Drink Like Hemingway: How to Make a Death in the Afternoon

Death in the Afternoon

Fans of Papa Hemingway’s work know all about how to drink from a wine skin at the festival of San Fermín in Pamplona, Spain.  When bar crawling in Havana, they know to get their daiquiris at El Floridita and their mojitos at La Bodeguita.  They are also well aware that Hemingway was an advocate of a mysterious and lesser known spirit known as absinthe.

Hemingway’s boozing was a part of his lifestyle that permeates his work.  It also lends itself to the larger-than-life stature of his personality off of the page.  One drink he repeatedly mentioned in his work was absinthe.  He was such a fan of the green colored liquor in real life that he used it to craft his signature cocktail.  This drink, which was printed in 1935, is called death in the afternoon. 

The ban on absinthe in the United States was lifted in 2007, allowing Americans to finally get a taste of the strong, green liquor.  As a result of exaggerated claims of the drink’s psychedelic properties, it was banned in 1915.  In reality, it’s just an extremely potent liquor.  It’s so strong, in fact, that Hemingway himself even claimed that drinking it would put hair on your chest.

Here is Hemingway’s recipe for death in the afternoon as it was originally printed in 1935.

Ernest Hemingway’s Death in the Afternoon Cocktail

Pour one jigger absinthe into a Champagne glass. Add iced Champagne until it attains the proper opalescent milkiness. Drink three to five of these slowly.

Here is a copy of the original recipe, complete with backstory:



If this backstory is true, the drink was created in true Hemingway style.  With absinthe now legal in the United States and across the world, this is a must try for any Hemingway fan.


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