Death in the Afternoon

It’s unclear whether this drink was invented by Ernest Hemingway or just popularized by him, but it’s strong and dangerously simple to prepare. Absinthe usually has an alcohol content around 60-70% ABV, so true to its name, this cocktail is best enjoyed on a weekend afternoon when you have no pressing obligations.

1 part absinthe

3 parts chilled champagne or other sparkling white wine

Pour the absinthe and the champagne directly into a champagne flute or coupe. Serve immediately.

There’s a bit of debate as to the order that the ingredients should be mixed. Absinthe-first results in a more homogeneously mixed drink, but mixing champagne-first is said to add spectacle as the green absinthe filters slowly down through the bubbles. Of course the choice is yours, and I suggest ample experimentation.

Ernest Hemingway's Death in the Afternoon



Though James Bond, quintessential super spy and icon of debonair sophistication, prefers his trademark Martini “shaken, not stirred.” Ian Fleming’s character is credited with the invention of this variation, the Vesper. In the first Bond novel, Casino Royale, 007 pauses midway through ordering a traditional Martini and, as though struck by inspiration, amends his order with a specific set of instructions.

‘A dry martini,’ he said. ‘One. In a deep champagne goblet.’

‘Oui, monsieur.’

‘Just a moment. Three measures of Gordon’s [Gin], one of vodka, half a measure of Kina Lillet. Shake it very well until it’s ice-cold, then add a large thin slice of lemon peel. Got it?’

‘Certainly monsieur.’ The barman seemed pleased with the idea.

‘Gosh, that’s certainly a drink,’ said Leiter.

Bond laughed. ‘When I’m…er…concentrating,’ he explained, ‘I never have more than one drink before dinner. But I do like that one to be large and very strong and very cold, and very well-made. I hate small portions of anything, particularly when they taste bad. This drink’s my own invention. I’m going to patent it when I think of a good name.’

Well we finally found a bottle of Lillet in a PA liquor store and decided it was time to sample Bond’s creation. Lillet is a fortified white wine, very similar to vermouth, with the addition of several botanical and citrus notes. This makes the Vesper a more complex cocktail than the simplicity of a Martini, both in execution and in flavor. As devoted as I am to Martinis, it is possible to suffer from drink fatigue. The Vesper’s a nice way to mix things up a little if you still want to stay in the same neighborhood.


How did you get to Boozehound?

Updated: 12/08/11

Search terms are a funny thing – you can use them to answer a question, learn something new, find something old, and so on. When you look at the reverse side of search terms, and you find out how people got to your blog, it can be hilarious, enlightening, or just plain curious. We won’t get into the technical sides with SEOs and blah blah blahs, but here are some top picks from our site stats – and answers to a few questions people on the internet seem to have:

Kraken – the biggest leader on how people came to our blog is by searching for Kraken rum. From the one article we wrote at the very beginning we have gotten maybe 80% of our hits. People want to know what to mix it with – apparently lemonade and Kraken is a real thing that 43 people wanted to read about before daring to try. So the bottom line is: Yes, Kraken is good. It’s good with coke, and it’s good in a Dark and Stormy. We don’t know of The Kraken Gin or Kraken Brandy, but we’d love to try it if they made it. We wouldn’t put it in fruit punch (we don’t DO fruit punch for that matter) and we’d advise against a Kraken Daiquiri (use a white rum – all 4 of you). No, Kraken doesn’t need to be refrigerated. We advise against mixing Hendricks Gin and Kraken Rum.

“How does rose juice grenadine with tequila?” – Well… we’re not fans of how it does. I’m not a fan of Rose’s grenadine.

“All I have is brandy and triple sec what can I make” – Grab a lemon, because you’re having cheap sidecars tonight!

“limoncello premium danny devito” – Please, for the love of good booze, just make your own.

“how do you call vodka water and bar lime” – We call it just wrong. Change that water to soda water, squeeze a few “bar” limes (are those the pre-cut slices behind the bar that have been sitting out all day?), and have yourself a Vodka Rickey.

“popular pgh mixed drinks” – If you’re having a Pittsburgh themed party, unless you want to get creative, you’re probably thinking of our official city Boilermaker Imp’n’Arn. Easily done, it’s a shot of Imperial Whiskey dropped into a glass of Iron City Beer.

“can i drink martini rose with green olives?” – I’m going to take a shot here and assume you mean (1) a flavored gin cocktail with rose water or something equally delicious or (2) a Hendricks martini, which has rose notes. While you certainly can use olives, we would recommend against it – you probably don’t want a salty drink. Use a cucumber, citrus peel, or even some edible rose petals.

If this person did mean Martini & Rossi’s Rosé than… ew.

“the gimlets are back” – It’s true, and we hope that the next season of Mad Men will be on soon. We also loved it when we saw people searching for vodka men.

“cocktails named after authors or books recipe library “tequila mockingbird– For your next literary party also try Papa Dobles, Deaths in the Afternoon, Algonquins, Vespers and White Angels (from Breakfast at Tiffany’s – “half gin and half vodka, no vermouth”).

“can vodka be added to tea?” – No one’s stopping you, but you should probably do a hot toddy with whiskey and black tea (honey, lemon, cinnamon sticks, and so on optional) instead.

Do you also have a question? We’d love attempt to answer it.

Tequila Mockingbird

To finish out our series for National Tequila Day, we thought we’d wrap up with a nice after-dinner cocktail.  The Tequila Mockingbird, besides being really fun to order in a bar, is a minty, but not overly sweet drink. It’ll compliment a dessert, but isn’t one on its own.  Like any drink that features crème de menthe, be sure to adhere to the recipe closely, the mint flavor could easily overwhelm everything else in the drink.

2 ½ oz tequila

½ tsp white crème de menthe

1 Tbs lime juice

Fill a cocktail shaker halfway with ice.  Add all three ingredients and shake thoroughly.  Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Tequila Mockingbird - great for your next literary party, if you don't mind the pun. To Kill a Mockingbird, Tequila Mockingbird - ha!