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Cocktail hour with F. Scott Fitzgerald

Cocktail hour with F. Scott Fitzgerald

In this month's issue, writer and academic Sarah Churchwell explores the impact made by the first ever recorded piece of confessional journalism, F. Scott Fitzgerald's Crack-Up essays. Originally published in US Esquire by founding editor Arnold Gingrich, the essays paved the way for the gut spilling Twitter generation of today. For the full article see our January issue, on the newsstand now.

Alongside being one of the most prolific writers of his time, Fitzgerald - by all accounts - was also a bit of a lush. So, despite his four alcohol induced breakdowns, we're celebrating his love of booze by instructing you how to recreate a few of his favourite cocktails. We advise you invest in some gin.

The Bailey
Gerald Murphy, Fitzgerald's life-long patron and a character upon whom Tender is the Night is based, was a central figure in social and cultural life during France's Jazz Age, and it's said that Gerald himself taught Fitzgerald how to drink at his legendary cocktail parties on the French Riviera. His cocktail of choice was the refreshing, gin-based (no suprises there then) "Bailey", which Fitzgerald was said to enjoy, regularly.

Ingredients -
100ml gin
2 tbsp grapefruit juice
2 tbsp lime juice
Sprigs of mint

Method -
Put gin and torn mint sprigs in an ice-filled shaker. Add grapefruit juice, stir, and garnish with whole mint sprig.

The Gin Rickey
Fitzgerald's passion for gin apparently stemmed from the belief that it could not be detected on the breath - though his raucous behaviour at the parties he and his wife Zelda so often attended no doubt revealed the truth. A boozer in the truest sense of the term, Fitzgerald's favourite tipple was the gin rickey. Though the rickey can be made with everything from scotch to rum, the gin-based version endured, no doubt due to Fitzgerald's hearty endorsement.

Ingredients -
75ml gin
2 tbsp lime juice
Glug of club soda
Lime wheel

Method -
Pour gin and lime juice into a chilled highball glass filled with ice cubes. Top with club soda, and stir gently. Garnish with lime wheel. Serve with two straws.

The Seelbach Cocktail
Serving as the backdrop to Tom and Daisy Buchanan’s wedding in Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby, Kentucy's Seelbach hotel is almost as famous for it's cocktail list as it is for its fictional heritage. The hotel's intoxicating namesake, the Seelbach Cocktail, was created pre-prohibition in the early 1900's before disappearing off the menu for a good 80 years. We've got our hands on the recipe, it's a complex little number and well worth a mix.

Ingredients -
30ml bourbon
15ml Cointreau
7 dashes Angostura Bitters
7 dashes Peychaud’s Bitters
15ml champagne

Method -
Chill a champagne flute, then build the cocktail in the glass. First, add the bourbon, followed by Cointreau and bitters. Top with champagne and garnish with a lemon twist.

Words by Teo van den Broeke