Literary Cocktails from London: Favourite Drinks of Famous London Writers

Literary Cocktails from London: Favourite Drinks of Famous London Writers


London isn’t shy of cocktails. It’s famous for The Breakfast Martini, The Espresso Martini and many more cocktails – all created by the city’s famous Mixologists.

We’ve looked at our favourite drinks of London’s most famous writers and created cocktail recipes for them.

T.S. Eliot and Gin

Favourite Drinks of Famous London Writers

T.S. Eliot was an American-born playwright and one of the twentieth century’s major poets. After graduating from Harvard, he moved to London in 1914, where he met the poet Ezra Pound – a man who would have a profound impact on his writing and career.

It was through meeting Erza that Eliot’s career excelled. Together in London, their writing collaboration changed Anglo-American poetry forever. All the time whilst living in London, Eliot never lost his St. Louis, Missouri culture and used his hometown as inspiration to write.

Favourite alcohol:

Gin

He once said:

“There is nothing in this world quite so stimulating as a strong dry Martini cocktail”.

Ingredients:

  • 50ml Gordon’s® gin
  • 10ml apple juice
  • Tonic water
  • A lime to garnish

Recipe:

  • Mix the gin and apple juice together
  • Fill a glass with ice, and add the gin and apple juice
  • Garnish with a lime

It could be a myth but gin has been said to improve a person’s writing capabilities, which is why we think T.S. Eliot and Gin would have loved this cocktail. One of the health benefits of gin is that it can reduce heart disease. Bottoms up!

Sylvia Plath and Vodka

 Favourite Drinks of Famous London Writers

Sylvia Plath was a famous poet who moved from America to London in 1955. From a young age, she showed a tremendous talent in writing and drawing, and by age 8, she’d already published her first poem.

She spent most of her life in London, where she met her husband and became inspired to write, but it was also the city she tragically ended her own life in.

On arriving in London, she immediately fell in love with the city, before winning a place to study at Cambridge. Her study here led her to win a posthumous Pulitzer Prize, but this wasn’t until she died, after most of her work was published.

Favourite alcohol:

Vodka

She once said:

“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.”

Ingredients:

  • 50ml Smirnoff® Vodka
  • 7 raspberries
  • 25ml lemon juice
  • 10ml sugar syrup
  • 1 tsp soda water

Recipe:

  • Fill a shaker with raspberries and ice
  • Pour vodka, lemon juice and sugar syrup into the shaker
  • Shake vigorously
  • Pour liquid into a glass with ice
  • Top with soda water

Sylvia Plath mentioned in The Bell Jar that she was a lover of vodka, and this cocktail was sure enough to make her feel “godlike”.

Charles Dickens and Gin

Favourite Drinks of Famous London Writers

British novelist Charles Dickens had his first big success with The Pickwick Papers. He consistently wrote about how life was changing, especially for poor people because he never really got over his younger years living in poverty.

Many of his notable works were set in London, where he had a home. The Charles Dickens Museum in Bloomsbury was once where he and his two daughters were born, his sister-in-law died and many of his best novels were written, including Oliver Twist. 

Favourite alcohol:

Gin

He once said:

“Have a heart that never hardens, and a temper that never tires, and a touch that never hurts”.

Ingredients:

  • 3 lemon rinds
  • Handful of lump sugar
  • Pint of old rum
  • Large wine-glass of old brandy

Recipe:

  • Peel into a very common basin (which may be broken in case of accident, without damage to the owner’s peace or pocket) the rinds of three lemons
  • Cut very thin and with as little as possible of the white coating between the peel and the fruit attached
  • Add a double handful of lump sugar (good measure), a pint of good old rum, and a large wine-glass of good old brandy; if it be not a large claret glass, say two
  • Set this on fire, by filling a warm silver spoon with the spirit, lighting the contents at a wax taper, and pouring them gently in
  • Let it burn three or four minutes at least, stirring it from time to time
  • Extinguish it by covering the basin with a tray, which will immediately put out the flame
  • Then squeeze in the juice of the three lemons, and add a quart of boiling water
  • Stir the whole well, cover it up for five minutes, and stir again

In an 1847 letter, Dickens wrote the above recipe for a punch. Give it a try, but like Charles Dickens always did, drink in moderation… especially with all that brandy!

Lord Byron and Wine

Favourite Drinks of Famous London Writers

Lord Byron, was an English poet who was one of the leading figures of the Romantic Movement in early 19th century England. He was famous for drinking from a skull cup which he mentioned in his poem.

After the death of his mother, Lord Byron moved to London where he continued to mourn for her. His former home in London is set to be converted into an eight-bedroom mansion with swimming pool and sauna.

Favourite alcohol:

Wine

He once said:

“Start not – nor deem my spirit fled:

In me behold the only skull

From which, unlike a living head,

Whatever flows is never dull”.

Ingredients:

  • 4 oz. Sutter Home Merlot
  • 2 oz. sparkling pomegranate-blueberry juice
  • Sugar rim
  • Garnish with lime
  • Dash of vinegar

Recipe:

  • Add ice, Sutter Home Merlot, sparkling pomegranate-blueberry juice and mix together
  • Finish with a dash of vinegar, mix together and pout into a large glass

Adding vinegar to a cocktail can add a savory overtones, and we think Lord Bryon would approve as he lived on a diet of potatoes and vinegar, biscuits and soda water.

Oscar Wilde and Absinthe

Favourite Drinks of Famous London Writers

Oscar Wilde was an Irish playwright, novelist, essayist, and poet. In 1878, he moved to London with a degree from Oxford and aspirations to make it as a famous writer.

His mother advised him to treat life like a theatre play, and his outfits were designed by theatre costumiers to give him individuality and help with his dramatic effect.

Oscar’s friends grew accustomed to seeing him intoxicated, whilst he spent many of his secret time with his male lovers in London.

Favourite alcohol:

Absinthe

He once said:

“After the first glass of absinthe, you see things as you wish they were. After the second you see them as they are not”.

Ingredients:

  • 25 oz Absinthe
  • 2 oz Massenez Poire Williams
  • 75 oz fresh lime juice
  • 75 oz syrup (two parts sugar, one part water)
  • 1 egg white

Recipe:

  • Add the Absinthe to a glass
  • Add the remaining ingredients to a shaker and vigorously shake
  • Strain into a glass and add ice

Oscar Wilde was an avid drinking of Absinthe and a seeming alcoholic, so we think he’d approve of this cocktail recipe.

Anthony Burgess and The Hangman’s Blood

Favourite Drinks of Famous London Writers

Source: www.telegraph.co.uk

Anthony Burgess lived in London for some time and wrote the Clockwork Orange there. Whilst living in London, he created a cocktail called The Hangman’s Blood that was supposed to create a “somewhat metaphysical elation”.

Favourite alcohol:

The Hangman’s Blood

He once said:

“Violence among young people is an aspect of their desire to create. They don’t know how to use their energy creatively so they do the opposite and destroy”.

Ingredients:

  • 2 oz gin
  • 2 oz whisky
  • 2 oz rum
  • 2 oz port
  • 2 oz brandy
  • 2 oz small bottle of stout
  • 2 oz champagne

Recipe:

  • Into a pint glass pour in gin, whisky, rum, port, and brandy
  • Top with champagne and a small bottle of stout

This was the original cocktail devised in the 1960s that apparently rarely leaves a hangover. Bingo!

George Orwell and Tea

Favourite Drinks of Famous London Writers

 

George Orwell was an English novelist, essayist, journalist and critic and an avid tea drinker. From living in London, he used the city as inspiration in his writing, although he never fully enjoyed living in London was his career started advancing.

Favourite alcohol:

Tea mocktail

He once said:

“Every generation imagines itself to be more intelligent than the one that went before it, and wiser than the one that comes after it”.

Ingredients:

  • 1 -2 tea bags of your choice
  • 1 sprig of fresh mint, 8-10 leaves
  • 2 -3 slices orange rind
  • 2 ounces freshly lemonade
  • 1 ounce white cranberry juice

Recipe:

  • Boil water and add tea bags to a small teapot
  • Add the lemonade, cranberry juice mint and orange rind to a glass
  • Leave the tea to cool for five minutes and pour in the glass