Like any other form of art, literature’s influence is felt far and wide—even in our cocktails! Whether you’re looking for a delicious solution to the day’s stresses, or are just looking for a refreshing take on Sherlock Holmes’ drink of choice, these literary inspired cocktails are sure to pair well with your reading list.
Champagne Cocktail, inspired by The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Looking forward to major parties this summer at your enigmatic friend’s house in the Hamptons? Do it up Gatsby style with this refreshing, bubbly cocktail.
1 sugar cube
Lemon or orange twist
Soak the sugar cube in Angoustura bitters. Place the sugar cube at the bottom of the champagne flute and pour the Champagne over it, allowing the sugar to dissolve slightly. Top with an orange or lemon twist.
Download The Great Gatsby
Esther Greenwood’s Vodka (Martini), inspired by The Bell Jar, by Sylvia Plath
In Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar, Esther Greenwood orders a “vodka, just a vodka,” because she’s not real sure what she’s doing. You know better.
2 oz vodka
Fill a cocktail glass with full ice. Add desired amount of vermouth (half a cap full for dry), and stir. Poor out excess vermouth. Add 2 oz of vodka, and stir. Garnish with a lemon twist or olives.
Download The Bell Jar
Bloody Carrie, inspired by Carrie, by Stephen King
Though the horror master gave up substances a long time ago, we’d like to think he’d get a kick out of a bloody cocktail named for his first novel—even if it’s virgin. There are lots of ingredients that go into a great Bloody Mary. Try a variation by adding gin instead of vodka, or tequila for a Bloody Maria.
The Boo Radley, inspired by To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
Named after Scout’s mysterious neighbor in To Kill a Mockingbird, the Boo Radley is a riff on a classic Southern concoction called The Creole Cocktail, which first appeared in 1916.
2 oz bourbon
3/4 oz Cynar
1/2 oz Cherry herring
Add all ingredients to a mixing glass. Stir until chilled. Strain into coupe or cocktail glass. Express a lemon or orange peel over the cocktail.
ownload To Kill a Mockingbird
Long Island Iced Tea, inspired by American novelist Carson McCullers
Carson McCullers liked to fill her thermos full of hot tea and sherry, her drink of choice when she was writing. Toast Carson with a boozy Long Island Iced Tea, a refreshing (but strong!) version for summer nights.
1⁄2 oz. gin
1⁄2 oz. vodka
1⁄2 oz. tequila
1⁄2 oz. light rum
1⁄2 oz. Cointreau
3⁄4 oz. lemon juice
Top with cola
Pour all ingredients except cola and garnish into a cocktail shaker filled with ice cubes. Shake, and then strain into a Collins glass filled with ice cubes. Add cola until color of tea. Garnish with lemon wedge.
Download The Heart is a Lonely Hunter
The Catcher in the Rye, inspired by The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger
This one might not come with at witty name, but luckily Salinger already had that covered since Rye is a grain used to make whiskey. Bourbon’s less sugary cousin is the focus of this spirit-forward cocktail inspired by the author’s classic novel.
1 1/2 oz Rye (Sazerac 6 Year)
1 oz Amontillado Sherry (Lustau Dry)
1/2 oz Torani Amer
1/4 oz Grand Marnier
1 dash Angoustura bitters
Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with an orange twist.
Buy/Download The Catcher in the Rye
Sherlock Holmes’s Signature Cocktail, inspired by The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Holmes’ preferred beverage gets you through those long and stormy nights when you’re out on the moors, trying to solve a murder.
1 1/2 ounces single-malt Scotch, preferably Laphroaig
2 ounces chilled brewed Lapsang souchong tea
1 ounce Honey Syrup
3/4 ounce fresh lemon juice
Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Add all of the remaining ingredients and stir well. Double strain into a chilled coupe.
Download The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes
The Ramos Gin Fizz, inspired by A Streetcar Named Desire, by Tennessee Williams
Toast the delights of New Orleans with one of its most famous cocktails, The Ramos Gin Fizz. Just don’t have too many or you might be out on the streets, yelling for Stella.
1/4 cup (2 ounces) gin
1 dash (3 to 4 drops) orange blossom water (also called orange flower water)
1 large egg white
1 tablespoon (1/2 ounce) half-and-half
1 tablespoon (1/2 ounce) fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon (1/2 ounce) fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon (1/2 ounce) simple syrup
1 cup ice cubes
2 tablespoons (1 ounce) seltzer
In large cocktail shaker, combine gin, orange blossom water, egg white, half-and-half, lemon juice, lime juice, and simple syrup. Shake vigorously for 25 seconds. Add ice and shake for 30 more seconds.
Strain mixture into an 8-ounce glass. Slowly pour soda water down the edge of shaker to loosen remaining froth. Gently ease soda water/froth mix onto drink and serve.
Download A Streetcar Named Desire
Moloko Punch, inspired by A Clockwork Orange, by Anthony Burgess
Trick Dog, a San Francisco bar, created a real life version of Alex’s drink of choice in A Clockwork Orange, Moloko Punch. Though hopefully it doesn’t “make you ready for a bit of the old ultra-violence,” it is dangerously drinkable.
2 ounces rum (preferably Eldorado 12 year)
1/2 ounce Del Maguey Crema de Mezcal
1/2 ounce Bénédictine
3 ounces cardamom-infused milk (see Editor’s note)
1 barspoon simple syrup (1:1, sugar:water)
2 dashes orange bitters, Angostura
2 ounces sparkling wine
Add all ingredients (except sparkling wine) to a cocktail shaker. Add ice and shake until chilled.
Strain into a highball glass. Add 2 ounces of chilled, sparkling wine.
Editor’s note: Crack 1/4 cup of cardamom pods. Add to 1 pint of whole milk and 1 pint of half and half in a saucepan. Keep over low heat for around 30 minutes. Strain. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator until ready to use.
Download A Clockwork Orange
Painkiller Cocktail, from A Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley
In Aldous Huxley’s dystopian vision in A Brave New World, everyone’s hooked on Soma, a happy pill that let’s them feel no pain. The painkiller cocktail might not solve all your problems, but it comes awfully close.
2 oz Pusser’s Rum
4 oz Pineapple juice
1 oz Orange juice
1 oz Cream of coconut
Add all the ingredients to a Hurricane glass or large snifter and fill with ice.
Stir to combine and garnish with an orange wedge, a cherry, and freshly grated nutmeg.
Download A Brave New World
Featured still from "The Great Gatsby" via Paramount Pictures