Cocktail & Other Recipes By Spirit Gin Cocktails

Drinking with 'The Great Gatsby'

great gatsby
"The Great Gatsby" film adaptation. Image:

 Warner Bros. Pictures

Thanks to "The Great Gatsby," Jazz Age-themed cocktail parties are popular for all occasions. But this F. Scott Fitzgerald book, which chronicles the decadence of the Roaring '20s, 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 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 may not be familiar is the Orange Blossom. The recipe, which is very similar to a Screwdriver, calls for gin and orange juice. (You may prefer "The Old Waldorf-Astoria Bar Book" version, which also adds sweet vermouth.)