Back in early 1937, Ernest Hemingway invented the perfect cocktail for dark times.
He called it “Death in the Gulf Stream," and it was created to drown a dismal year in which the U.S. was in economic recession, Joseph Stalin was murdering his countrymen, open warfare was breaking out between China and Japan, and the Spanish Civil War was grinding up that nation.
Ernest was living in Key West at the time, and had just published To Have and Have Not, a novel about a down-on-his-luck fishing boat captain forced to smuggle contraband between that a town at the end of the world and Cuba just over the horizon.
So how do you make a “Death in the Gulf Stream"? Here's Hemingway's directions, in his own words:
- Take a tall thin water tumbler and fill it with finely cracked ice.
- Lace this broken debris with 4 good purple splashes of Angostura, add the juice and crushed peel of 1 green lime, and fill glass almost full with Holland gin.
- No sugar, no fancying. It’s strong, it’s bitter — but so is English ale strong and bitter, in many cases.
- We don’t add sugar to ale, and we don’t need sugar in a “Death in the Gulf Stream” — or at least not more than 1 tsp. Its tartness and its bitterness are its chief charm.
Below is your friendly scribe's very own hand, holding the paw of a six-toed cat sleeping on Ernest Hemingway's bed in Key West. No, I have never had a "Death in the Gulf Stream" -- I don't drink.