Let’s Bring Back: The Cocktail Edition

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Remember this post?

(Actually, I’ll be seriously impressed if you do.) “Classics & Cocktails” was one of my first, written shortly after I turned 21 in Toledo, Ohio last summer. I was bored and lonely in my apartment one day, flipping through some classic literature I’d taken out of the library. I felt like going out, but my fellow interns were working the night shift (we often had opposite schedules) and I had no one to have a drink with.

So naturally, I decided to Google my favorite authors’ favorite drinks and write a post about it.

Classic literature and classic cocktails: what a perfect combination.

Well over a year later, at a book sale at work the other week, I found this gem. Let’s Bring Back: The Cocktail Edition by Lesley M. M. Blume, a journalist and author based in New York City. The cover drew me in initially (isn’t it preettyy?) but the content pushed me to buy it. It’s basically an entire book of classic cocktail recipes, along with humorous anecdotes about each one, bits of history, quotes and poems.

The Chicago Tribune called it “a charming slip of a book…that quite deliciously and convincingly has the romantics among us pining for the ways of the dearly held past.”

Definitely my kind of thing.

My favorite page. Poets Dream: for a “literary” slumber.

In Ms. Blume’s introduction to the book, she writes:

“It’s great fun not only to revisit the stories behind the creation of these cocktails, but also to imagine the millions of narratives caused by drinking them. The following libations caused faces to be slapped, tears to be shed, babies to be made, fox trots and the Twist to be danced, marriage proposals to be uttered (and perhaps rescinded,) and so on.”

She continues, more seriously:

“The people who drank these drinks during the heights of their popularity did so for the same reasons we guzzle today’s trendy cocktails: to celebrate, to escape, to drown sorrows, to feel bigger, to feel glamorous–or feel nothing at all.”

As tongue in cheek as most of the book is, it also touches on the deeper theme of why people drink, why socializing over alcohol has persisted so strongly throughout history.

For now, Let’s Bring Back: The Cocktail Edition is tucked neatly into my bookshelf. But as soon as I have my own apartment in a city, I’m going to make use of this book and hold an epic throwback cocktail party, unapologetically artsy and decidedly literary.

Either that, or I’ll go find a way back to go back to the grandeur of 20s nightlife, Owen Wilson style.

Fictional Cheers, Hemingway.

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One thought on “Let’s Bring Back: The Cocktail Edition

  1. Let us not forget our winged friend,
    whose fidelty to Bacchus caused his early end. (described here by Phillip Freneau
    Thou born to sip the lake or spring,
    Or quaff the waters of the stream,
    Why hither come on vagrant wing?–
    Does Bacchus tempting seem–
    Did he, for you, the glass prepare?–
    Will I admit you to a share?

    Did storms harrass or foes perplex,
    Did wasps or king-birds bring dismay–
    Did wars distress, or labours vex,
    Or did you miss your way?–
    A better seat you could not take
    Than on the margin of this lake.

    Welcome!–I hail you to my glass:
    All welcome, here, you find;
    Here let the cloud of trouble pass,
    Here, be all care resigned.–
    This fluid never fails to please,
    And drown the griefs of men or bees.

    What forced you here, we cannot know,
    And you will scarcely tell–
    But cheery we would have you go
    And bid a glad farewell:
    On lighter wings we bid you fly,
    Your dart will now all foes defy.

    Yet take not oh! too deep a drink,
    And in the ocean die;
    Here bigger bees than you might sink,
    Even bees full six feet high.
    Like Pharaoh, then, you would be said
    To perish in a sea of red.

    Do as you please, your will is mine;
    Enjoy it without fear–
    And your grave will be this glass of wine,
    Your epitaph–a tear–
    Go, take your seat in Charon’s boat,
    We’ll tell the hive, you died afloat.

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