15 Cocktails inspired by literary greats

Emily Dickinson

Though she is now thought of as one of the most distinct and formative voices in American literature, 19th century poet Emily Dickinson was almost entirely unrecognised during her lifetime, having published less than a dozen poems. Those works, and the collections published after her death, were heavily edited to conform to the stylistic conventions of the time.

Today her poetry is known for its treatment of nature, its preoccupation with mortality and its unusual punctuation, most notably a generous use of the dash. Dickinson was also a prolific letter writer, owing largely to her reclusive and introverted nature. It is said that she rarely left her house, or even her room, in the final years of her life. However, she was a dedicated gardener and amateur botanist, hence the inclusion of a few ‘dashes’ of lavender bitters in the cocktail.

The Emily Dickinson cocktail

Shake 2 fluid ounces of amontillado Sherry with ¾ ounce of elderflower liqueur and 2 dashes of lavender bitters. Strain into a chilled Sherry glass and garnish with a violet or a sprig of lavender.

Having once described her eyes as like “Sherry in the glass”, the cocktail features an amontillado base combined with elderflower liqueur to create a drink that is deep amber in tone and floral in flavour. Simple yet complex, the cocktail is the perfect tribute to one of literature’s greatest poets.

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