Backpack? Check. Reading list? Check. Cocktail supplies? Oh wait, that last part wasn’t for the kids. Whether you’re in grad school or a parent with kids returning to class, back-to-school season means picking up some classic literature (or at least the SparkNotes version of it).
While the study guides may help you along with characters and plot, they often miss the classic cocktails practically dripping from the pages of so many of the world’s great books. Don’t believe us? Grab a glass and pull up a chair: here are a few of our favorite literary libations.
The Sir Walter Scott
Often hailed as the world’s first popular novelist, Sir Walter was so influential in the realms of writing and whiskey drinkers that he’s associated with two classic cocktails: The Rob Roy, based on the titular character in his 1817 novel, and the Sir Walter Scott, so named for the man himself.
Combine all of the ingredients in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Cover and shake well, then taste and adjust sweetening as desired. Pour the cocktail over ice into an Old Fashioned glass and serve.
The Rob Roy
Combine the Scotch, vermouth, and bitters in a shaker or mixing glass. Stir to combine and strain the mixture into a chilled martini or highball glass. Garnish with a cherry.
The Moloko Plus
This cocktail has its roots in Anthony Burgess’s “A Clockwork Orange,” so you know it’s a bit, shall we say, unusual. It first appears at the popular hangout, the Korova Milk Bar, and, according to main character Alex, the cocktail was: “sold milk-plus, milk plus vellocet or synthemesc or drencrom, which is what we were drinking. This would sharpen you up and make you ready for a bit of the old ultraviolence.” That whole ultraviolence thing is a bit of a buzzkill, so this version offers a different, and more legal twist that will make you ready for a bit of the old ultrarelaxing instead.
3 oz milk, infused with cardamom
½ oz simple syrup
2 ounces Petty’s Island Rum from Cooper River Distillers
½ oz Harlequin or other orange liqueur
2 dashes Angostura bitters
2 ounces Blanc de Blanc sparkling wine from Tomasello Winery
Combine all ingredients — except the sparkling wine — in a cocktail shaker with ice. Cover and shake well, then strain into a cocktail glass. Top with a splash of the sparkling wine.
This gin-and-juice cocktail was all the rage during the time of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s masterpiece: “The Great Gatsby.” In fact, Gatsby had a juicer installed in the kitchen to help keep up with the demand at his legendary parties: “Every Friday five crates of oranges and lemons arrived from a fruiterer in New York — every Monday these same oranges and lemons left his back door in a pyramid of pulpless halves. There was a machine in the kitchen which could extract the juice of two hundred oranges in half an hour if a little button was pressed two hundred times by a butler’s thumb.” In this version, we’re using Jersey-born gin. Perhaps we should rename this cocktail the Essex County, after the location of Jersey Spirits Distilling Co.?
1½ oz DSP.7 gin from Jersey Spirits Distilling Co.
½ oz orange juice
Then ½ oz Dolin sweet vermouth
½ oz Dolin dry vermouth
Maraschino cherry, for garnish (optional)
Combine the gin, juice, and both vermouths in a mixing glass. Shake well, and strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with a cherry, if desired.
And, as always, drink responsibly.
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About the author: Michele Thomas is professionally curious; she likes to learn stuff. A certified sommelier with 15 years of experience writing about food, wine, education and the arts, she chronicles her wine escapades as the Bed–Stuy Sommelier (@BedStuySomm) on Instagram and Twitter.