Jazz Age cocktails revitalized thanks to the new film version of The Great Gatsby
By Francine Cohen
While Hemingway’s prowess with the pen and his penchant for drink are widely acknowledged and celebrated by fisherman and imbibers alike (for goodness sake, the man has a cocktail named after him- the Papa Doble aka a Hemingway Daiquiri) this prolific author isn’t the only notable one with something to say about living a spirited life.
As attention turns to today’s opening of the Baz Luhrmann screen adaptation of The Great Gatsby it certainly seems evident that if anyone should get credit for popularizing drinking culture it seems most fitting that the honor goes to F. Scott Fitzgerald; the Jazz Age writer who conjured up an aspirational way of life that quietly masked a sense of despondency and unspoken truths behind the glittering allure of vicarious adventures.
Fitzgerald’s Gatsby lived a life that seemed carefree; the ideal escape from the everyday- much the same as release from cube city and a night out with friends represents today.
Always something to look forward to as a reward for hard work, cocktails, and the culture Fitzgerald created around them, have as much relevance today in this improving economy as they did when the Princeton graduate wrote about them decades ago. Stores like Tiffany are celebrating the era with jewelry collections m.tiffany.com/Shopping/Category.aspx?cid=2605758&mcat=148206″ target=”_blank”> and even the venerable clothier Brooks Brothers is involved in this revival. The store’s archives were mined for period appropriate pieces on which the men’s costumes in this new movie were based. www.brooksbrothers.com/on/demandware.store/Sites-brooksbrothers-Site/default/GGSearch-Show?cgid=gatsby&cid=collaboration” target=”_blank”>
It’s likely you’ll find some dapper Brooks Brothers-inspired bartenders and spirits industry leaders flowing through the streets of New Orleans this summer if you head down for Tales of the Cocktail July 17-21st (www.talesofthecocktail.com) as this year’s Spirited Awards are Gatsby themed. Tales founder, Ann Tuennerman, explains, “The Tales of the Cocktail Spirited Awards production team [Claire Bertin-Lang, Michelle Dunnick, Simon Ford-who is also our host, and I] wanted a fun and relevant theme to add to the excitement of crowning the best of the best in our industry. While some consider Prohibition a dark period in our nation’s history, The Great Gatsby evokes an aura of nostalgia for the time, full of the glamour, music, parties and – of course – drinks. We thought this theme would offer guests an opportunity to return to one of America’s Golden Ages, get jazzed up, enjoy Prohibition Era cocktails from our amazing sponsors and toast the winners of the 2013 Spirited Awards. The book’s author F. Scott Fitzgerald was a notorious imbiber, making the theme doubly appropriate.”
If after seeing this film you are looking for a theme to intrigue your guests next time you host a party or need to draw a crowd on an otherwise quiet night at your bar or restaurant here are some Gatsby(movies.nytimes.com/2013/05/10/movies/the-great-gatsby-interpreted-by-baz-luhrmann.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0) inspired cocktails.
It’s unlikely that Leonardo DiCaprio (or even Robert Redford, the 1974 film’s Jay Gatsby) will show up to help you shake a few, but one can always hope. Just make sure to keep that green light on at the end of the pier to guide him in.
By James Menite
1 1/2oz. Bootlegger 21 Vodka
1/2 oz Dry Vermouth
1/3 Maraschino Liqueur
Dash of Absinthe
Dash of Regan’s Orange Bitters
Lemon twist for garnish
Method: Shake all ingredients over ice, strain into rocks glass. Add
bitters and lemon twist.
Menite created this drink using Prohibition Distillery’s Bootlegger 21 Vodka for fundraiser Taste of the Nation which works to end childhood hunger via its NoKidHungry campaign (www.nokidhungry.org). The distillery, which is open to the public for tours and liquor purchase, is located in the town of Roscoe, NY (population- approx. 608), well known as the country’s favorite fly-fishing destination. Visit the intersection of Fitzgerald and Hemingway. www.roscoeny.com and www.prohibitiondistillery.com.