Who doesn't like to discreetly show off with a copy of the latest literary sensation tucked under their nose, right next to a strong, delicious cocktail? With these 5 drinks, all of which riff on literary influences, you can get your booze and lit fix in one tidy package. From a cocktail created in homage to an award-winning play to a drink named for a popular science-fantasy novel, these tipples are all worth your time, with or without a book in hand.
Midnight in Mexico
Inspired by: Midnight in Mexico by Alfredo Corchado.
Where: The Esquire Tavern, San Antonio
What: Mezcal, chile liqueur, Fernet-Vallet.
How: “I was inspired to create this cocktail to bring attention to journalist Alfredo Corchado's eye-opening book, Midnight in Mexico," says beverage director Houston Eaves. He describes the book as an "intensely personal account of the horrors taking place on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border in the cartel drug wars that have plagued both of our countries for many years." The drink's look is a tribute to Corchado's work: “The combination of the three all-Mexican ingredients gives the cocktail a deep, dark color to allude to the darkness of midnight, yet the blend creates a bright and inviting cocktail with a warm smoky and spicy finish,” says Eaves. Photo by Kody Melton.
Inspired by: The Pulitzer Prize.
Where: Bookmarks Lounge at the Library Hotel, New York City
What: Gin, elderflower liqueur, Fernet, fresh lemon juice.
How: This drink at the 14th floor lounge of the fittingly named Library Hotel is a hat-tip to the prized American journalism award, a reference that comes through in the cocktail's golden hue. The well-balanced mix of sweet elderflower, tart lemon juice, and bracing gin and Fernet is definitely a winning combination. Photo courtesy of Bookmarks Lounge.
Inspired by: A Wrinkle In Time by Madeleine L’Engle.
Where: Novela Bar, San Francisco
What: Strawberry, raspberry, honey, lemon, fortified wine, Pisco.
How: From a wall of books to a vintage card catalog cabinet, the decor at this late-night lounge matches the book-inspired drink menu, which includes the Calvin O’Keefe. "As we were naming our cocktails for this this year’s summer menu, I expressed my thoughts that the name should represent something almost ethereal and spacy. Something that changed with time… just like the cocktail," says Suzanne Miller of Novela Bar. "Someone brought up A Wrinkle in Time, and as I researched characters I thought would well represent the drink, we decided to call it Calvin O’Keefe." The seasonal cocktail is topped with brut and served over a strawberry-hibiscus-bitters-infused ice ball for an out-of-this-world experience. Photo by Gregory Black.
Cachaca on a Hot Tin Roof
Inspired by: Cat on a Hot Tin Roof by Tennessee Williams.
Where: Searsucker, Austin
What: Cachaca, aperol, cinnamon syrup.
How: This Austin bar serves up a boozy homage to Tennessee Williams’ award-winning play. The showstopping cocktail is garnished with a lime-rum float, set aflame and then dusted with cinnamon. "We thought lighting the cocktail on fire would be the be the perfect nod to the tension and interpersonal struggle in the classic play," says general manager Kimberly Birchfield. Photo courtesy of Cultivate PR.
Inspired by: Ernest Hemingway.
Where: Bosscat Kitchen & Libations, Newport Beach
What: White rum, freshly squeezed grapefruit juice, freshly squeezed lime juice, cherry liqueur, bitters.
How: Legendary American novelist Ernest Hemingway preferred his daiquiris sans sugar, inspiring a sugar-free version created and named for him at the La Floridita bar in Cuba in the 1930s. “We add Angostura bitters to spice up the original recipe and garnish with a lime wheel and Luxardo cherry,” bar director Matt Sharp says of the riff at Bosscat Kitchen & Libations. Photo courtesy of Bosscat Kitchen.
The Hemingway Cocktail recipe:
2 oz white rum
¾ oz freshly squeezed grapefruit juice
½ oz freshly squeezed lime juice
¼ oz Luxardo Maraschino liqueur
2 dashes Angostura bitters
1 Luxardo cherry
Mix all ingredients. Garnish with a lime wheel and cherry.
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