Ernest Hemingway gave us many things. To start, he wrote some of the most lauded works in the modern literary canon—For Whom the Bell Tolls and The Old Man and the Sea just to name a few.
Hemingway’s other contribution? Cocktails, lots and lots of cocktails.
While it’s important to acknowledge he didn’t always single-handedly invent these drinks—or maybe even drink them—who is to say that the Hemingway daiquiri, a Maraschino liqueur-spiked variation on the classic rum cocktail, would exist without him? Or that the applejack-based Jack Rose would have solidified its place in the classic cocktail canon had it not been featured prominently in his novel The Sun Also Rises. Hemingway’s love for a good drink continues to inspire today’s bartenders, as with this dessert-like milk punch cocktail, which was inspired by Hemingway’s love of rum and Key lime pie.
According to The Oxford Companion to Spirits & Cocktails, you can also thank him for Death in the Afternoon. Hemingway supposedly came up with the recipe in 1932; it shares the name of his book that came out the same year, which explores the tradition of bull fighting in Spain. Later, in 1935, the recipe was published in So Red the Nose or Breath in the Afternoon, a celebrity cocktail book.
Without further ado, here’s how to make one of the many drinks in Hemingway’s cocktail cannon.
How to Make a Death in the Afternoon Cocktail
Recipe by Jacy Topps
Pour absinthe into a coupe.
Slowly top with the Champagne.
What Does a Death in the Afternoon Cocktail Taste Like?
“Absinthe tastes like black licorice,” says Jacy Topps, print assistant editor and Languedoc-Roussillon and Vin de France reviewer at Wine Enthusiast. “So, it tastes like black licorice with a burst of effervescent.”
Who Invented the Death in the Afternoon Cocktail?
According to The Oxford Companion to Spirits & Cocktails, the writer Ernest Hemingway came up with the recipe back in 1932.
What’s In a Death in the Afternoon Cocktail?
Death in the Afternoon is one of the simplest cocktails out there. It only has two ingredients: absinthe and Champagne. If this easy-to-whip-up drink appeals to you, we’ve got plenty more two-ingredient cocktails to check out.
Last Updated: June 27, 2023