Ernest Hemingway -- author, journalist, hunter, sportsman, and booze hound -- will celebrate his 113th birthday Saturday, July 21.
That day, thousands of fans and lookalikes (including Paula Deen's husband, Michael Groover) will converge on the streets of Key West, Hemingway's home for several years, to celebrate the man -- who really is a myth and a legend.
If you can't make it to Key West, we suggest simply toasting the author who gave us A Farewell to Arms, For Whom the Bell Tolls, The Old Man and the Sea, and so many other American literary classics.
Besides writing, Hemingway was known for his prolific alcohol consumption. In Key West, for instance, most bars tout signs proclaiming "Hemingway drank here." Hemingway House tour guides like to point out that Key West's most famous resident used to drink himself into a stupor daily and then stumble home from his favorite haunt, Captain Tony's (the original Sloppy Joe's bar). According to the iconic bar's website, Hemingway "kept to a strict schedule while writing in Key West, waking at dawn and walking to his pool house, where he wrote at an old wooden desk. After work he met his circle of friends every afternoon at 3:30 at Sloppy Joe's Bar."
There are three cocktails that best embody Hemingway's spirit. If you're a writer, a romantic, an adventurer, or just love a good drink, we've got the perfect libations (and the perfect bars) to toast one of the most talented and tortured writers to ever grace a bar stool.
Mojito at Tap Tap
In 1929, Ernest Hemingway moved to Cuba, where he discovered his lifelong love for cats and mojitos. The cocktail is simply made with fine rum, muddled mint, freshly squeezed lime juice, and cane sugar. Though Tap Tap ($8) makes theirs with Haitian Barbancourt Five-Star rhum, we think Papa would agree with Miami New Times when we voted it best mojito in Miami this year.
Until the U.S. lifts the embargo on real Cuban rum, we'll do our toasting (and drinking) here. In fact, the authentic vibe, good food, and hand-painted folk art would surely have attracted the eye of Hemingway, who would have loved this place.
Death in the Afternoon at The Corner
This cocktail, served in a Champagne flute, may look innocent enough but before you drink it you might want to consider that Hemingway himself invented this particular libation -- and that the man was as much a drinker as he was a writer.
Named after Hemingway's classic bullfighting account, it's made with absinthe and Champagne. According to the man himself, the way to make a Death in the Afternoon is to "Pour one jigger absinthe into a Champagne glass. Add iced Champagne
until it attains the proper opalescent milkiness. Drink three to five of
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these slowly." We suggest drinking them at The Corner ($13), a dark bar without pretense that happens to house some of Miami's best mixologists. In other words -- Hemingway approved.
Hemingway's Mistress at The Bazaar by Jose Andres & Bar Centro
The daiquiri, named after a beach near Santiago, Cuba, is nothing like the frozen corn syrup junk you've had on cruise ships and in chain restaurants. Invented at the La Floridita bar in Havana, it is simply made with fine rum, lime juice, and sugar. In Key West, the cocktail was nicknamed the Papa Doble in honor of the author who liked them so much.
The Hemingway's Mistress ($16) pays homage to Martha Gellhorn, Hemingway's journalist girlfriend who eventually became his third wife. This take on the classic daiquiri comes with an edible frozen lime lipstick. Available at The Bazaar by Jose Andres and Bar Centro, both at the SLS Hotel South Beach, it evokes all the romance and danger of a love affair that traveled from Key West decadence to wartime in Spain.