Hemingway, on the rocks
Published: Saturday, July 6, 2013 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, July 5, 2013 at 2:02 p.m.
One piece of evidence many use to support the long-standing claim that the mojito was Ernest Hemingway's favorite drink is a handwritten sign that hangs in La Bodeguita del Medio, a bar in Havana, Cuba.
If you go
What: “An Evening With Hemingway,” authors Philip Greene and Raúl Villarreal share Hemingway history and cocktails. Proceeds benefit Santa Fe College student scholarships
When: 7 p.m. July 12
Where: Cellar 12, 12 SE Second Ave., downtown Gainesville
Tickets: $100 per person. Donors are made patrons of the Santa Fe College Fine Arts programs for the next year. For tickets, go to http://bit.ly/15zBENb.
Drink like Hemingway
Recipes from “To Have and Have Another, A Hemingway Cocktail Companion,” by Philip Greene
2 ounces London dry gin
1 ounce Rose's Lime Juice Cordial (more or less to vary sweetness)
Shake well with ice; strain into chilled cocktail glass.
1¾ ounce London dry gin
1/8 ounce French (dry) vermouth (Noilly Prat)
Stir well in a mixing glass with plenty of ice; strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a couple of frozen Spanish cocktail onions or a chilled garlic onion.
The inscription reads, "My mojito in La Bodeguita, My daiquiri in El Floridita," with the author's signature.
But if you ask author Philip Greene, Hemingway's drink of preference was actually a cold dry martini, and the chance those fabled words are false is as high as the martini's ratio of gin to vermouth — about 10:1.
Two Hemingway scholars hope to dispel this and other misrepresentations about Hemingway at July 12's "An Evening With Hemingway," a Santa Fe College Foundation fundraiser for student scholarships.
But guests of this roughly three-hour event will be treated to more than literature. There will be cocktails, too.
Attendees will sample drinks at three bar areas, each reminiscent of a different time period in Hemingway's literary career, said Kathryn Lehman, Santa Fe College's cultural programs coordinator, in a press release. The beverages will be complemented by a full-course meal with a Caribbean and French flare.
Hemingway, whose birthday is July 21, is considered one of the greatest writers of the 20th century. His best-known works include "The Sun Also Rises," "For Whom the Bell Tolls," "A Farewell to Arms," "A Moveable Feast" and "The Old Man and the Sea," the latter for which he won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 1953. Hemingway was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1954.
Although certain perceptions about the author's life can be as fictitious as his own stories, there is one undisputed fact: The man was a heavy drinker. That was evident in three crucial periods in Hemingway's life and writing.
Philip Greene's book, "To Have and Have Another, A Hemingway Cocktail Companion," explores the history of cocktails set in the context of Hemingway's life and travels. The book includes recipes of Hemingway's favorite drinks, as described in his novels, followed by suggested readings of the American author's works.
Throughout Greene's book, examples of Hemingway's references to drinks and drinking abound. The martini is featured in at least five of Hemingway's novels and is mentioned often in his letters, Greene writes in "To Have and Have Another."
"He didn't write casually," said Greene, who is the founding member of the Museum of the American Cocktail in New Orleans, of Hemingway's style. "He threw everything into his writing. And if (alcohol) is what fueled the great literary minds of the 1930s (and) '40s, then so be it."
The second guest presenter takes on Hemingway's life from a different perspective. "Hemingway's Cuban Son: Reflections on the Writer by His Longtime Majordomo," written by author and artist Raúl Villarreal with his father, Rene Villarreal, is a memoir of the elder Villarreal's time as Hemingway's mayordomo (butler) at Finca Vigia, Hemingway's Cuban estate outside of Havana.
Rene Villarreal was 17 when he became Hemingway's household manager and was affectionately titled his "Cuban son." Villarreal's account of the nearly 20 years he managed the estate, tending to Hemingway, his wife and their guests, depicts a more humane side of the author that contrasts with his angry, "macho-manly man" public persona, the junior Villarreal said.
Raúl Villarreal, who interviewed his father, now 83 years old and living in New Jersey, over more than two years, said the book attempts to offer a more researched and knowledgeable perspective of Hemingway through his father's firsthand experiences.
The book is full of details about the author and his time in Cuba, such as the fact that he was referred to as "El Americano" and "Mr. Way," by neighbors who had trouble pronouncing his surname. Villarreal's father describes Hemingway as a charitable man who "helped his Cuban neighbors out a lot."
"Hemingway's grandson told me, ‘You portrayed a Papa that I knew,' " Raúl Villarreal said.
Greene's and Villarreal's books will be sold at the event for $20 each, and the authors will be available to sign copies.
The Santa Fe College Foundation is sponsoring the event to benefit its student scholarship fund. Last year, the foundation awarded 475 scholarships totaling $980,000.
Tickets to the event are $100 per person, and guests are made annual patrons of the Fine Arts programs at Santa Fe College for the next year. Tickets can be purchased on the Santa Fe College Foundation's website (bit.ly/15zBENb). For more information, call 395-4491.
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