Literary Themed Cocktails and their Recipes

Stuck in lockdown? Wanna show off your drink mixing skills? Love literature with all your heart? We’ve got a list that combines all of the above and then some!

1. Vesper Martini from Casino Royale by Ian Fleming

This drink is concocted by the spy himself as he sits at a bar, ordering the bartender to do exactly as he instructs. Bond explains that his invention, named for a love interest in the first novel, is neither too small nor too weak but big, cold, potent and strong just as he likes and quite the satisfactory post dinner drink. He also prefers it dry, shaken not stirred, in a deep champagne goblet, with rye instead of potato vodka and even states his wish to patent the same!

Casino Royale by Ian Fleming book image

Recipe

3 measures gin

1 measure vodka

½ measure Lillet (see tip)

Lemon twist to serve

Shake (don’t stir, obviously!) all the ingredients over ice, then strain into chilled martini glasses or deep champagne goblets for the true 007 experience. Garnish with a lemon twist and then serve it straightaway.

 *Bond also mentions Kina Lillet in his recipe, but since that no longer exists we recommend using Lillet instead as it’s a similar French vermouth.

Vesper Martini image

2. Mint Julep from Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

This drink even has a day that commemorates it (on May 30) and is hailed by the spritely Daisy Buchanan in the novel as a party favourite. As she exclaims vivaciously- “Open the Bourbon ……..and I’ll make us some Mint Juleps!”

The Great Gatsby F. Scott Fitzgerald book image

Recipe

 15–20 mint leaves (approx 4 sprigs of mint)

1 tsp powdered sugar

2 tsp water

2 oz bourbon whiskey

Muddle together the mint, sugar and water with a mortar and pestle, or in a glass with the back of a spoon, until a mint paste is formed. Place it into the cup and fill with shaved or crushed ice. Pour the bourbon over the ice and garnish with a mint sprig. It’s best sipped through a straw.

Mint Julep image

3. Singapore Sling from Hunter Thompson’s Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

Anti hero Raoul Duke introduces this drink to readers while reflecting on his times at the Pogo Lounge patio at Beverly Hills Hotel getting high off multiple Singapore Slings which he chased down with mezcal (we only recommend this deadly combo to the highly experienced drinker though!)

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas book image

Recipe

 3/4 ounce gin

1/4 ounce Benedictine

1/4 ounce Grand Marnier

1/4 ounce Heering cherry liqueur

1 ounce pineapple juice

1/2 ounce lime juice, freshly squeezed

1 dash Angostura bitters

Club soda, chilled, to top

Garnish: orange slice

Garnish: cherry

Add the gin, Benedictine, Grand Marnier, cherry liqueur, pineapple juice, lime juice and bitters into a shaker with ice and shake until well-chilled.Strain into a highball glass over fresh ice, and top with the club soda. Garnish with an orange slice and a cherry. 

Singapore Sling image

4. Lime Rickey from The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

This drink makes an appearance in chapter 7 as Daisy invites Nick, Jay and Nick’s partner Jordan to dine with her and Tom and orders Tom to fix them all a cold drink. Tom mixes up 4 Rickies for their guests, which they all drink in ‘long, greedy swallows’, as the narrator puts it.

The Great Gatsby book image

Recipe

2 ounces gin

1/2 ounce lime juice, freshly squeezed

Club soda, to top

Garnish: lime wheels

 Fill a highball glass with ice and add the gin and lime juice. Top with club soda. Garnish with 2 lime wheels. Cheers, ol’ boy!

Lime Rickey drink image

5. Gin Gimlet in The Long Goodbye by Raymond Chandler

This American noir did for the gimley what 007 did for martinis, albeit a character Terry Lennox refers to martinis as a ‘hollow drink’ in this novel. Lennox also introduces the gimlet to the protagonist in this novel- the heavy drinking private detective Philip Monroe and explains to him that a real gimlet is made up of nothing but half gin and half Rose’s lime juice.

The Long Goodbye Raymond Chandler book image

Recipe

2 1/2 ounces gin

1/2 ounce lime juice, freshly squeezed

1/2 ounce simple syrup

Garnish: lime wheel

 Add the gin, lime juice and simple syrup to a shaker with ice and shake until well-chilled. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass or serve it on the rocks in a glass filled with fresh ice.Garnish with a lime wheel. Et voila, a drink fit for a heavy drinking PI in an American noir novel!

Gin Gimlet drink image

6. Holly’s White Angel from Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Truman Capote

Both in the novel and screen adaptation, this is Holly Golightly’s go-to order at Joe Bell’s bar.

Breakfast at Tiffany’s book image

Recipe

1 oz of white creme de cacao

1 oz of heavy cream

Garnish: whipped cream and a maraschino cherry

Pour white creme de cacao into a 2 oz shot glass for the first layer. Follow it up by floating 1 oz of heavy cream on top. Add whipped cream and a maraschino cherry.

Holly’s White Angel drink image

7. Jack Rose Cocktail from The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway

In the novel, protagonist Jack Barnes enjoys a Jack Rose cocktail as he awaits the arrival of Lady Brett Ashley, the love of his life.

The Sun Also Rises book image

Recipe

1 1/2 ounces applejack or apple brandy

3/4 ounce lemon juice, freshly squeezed

1/2 ounce grenadine

Garnish: lemon twist

 Add the applejack, lemon juice and grenadine into a shaker with ice, and shake until well-chilled. Fine-strain into a coupe glass, and garnish with a lemon twist. 

Jack Rose cocktail image

8. Punch from Pickwick Papers by Charles Dickens

There’s no plot as such in the Pickwick Papers and it is merely about the adventures and shenanigans of Mr. Pickwick and pals who have a ball out on town eating and drinking to their hearts content with an irrelevant and unnecessary silly anecdote or short detours sprinkled in. There are more than 250 mentions of binge drinking and at least 20 mentions of punch being drunk for leisure as well as festive purposes in the book. Here is just one such excerpt:

“When Mr. Pickwick awoke next morning, there was not a symptom of rheumatism about him: which proves, as Mr. Bob Sawyer very justly observed, that there is nothing like hot punch in such cases: and that if ever hot punch did not fail to act as a preventative, it was merely because the patient fell into the vulgar error of not taking enough of it.”

Pickwick Papers book image

Recipe 

*Caution: This cocktail recipe requires a whole lot of over the top pyrotechnics so mix with caution and care!

Rind and Juice of 3 Lemons

6 oz by weight Demerara Sugar Cubes (see note below)

16 oz Pusser’s Rum

10 oz Remy Martin Cognac

40 oz Boiling Water

Peel all three lemons with a swivel-head vegetable peeler, leaving behind as much of the white pith as possible. Add rinds, sugar, and spirits to a fire-proof bowl. Place a warm spoon of spirits over the bowl and light on fire. Slowly pour the flaming contents of the spoon into the bowl, igniting it. Let the contents of the bowl burn for 3 – 4 minutes, gently stirring occasionally (be careful not to put out the flame). Cover the bowl with a lid or metal pan, extinguishing the flame. Add the juice of the lemons and the boiling water. Stir, cover for five minutes, and stir again. Place the contents of bowl into a loosely covered saucepan and simmer on the stove for 15 minutes. This recipe serves 8, by the way.

Charles Dickens punch image

We’ve come to the end of this intoxicating list. We hope you have a ball trying your hand at mixing these cocktails, and drink responsibly! Make sure to follow us on Instagram and don’t forget to share with your friends. Until next time!

We independently review the best books and services. Some of our links are referral links. We only make money if you purchase products through our links, and we never accept free services in exchange for a favorable review. 

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