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Myths about Ernest Hemingway’s drinking habits debunked and a few cocktail recipes

Questions are being answered as to whether or not Ernest Hemingway’s drinking habits have been a little over exaggerated.


A book published by Philip Greene, a lawyer for the US Marines stationed at the Pentagon, takes a deeper look at the literary giants drinking habits.

Titled “To Have and Have Another“ which no doubt is a play on the Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall classic “To Have and Have Not” (not written by Hemingway) it delves deeper into Hemingway’s drinking habits than ever before, offering dozens of authentic recipes for drinks directly connected with the novels, history and folklore, and colourful anecdotes about the man himself.

In the book several myths are debunked, especially those that pertain to his drinking habits.

  1. Hemingway was notoriously fond of drinking, but he refrained from indulging while writing
  2. The mojito was not Hemingway’s favorite drink
  3. Hemingway had several go-to cocktails, but his favorite was a dry martini
  4. Hemingway may have liked his martinis as dry as a bone, but he loved vermouth
  5. Hemingway liked his drinks icy cold
  6. Hemingway did not invent the Bloody Mary
  7. Hemingway traveled extensively, but was most at home on a barstool

Some Hemingway Cocktail Recipes to try out.

Death in the Afternoon

This drink, named after Hemingway’s metaphysical treatise on bullfighting and was reportedly invented with “some Brits after a spot of nautical unpleasantness.”
1½ oz. absinthe
4 oz. cold brut champagne
Pour a jigger of absinthe into a champagne flute. Add iced champagne until it attains the proper opalescent milkiness (about 4–5 oz). Hemingway suggested drinking three to five of these slowly (and if you do, let me know how that turns out).

The Rum Collins

2 oz rum

1 oz fresh lemon or lime juice
1 teaspoon sugar (though Hemingway likely went without)
4 oz sparkling water
Add all ingredients to a tall Collins glass filled with ice.  Garnish with a wedge of whichever citrus fruit you’re using.  Stir and serve.


There is a letter, supposedly written by Hemingway, on the wall at La Bodeguita del Medio, that says “Mi mojito en La Bodeguita, mi daiquiri en El Floridita.” Experts, however, doubt that Hemingway was much of a mojito drinker (a drink too sweet for his tastes), and may have never set foot in La Bodeguita. Nevertheless, here is the classic La Bodeguita recipe:

2 oz. Havana Club Añejo Especial or Añejo Blanco rum
1 tsp. fine cane sugar
2 oz. squeezed lime juice
Yerba buena mint leaves 4
4–6 ice cubes, broken
2 oz. club soda
Add the mint leaves, squeezed lime juice and sugar to a collins glass. Gently muddle the mint. Add the rum and the broken or crushed ice and stir. Top off with club soda. You can garnish with a mint sprig or a quartered lime wedge, knock yourself out, it dosen’t really matter since we have established this really isn’t a Hemingway drink.

Papa Doble

The El Flordita, under the legendary cantinero Constantino Ribalaigua Vert, became known as “La Catedral del Daiquiri.” The Papa Doble, Hemingways’s famous daiquiri, was essentially a double of the Flordita house drink, substituting Maraschino for sugar.

4 oz. Bacardi white-label rum
¼ oz. Luxardo Maraschino 5
2 limes, hand squeezed
½ grapefruit, hand squeezed
Fill an electric blender one-quarter full of shaved or cracked ice. Add all of the ingredients and blend on high until the mixture turns cloudy and light-colored. Strain into a chilled collins glass. It was reported that Hemingway once drank 15 or 16 of these at one sitting, although that seems like alot of grapefruit juice, don’t you think? It should be noted that once strained, the drink resembles a sour, not a frozen daiquiri (although Hemingway drank as those as well).

Image/Source: codex99 / Food Republic

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Andrew Lieber (Ed) (have 502 posts in total)
Suffered from multiple personality disorders for the first year of Gourmet Guys. His primary personality has now taken control! Editor-In-Charge