Bartender

Weekend with Hemingway – Part 7: Vermouth Panache

This drink appears with no garnish or bitters in To Have and Have Not…

But in Hemingway’s Esquire article, “There She Breaches! or, Moby Dick Off the Morro” published in May 1936, it appears as discussed in this blog. As in the case of the Josie Russell, this cocktail does not have a name when mentioned by Hemingway. However, in his research, Phillip Greene (author of To Have and Have Another) finds the name “vermouth panache” in the log of Hemingway’s boat, Pilar, and is convinced it is referring to this drink.

In the Esquire article Hemingway is drifting for marlin off Havana in his boat Pilar with his crew on October 1934. As they wait for their lunch of spaghetti to be ready Hemingway calls for the vermouth. “We had the tall glasses with mixed French and Italian vermouth (two parts French to one of Italian, with a dash of bitters and a lemon peel, filled with ice, stir and serve)…”

A Sperm whale breaches the water and they set off to kill it. None of them had seen a whale in this area and they figure it is worth a lot of money. Although at times they got near it, “we were so close to him you could hit him with a beer bottle…” They didn’t manage to land it.

Recipe

60ml French Dry vermouth

30ml Italian Sweet vermouth

1 dash of Angostura bitters

Lemon peel

Put all ingredients into a collins glass with ice and gently stir


Hemingway

Hemingway had a long and successful relationship with Esquire magazine. Started by Arnold Gingrich, David Smart and Henry Jackson in 1933 the magazine was, initially exclusively distributed through men’s haberdasheries stores. Gingrich got the idea for the name from an envelope addressed to him as “Arnold Gingrich Esq.” Hemingway met Gingrich, who was a keen book collector, through their mutual friend Louis Cohn. Gingrich had earlier contacted Ernest to ask for a signed copy of Death in the Afternoon.

I had this drink recently with my wife and our friends, Lighty and his wife Alex. It was a hot night and it appealed for its refreshing low(ish) alcohol. I figured it might be something we would drink quickly and we were settling in for a long night.

I used the Dolin vermouth as my French ingredient and Punt Mes for the Italian. I set them up in the Collins glasses with a reusable metal straw but I must admit it didn’t taste very good. Vermouth on its own has an interesting silky mouth feel and when we ditched the straws it was a much better drink. Often in cocktail bars we get straws when we may benefit from letting the ingredients do their job in adding the tactile mouth feel to the experience. When mixing your own try with and without straws to see what you prefer.

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