Drinking with The Great Gatsby

Thanks to the new film adaption of The Great Gatsby, which comes out on Friday and stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Tobey Maguire and Carey Mulligan, people across the country will no doubt be throwing Jazz Age-themed cocktail parties.

But the F. Scott Fitzgerald book, which chronicles the decadence of the Roaring Twenties, doesn’t give a lot of details on what Jay Gatsby and his friends drank. There is a brief description of his liquor cabinet: “in the main hall a bar with a real brass rail was set up, and stocked with gins and liquors and with cordials so long forgotten that most of his female guests were too young to know one from another.”

Beyond that, there are a few instances of characters having whiskey and other intoxicating beverages, but the only concoction mentioned by name is the Gin Rickey. The simple mixture of gin, lime juice and club soda is fixed by Tom Buchanan at a lunch he hosts for Gatsby and Nick Carraway.

To find out what else the flappers and dandies were shaking up, we turned to award-winning historian and Liquor.com advisory board member David Wondrich.

Many of the era’s popular tipples, according to Wondrich, are still in demand today, like the bubbly French 75 and the restorative Dry Martini. Others are quite familiar, including the quaffable Bronx, the Gin Buck and the Ginger Ale Highball made with rye whiskey.

One tipple that was new to us is the Orange Blossom. The recipe, which is very similar to a Screwdriver, calls for gin and orange juice. (We prefer The Old Waldorf-Astoria Bar Book’s version, which also adds sweet vermouth.) Now if only we could get the movie theaters to offer them instead of jumbo sodas…

Orange Blossom

Contributed by David Wondrich

  • 1.5 oz Gin
  • 1.5 oz Sweet vermouth (optional)
  • 1.5 oz Orange juice
  • Garnish: Orange wheel
  • Glass:Cocktail

Add all the ingredients to a shaker and fill with ice. Shake, and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with an orange wheel.

(Photo courtesy Warner Bros. Pictures)

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