Monday, May 12, 2008

Mixology Monday: Hemingway's Punch in the Mouth

Woody Allen, "The Lost Generation"

"I was in Europe many years ago with Ernest Hemingway. Hemingway had just written his first novel, and Gertrude Stein and I read it, and we said that is was a good novel, but not a great one, and that it needed some work, but it could be a fine book. And we laughed over it.

Hemingway punched me in the mouth.

That winter Picasso lived on the Rue d'Barque, and he had just painted a picture of a naked dental hygenist in the middle of the Gobi Desert. Gertrude Stein said it was a good picture, but not a great one, and I said it could be a fine picture. We laughed over it, and Hemingway punched me in the mouth.

Francis Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald came home after their wild new years eve party. It was April. Scott had just written Great Expectations, and Gertrude Stein and I read it, and we said it was a good book, but there was no need to have written it, 'cause Charles Dickens had already written it. We laughed over it...and Hemingway punched me in the mouth.

That winter we went to Spain to see Manolete fight, and he was... looked to be eighteen, and Gertrude Stein said no, he was nineteen, but that he only looked eighteen, and I said sometimes a boy of eighteen will look nineteen, whereas other times a nineteen year old can easily look eighteen. That's the way it is with a true Spaniard. We laughed over that... and Gertrude Stein punched me in the mouth."

My but there certainly were a lot of Daiquiri-esque creations coming in and out of that little El Floridita in Havana involving Mr. Ernest Hemingway, weren't there? I had entertained the notion that I could, through exhaustive research, create at last a Unified Field Theory of Floridita.

But I failed.

It begins with one agreed upon historical fact: Hemingway drank excessively.

Then there are other, ensuing facts: He drank excessively at El Floridita; he drank Daiquiris; he did not like sugar in drinks; sugar in drinks is for blouse-wearing sissy boys; after 17 or so Daiquiris he'd pummel sugar-swilling, blouse-wearing sissy boys; whereas most places in the world this sort of behavior would get you banned, at El Floridita it got him a reserved seat at the bar which they still hold for him today; he eventually came to like Maraschino Liqueur as a sugar substitute in his Daiquiris; no soft drink company has since followed his lead when creating a diet soda; Hemingway called the process of replacing sugar with Maraschino "puttin' some stank on it!"

Editor's note: this last part is not true and Hemingway never said that.

But the rest are all facts!

So these days we've got the Floridita in four hundred fashions, plus the Hemingway Daiquiri, the Papa Doble, Wild Daiquiri, and the Daiquiri Special.

Common denominators
: rum, lime

Many have grapefruit. Most Floriditas have sugar or some sugary substance in them. There's some maverick out in Seattle, name of Robert Hess, who professes a Floridita made with Sweet Vermouth, grenadine, and Creme de Cacao. And he'll pummel any grapefruit sipping sissy boy claiming to know the real Floridita!

Editor's note: Robert is not like this and the above comment is deplorable.

Here are some notable examples of Floriditas and its cousins:

Based upon the Daiquirí recipe from El Floridita that Hemingway drinks with A. E. Hotchner in his book "Papa Hemingway."

2 1/1 jiggers Bacardi or Havana Club rum
Juice of 2 limes
Juice of 1/2 grapefruit
6 drops of maraschino

Fill a blender one-quarter full of ice, preferably shaved or cracked. Add the rum, lime juice, grapefruit juice and maraschino. Blend on high until the mixture turns cloudy and light-colored. ( See Islands in the Stream, page 281 for a more Hemingway-esque description.)

Serve immediately in large, conical goblets.

This recipe comes to us via PBS and Michael Palin's visit to the El Floridita.

This next one is from Phil Greene, and can be found at On The House.

"Page 30 of the Floridita menu contains the recipe that we’ve come to know as the Hemingway Daiquiri, though it is misspelled as the “E. Henmiway” Special:

2 ounces Bacardi
1 Teaspoonful Grape Fruit Juice
1 Teaspoonful Marraschino
The juice of 1/2 lemon (sic)
Frappe ice
Shake well and serve frappe."

He points out that lemon is meant in the spirit of limon, and can be confirmed easily enough that what is meant by lemon is, of course, lime.

Floridita a la Cocktail Database

1 oz fresh lime juice (3 cl, 1/4 gills)
2 oz light rum (6 cl, 1/2 gills)
1/4 oz grapefruit juice (6 dashes, 1/16 gills)
1/4 oz maraschino liqueur (6 dashes, 1/16 gills)
1/2 tsp sugar (2 dashes)

Shake in iced cocktail shaker & strain
Serve in a cocktail glass (4.5 oz)

Oh, those crazy Cocktail Database boys with their gills...

Robert Hess presents the Floridita...In Technicolor!!!

El Floridita

1 1/2 ounces rum
1/2 ounce lime juice
1/2 ounce sweet vermouth
1/8 ounce grenadine
less than 1/8 oz creme de cacao

shake with ice

strain into a cocktail glass

garnish with a twist of lime

Which brings us at long last to the real reason for this post, which is, as always, shameless self-promotion of Le Mixeur Quatre (May 17, Seattle, 8pm, send email for address).

We will be serving a version from Nick Mautone's "Raising the Bar," which is, quite frankly, the most sissy-boy version of the Floridita known to existence. One sip of this and Hemingway would have erupted, pummeling everyone in the room, calling for Woody Allen's head on a spit, and demanding that Vinca Vigia be returned to him at once.

But it actually is a very nice drink, and perfect for the purposes of Le Mixeur Quatre...


1 oz light rum
¾ oz grapefruit
½ oz lime
¼ oz curacao
¼ oz maraschino
¼ oz grenadine

And ours, after going through the obligatory shake and strain process, gets a mint leaf. And that works just fine for us thank you.

And after all this research has been completed, I was at long last able to draw up a rough draft of a diagram detailing the evolution of the Floridita and related drinks:

editor's note: T.Mixeur did not create this diagram and it has nothing to do with the Floridita.


C. Mixeur said...

Creme de cacao in a Floridita? That's just disgusting.

T. Mixeur said...

Illustrating the cosmic shockwaves Le Mixeur has upon the culture, within hours of posting this blog, Jimmy's Cocktail Hour presented this as their daily cocktail.

As Served at the Lion and Compass...

Hemingway Cocktail

Habana Daiquiri

2 oz light rum
1/2 oz. fresh lime juice
1/4 oz maraschino liqueur
1/4 oz simple syrup (optional)

Shake over ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. No garnish.