Two Drink Maximum — ‘A Drinkable Feast,’ at the Morristown Festival of Books

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A little history:  The Eighteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, ratified in 1919, prohibited the production, transport and sale of intoxicating liquors.

Philip Greene – A Drinkable Feast

In response to prohibition (and other reasons), key U.S. artistic figures departed the US.  They enjoyed a convivial welcome in Paris, a scene that included the likes of James Joyce, Ernest Hemingway, Ezra Pound, Zelda and F. Scott Fitzgerald, Gertrude Stein, and Josephine Baker.

They had no intention of staying sober.

Modern Flappers: Kelly Gorman, Kristie Revicki and Susan D’Alessandro, at Roaring '20s talk at the 2018 Morristown Festival of Books. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
Modern Flappers: Kelly Gorman, Kristie Revicki and Susan D’Alessandro, at Roaring ’20s talk at the 2018 Morristown Festival of Books. Photo by Kevin Coughlin

Paris became the cultural, artistic and literary epicenter of the world during the Roaring 20’s.  In parallel, the City of Light also became known for its bars, cocktails and hedonism.

The story was told to us Saturday by Philip Greene, author of A Drinkable Feast, as the closing chapter of the fifth annual Morristown Festival of Books.

Greene shared photographs old and new, and read snippets from the great writers’ references to bars and cocktails of their day, in the packed Great Hall of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church

Interestingly, a small but significant number of (1) bars/night-clubs/hotels and (2) cocktail recipes from Roaring 20s Paris still survive.

Back in the kitchen

Two iconic cocktails were served along with the history:

The French 75 Cocktail – pure alcohol – 1.5 ounces of London Dry gin, 1 teaspoon Pernod anise (instead of absinthe) 1/3 ounce fresh lemon juice, 3-4 ounces of champagne or sparkling wine

 

Volunteer Joan Sturm staffs the sales table at 2018 Morristown Festival of Books. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
Volunteer Joan Sturm staffs the sales table at 2018 Morristown Festival of Books. Photo by Kevin Coughlin

The Jack Rose Cocktail – 1.5 ounces of applejack or Calvodos, 3/4 ounce of gin, 3/4 ounce of fresh lemon/lime juice, 1/3 ounce of dry vermouth, 1/3 ounce of weet vermouth, “grenadine to colour,” i.e about 1/3 ounce, and lemon or lime peal for garnish.

Both to be shaken with ice and strained.

Cheers.

 

 

 

 

MORE ABOUT THE 2018 MORRISTOWN FESTIVAL OF BOOKS

THERE ARE SOME BENEFITS TO BEING A VOLUNTEER: Volunteers prepare cocktails for Roaring 20s lecture, at the 2018 Morristown Festival of Books. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
THERE ARE SOME BENEFITS TO BEING A VOLUNTEER: Volunteers prepare cocktails for Roaring 20s lecture, at the 2018 Morristown Festival of Books. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
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3 COMMENTS

  1. When I read the article, I thought the point the author was making that all these figures know in the US art circles were there. She did not say they were born here. She did said prohibition and other reasons, were why they happened to be there at that time. Just shows that even when we read the same story, we don’t always see it in the same way.

  2. Interesting — and wildly incorrect — opening paragraph to a very short but nicely positive review of what sounds like a good evening.
    – Hemingway’s first name is spelled “Ernest,” not “Earnest;” he and his wife Hadley moved to Paris in late 1921 because it was cheaper to live there than in the U.S., because that’s where innovative art and literature were being created, and because he wrangled an overseas assignment from his employer, the Toronto Star. (There was no Prohibition in Canada.)
    – James Joyce was Irish, a Dublin native living in Paris; he was not American, although he was an expat. (There was no Prohibition in Ireland.)
    – Gertrude Stein did not move to Paris because of Prohibition; she (and her brother Leo) moved there in 1903 (16 years before Prohibition).
    – And Josephine Baker most certainly did not move to Paris because of Prohibition; try Jim Crow.
    But it is true that good booze was to be had in 1920s Paris and it does sound like a lovely evening was had by all and, judging from Mr. Greene’s first book), this one should be a pip too!

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