Appointment in Samarra
Pair with: A pitcher of gin Martinis
The cocktail party never seems to end in O’Hara’s classic 1934 examination of toxic American conformity, and you’ll want to join in after a few pages. A pitcher of Martinis, the sort very likely commonly mixed up by anti-hero Julian English, will see you through.
W. H. Auden
Pair with: Frozen Dry Vodka Martini
“Could any tiger/Drink martinis, smoke cigars,/And last as we do?” wrote Auden. Not the way Auden drank, no. No poet loved his Martinis more. Recent evidence shows that he may have preferred vodka as much as gin for a base. But he doubtless liked them dry and as cold as possible; he kept a pitcher chilled in the freezer.
The Thin Man
Pair with: 50-50 Martini
Suave husband-and-wife detectives Nick and Nora Charles actually don’t drink any Martinis in The Thin Man, but the 1934 film the book inspired may be the most cocktail-ridden flick in cinematic history. Martinis were smaller and wetter back then, so the way to go here is a 50-50, with equal parts gin and vermouth, served in a “Nick and Nora glass” (these exist; look them up).
The Harry's Bar Cookbook
Pair with: Harry’s Bar Martini
One of the most famous—and most peculiar—Martinis in the world is served at the iconic Harry’s Bar in Venice. To approximate it, pour an ounce and a half of gin in a shot glass and place it in the freezer. When it comes time to imbibe, fetch it out of the icebox, layer a barspoon of dry vermouth on top, toss in a lemon twist, and enjoy.
Franklin D. Roosevelt
Pair with: Dirty Martini
Roosevelt enjoyed nothing more than mixing up a round of White House Martinis for his guests. Some accounts have him slipping in a bit of olive brine in the mix, making him a very early advocate of the Dirty Martini.
The Martini Cocktail
No cocktail has a greater literary pedigree than the Martini. Writers from Ernest Hemingway to Jack London to Ogden Nash have been rhapsodizing about the peerless blend of gin and dry vermouth since the dawn of the 20th century, slipping mentions of the potion into their prose and poetry. If you enjoy a cocktail with your evening’s reading, why look further than the greatest of all mixed drinks? Here are five Martini-book pairings to get you started.
Featured Image: @sarahmwalk/Twenty20; Author Photo: Lizzie Munro