set a Watchman is set in my heart of hearts, Alabama. Every Southern girl knows how to hold her whiskey, so I imagine Scout and Hank bringing flasks of it to drink by the water. When they’re not drinking it neat, I think Scout would appreciate a good Manhattan, especially since we find her a New York City girl in Harper Lee’s second book. I think she would refuse to eat maraschino cherries though, don’t you? I can see her sneaking them into Atticus’ glass when he pretends to not be looking.

 

 

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The Magicians + A Sunday in the Park

sunday in the park

magicians

The Magicians is a pretty dark and twisted fantasy novel; it follows Quentin Coldwater as he attends Brakebills, a college of magic in New York. I wanted to focus on the first half of the book, when Quentin and his friends spend their time drinking in the Cottage and hosting elaborate dinner parties (complete with magical moving ice sculptures showing Zeus and Leda). I think this “Sunday in the Park” Lillet cocktail would be perfect for drunk games of welters. It’s an herbal concotion of Lillet, Bourbon, herbs, and simple syrup. It can be as light or as strong as you want, so Eliot can add as much extra bourbon as his heart desires.

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Wolf Hall + Blood & Honey

blood and honey

wolf hall

Wolf Hall takes place in 1500 England and follows the rise of Thomas Cromwell, chief minister to King Henry VIII. I can’t really picture Thomas Cromwell drinking anything but pints of mead and ale, but just humor me here, okay? I imagine that if a local pub created a cocktail in his honor, they would come up with something similar to Cornish Mead Co.’s Blood and Honey. The only catch is they would maybe use the actual blood of the people that Cromwell has defeated… Yikes!

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It’s your turn! What drinks would you pair with these books (or other books)? What are you doing this weekend?

Additional Resources: