“First you take a drink, then the drink takes a drink, then the drink takes you.”
—F. Scott Fitzgerald
With the aim to bring together the childhood pastime of summer reading and the adulthood pastime of drinking, here's a roundup of American literature’s best drinkers and where to honor them at local watering holes.
Book: The Garden of Eden
Montrose patio bar Boheme touts a refreshing, tasty mojito available frozen or on the rocks. Not too sweet, not too sharp, it’s perfect for summer sipping, especially when diving into The Garden of Eden, about a young American couple vacationing in the South of France in the 1920s. In the novel, published posthumously, a novelist (of course) and his wife spend time skinny dipping, getting leathery dark tans, getting blackout-drunk and inviting a local girl into their bedroom. By our estimate the plot is about 85 percent autobiographical.
F. Scott Fitzgerald
Book: The Great Gatsby
Drink: Ginned Jubilee
Fitzgerald preferred to drink gin because he thought it was undetectable on his breath. False. Anyway, he was known for crashing parties in his pajamas, jumping in fountains and falling down flights of stairs, so you didn’t have to smell his breath to know he was plastered. In honor of the author, try Anvil’s Ginned Jubilee, which provides a summery kick with blood orange–infused dry gin, lemon and bitter orange Aperol. Enjoy responsibly/stay away from pajamas and fountains.
Book: Big Sur
Drink: “Oak Cross” Scotch Whisky
Bar: Public Services
Kerouac’s true-to-life story takes on both alcoholism and the literary world. Now, not to condone getting hammered on hard liquor to the degree Kerouac would, but we recommend a stiff drink from Public Services. The downtown bar, which used to be the Cotton Exchange Building, comes complete with high ceilings, dark woods and comfy armchairs, perfect for cozying up with an evening read before the crowds settle in on warm summer nights.
Book: As I Lay Dying
Drink: Mint Julep
Faulkner loved to concoct his own mint juleps, especially during typing sessions at his estate in Oxford, Mississippi. If the writer were still alive, he'd surely love the drinks at Julep on Washington. Try the classic recipe with Four Roses and Old Grand Dad 100 bourbons or, for something with a little extra kick, try the Spiced Julep with Jamaican rum, allspice, cinnamon and cloves.
Book: The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter
Drink: Coffee and Beer
Bar: The Honeymoon
McCullers kept everything within arm’s reach including her notes, typewriter, coffee, cigs, morning beer and other alcoholic beverages. Eesh, her room must have been a pit. Between writing sessions, she was known to mix brandy with coffee then get back to work after an ice cold beer. McCullers fans can head downtown to the charming The Honeymoon, which offers both espresso drinks and a full list of beer and cocktails.