Friday, August 23rd, 2019

A good book and a cocktail


I thought all writers drank to excess and beat their wives. You know, at one time I think I secretly wanted to be a writer.
– C.K. Dexter Haven, “The Philadelphia Story”

Friday afternoon again and time for cocktails. Steve Inskeep interviewed author Mark Bailey and illustrator Edward Hemingway (grandson of Papa) for NPR’s Morning Edition* about Hemingway & Bailey’s Bartending Guide, a book of cocktail recipes and anecdotes about famous authors. You can listen to the interview while reading some of the excerpts. Since the author is a Hemingway, here is a Hemingway anecdote from the book.

Hemingway was not one for pretension, literary or otherwise. In a famous incident at Costello’s, a New York writers’ haunt, he found just the opportunity to make those feelings known. After drinking in back with friends, he passed John O’Hara at the bar. O’Hara was carrying an Irish blackthorn walking stick (shillelagh) and Hemingway began to mock him for it. Defensively, O’Hara claimed that it was “the best piece of blackthorn in New York.” Hemingway immediately bet him fifty dollars that he could break it with his bare hands. Then in one swift move he smashed the walking stick against his own head, snapping it in half. The broken pieces hung over Costello’s bar for many years.

* radio so good, they oughtta sell commercials.

Be Sociable, Share!

Print this entry

Comments are closed.