Get in the “Spirit”: Death in the Afternoon Cocktail

Now that I have started tabling during cons to peddle my wares, I don’t get to go to as many talks. Fortunately, there is always wonderful after hours programming at TeslaCon so I can see presentations even after the vendor hall is closed. One of the highlights this year was the “Mystery, Madness, Mayhem & Murder: Cocktails on the Orient Express” lecture and demo by Ted Jauw. I learned lots of delightful tidbits and it made me inspired to pick up this series again and bring you some of this booze news, too.

Death in the Afternoon

This cocktail is sometimes referred to as “The Hemingway” because he contributed a recipe to So Red the Nose, or Breath in the Afternoon, a 1935 cocktail book. He was one of many famous authors who were involved in compiling the book. Hemingway published a non-fiction book entitled Death in the Afternoon in 1932, which is no doubt where the entry got its name.

According to Jauw, Hemingway doesn’t deserve the credit, though. It’s a much older drink with two well-loved alcoholic ingredients found in the 19th century: champagne and absinthe. So if you want to have a Steam Era heroine sipping something special, this is a great option.

As often occurs with drinks that involve absinthe, it can come out looking cloudy, which is also aided by the bubbly. However, depending on the absinthe you use, you may end up with something mostly clear and golden, or opaque and bright green.

Liquor.com recommends 1 part absinthe to 4 parts champagne and no ice. (Specifically 1/2 oz absinthe and 2 oz champagne) I came across this video about a variation that includes Peychaud’s bitters, and I am a HUGE fan of them so I may give that a try next time. They also say to use Freixenet, which is technically not champagne (it’s cava from Spain). I actually prefer cava myself after falling in love with it during my study abroad in college, and the Cordon Negro they use in the recipe is my favorite.

Remember to drink responsibly! This cocktail is not messing around, and the sugary champagne can make for a wicked hangover. So don’t go trying to out-drink Hemingway.

Want to find out more about Steam Era booze? Check out our other fun articles. 

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