Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Maugham's Cocktail - Even Gods of Olympus Would Fall!


This post is going to have an unusual bend. As the title suggests, it's about a cocktail; one that Maugham mentions in The Razor's Edge. No name is given, and from my un-whole-heartedly-search (meaning not thoroughly unto the third or fourth pages of Google search results), no reference has been rendered.

The Razor's Edge (1944) And Booze


Interestingly, alcohol plays quite an important role in this story of Larry Darrell, an American (supposedly materialist) turned mystic, when the main part of the story unfolds during the prohibition in the United States in the Post-World War I era.

First, there is the zubrovka which plays an important part structurally and symbolically in the plot, the culprit that leads to Sophie MacDonald's second downfall —and in a way, as Maugham points out to Isabel Maturin at the end, her eventual death—, the only person that Larry would have married, and thus has the power to change the directions of events that happen afterwards.

Not so tightly weaved into the story is another drink that Maugham mentions in passing; here I quote:
Antoine, the manservant, brought in a tray with an array of bottles and Isabel, always tactful, knowing that nine men out of ten are convinced they can mix a better cocktail than any woman (and they're right), asked me to shake a couple. I poured out the gin and the Noilly-Prat and added the dash of absinthe that transforms a dry Martini from a nondescript drink to one for which the gods of Olympus would undoubtedly have abandoned their home-brewed nectar, a beverage that I have always thought must have been rather like Coca-Cola. (The Razor's Edge. London: Heinemann, 1944. 270)

Maugham's Cocktail Recipe


The recipes I have found for cocktails with Noilly-Prat usually have other things, which don't turn out to be much to my taste. I follow what Maugham writes and I have been drinking it for weeks now, intercalating with Manhattan (which, by the way, I read somewhere that it is also one of Maugham's favourites, but I liked it before I got hooked up with Maugham; one wishes, under such circumstance, abilities are thus easily acquired as similarity in taste...).

My recipe is half half gin and Noilly-Prat, and then a drop of absinthe, the smallest one can pour directly from the bottle. Ice cubes and shake and there you go.

Great for the end of the day with a book in hand, and of course, for intelligent conversation with friends!

No comments :

Post a Comment