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Pick Your Poison: How to Make Famous Artists’ Favorite Drinks

Disclaimer: Don’t drink if you’re not of legal age.

English playwright Noël Coward suggested that the ideal martini should be made by “filling a glass with gin then waving it in the general direction of Italy”. Luis Buñuel considered it enough to hold up a glass of gin next to a bottle of vermouth and let a beam of sunlight pass through. For generations artists, writers, performers and every breed of creative beings have had strong and conflicting relationships with alcohol. Some like the artists below have gone on record to share their favourite tipple. Looking at artists and their favorite drinks makes us look at another facet of how creative workers live. You can follow the recipes below to make these drinks yourself.

The following favorite drinks and yummy recipes come with a common sense warning to be responsible. F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote to his editor about Tender is The Night and claimed he deeply regretted the dangerous hold alcohol had on his writing. He said, “I would give anything if I hadn’t had to write Part III of Tender Is the Night entirely on stimulate,” he said to his editor Perkins,  “If I had one more crack at it cold sober I believe it might have made a great difference.” Fitzgerald also commented, “first you take a drink, then the drink takes a drink, then the drink takes you.”

"LOVE GIN" by Lorena Vigil-Escalera

1. Charles Bukowski’s Boilermaker

Writer Charles Bukowski loved his Boilermakers. It’s a pretty rudimentary process to make one. Grab a pint of beer, a shot of whiskey, and drop that bad boy in the pint and chug it in one go. It’s very similar to a Jägerbomb or an Irish Car Bomb, which while they may be kind of gross, they certainly serve a purpose. To each their own.

Make Your Own


  • 15 oz draft beer
  • 1 1/2 oz blended whiskey


  1. Pour a shot of whiskey in a standard shot glass.
  2. Fill a pint glass with beer.
  3. Drop the shot glass into the beer and chug that.

"Irish Whiskey" by Ken Powers

2. F. Scott & Zelda Fitzgerald’s Gin Rickey

Folklore has it that this drink was named after a patron in a bar in Washington DC in the late 1800s, early 1900s. The bar was a popular post-work drinks watering hole for government workers.  It was named after Colonel “Joe” Rickey, a lobbyist who died in 1903. A Gin Rickey basically substitutes the Tonic in Gin and Tonics for Soda water. It was the favorite drink of Zelda and F. Scott, and if any couple throughout history knew how to drink with intent and dedication it was arguably the Fitzgeralds.

Make Your Own


  • 2 ounces gin
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Club Soda
  • Lime


  1. Fill a glass with ice.
  2. Pour the gin and lime juice over the ice.
  3. Top with club soda.
  4. Garnish with a lime wedge.

"Margarita" by nealcampbell

3. Jack Kerouac’s Tequila Margarita

This was a surprising one, I imagined Kerouac’s favorite drink to be a bourbon or whiskey, or simply ethanol siphoned straight from an automobile. Tequila Margaraita’s are a classic, and you can follow the simple yet genius recipe below to make your own at home (next great American novella not included).


  • 1 1/2 ounces tequila
  • 1/2 ounce Cointreau or other triple sec
  • 1 ounce fresh lime juice
  • Lime wedge
  • Salt or sugar to rim the glass


  1. Pour the ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice.
  2. Shake. Shake. Shake.
  3. Salt the rim of a cold glass.
  4. Pour contents, with ice, into the glass.
  5. Garnish with the lime wedge.

"Mojito!" by Teo Zirinis

4. Dorothy Parker’s (and Anne Sexton’s & Humphrey Bogart’s) Gin Martini

“I love to drink Martinis,
Two at the very most,
Three I’m under the table,
Four I’m under the host.”
– Dorothy Parker

Writer Dorothy Parker was the queen of witticisms and sharp commentary, she is known for having said, “The first thing I do in the morning is brush my teeth and sharpen my tongue.”  This extended to her appreciation of her drink the classic Gin Martini. There’s even a brand of gin named after her. There’s a zillion ways to make a Gin Martini, so it’s best customized to your taste, with lemons, onions olives or extra Gin.

Make Your Own


  • 2 1/2 ounces gin
  • 1/2 ounce dry vermouth
  • 1 or 3,  olives or lemon twist
  • Orange or Angostura bitters


  1. Pour the ingredients into a glass with ice cubes.
  2. Stir. Stir. Stir.
  3. Strain into a cold cocktail glass.
  4. Add a dash of orange or Angostura bitters
  5. Garnish with the olive or lemon twist.

"A scotch for you!" by Wildi

5. Raymond Carver’s Vodka Bloody Mary

American writer Raymond Carver preferred to drink his veggies via a Vodka Bloody Mary. Towards the end of his life he was noted as reflecting upon his drinking,

Of course there’s a mythology that goes along with the drinking, but I was never into that. I was into the drinking itself. I suppose I began to drink heavily after I’d realized that the things I’d wanted most in life for myself and my writing, and my wife and children, were simply not going to happen. It’s strange. You never start out in life with the intention of becoming a bankrupt or an alcoholic or a cheat and a thief. Or a liar.”

Make Your Own


  • 3 ounces tomato juice
  • 1 1/2 ounces vodka
  • 1/2 ounce lemon juice
  • 1 dash of Worcestershire sauce
  • Celery salt
  • Ground pepper
  • Hot pepper sauce to taste
  • Horseradish to taste (optional)
  • Celery stalk and/or pickle spear for garnish
  • Lemon or Lime wedges to taste

Preparation: pour all the liquid into a glass over ice.

  1. Build up the ingredients into a chilled glass. Stir well.
  2. Add the seasonings to taste.
  3. Garnish with a lemon or lime and celery or pickle.

Absinthe" by Leila A. Fortier

6. Edgar Degas’ (Édouard Manet, Pablo Picasso and Oscar Wilde’s) Absinthe

“Let me be mad…mad with the madness of Absinthe. The wildest, most luxurious madness in the world.”
– Marie Corelli

Absinthe was given to French troops in the early 1800s as a Malaria preventive. Most of it is nearly 100 proof, so be careful when consuming and apply liberally as a cleaning product or home surgery disinfectant. It’s interesting that mostly creative visual artists preferred Absinthe, and Hemingway was undoubtedly a fan when he said, “One cup of [absinthe] took the place… of all the things he had enjoyed and forgotten and that came back to him when he tasted that opaque, bitter, tongue-numbing, brain-warming, stomach-warming, idea-changing liquid alchemy.”

Make Your Own

  1. Pour between 1 and 1 1/2 ounces of absinthe into an absinthe glass, or similar stemmed glass.
  2. Place a sugar cube on an absinthe spoon (a flat silver spoon pierced with holes) and lay the spoon across the top of the glass rim.
  3. Slowly pour cold water onto the sugar, just enough to saturate it, and allow it to set until the sugar cube begins to dissolve.
  4. Pour more water over the sugar, again slowly, until the desired dilution is found and the sugar is completely dissolved. Most commonly the ratio is between 3 and 5 parts water to 1 part absinthe. As the water hits the liquor a white cloudiness, called the louche, will swirl through the liquid, creating quite the spectacle and releasing the absinthe’s herbal bouquet.
  5. After the louche has been allowed to rest, stir in the remaining and undissolved sugar.
  6. Sit down and slowly enjoy your absinthe.

"Margarita!" by Teo Zirinis