Concocted by literary icon Ernest Hemingway, Death in the Afternoon is a cocktail made up of champagne and absinthe. The beverage has the same name as Hemingway’s 1932 novel Death in the Afternoon.
History of Death in the Afternoon – the drink
The recipe was first published in the 1935 cocktail book titled So Red the Nose, or Breath in the Afternoon, where many famous authors at that time contributed recipes. Hemingway’s original instructions were as follows:
“Pour one jigger absinthe into a Champagne glass. Add iced Champagne until it attains the proper opalescent milkiness. Drink three to five of these slowly.”
Hemingway invented the drink after he spent time in Rive Gache in Paris, where he enjoyed the absinthe there. Death in the Afternoon has a reputation for its decadence and strong kick.
There are other ways to make Death in the Afternoon. You can add absinthe to the glass after pouring the champagne. Why? Certain absinthe brands float on the champagne for a bit.
Other alternatives exist because it’s tricky to procure absinthe. If you don’t have any, you can use Absente like Pernod.
Variants that use absinthe alternatives are given another name but are sometimes still called Death in the Afternoon. There are also recipes use other ingredients aside from champagne and absinthe. For instance, you can add a sugar cube and several dashes of bitters to the glass before putting in the main ingredients.