Writers with Drinks Named After Them

Writers with Drinks Named After Them

Besides a star on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame, those in the entertainment business are often honored with the dubious (or delicious) distinction of having a deli sandwich named after them. In the writing game – it’s a drink.

The reasons for this are manifold. There’s writers’ alleged propensity for alcoholism, of course, as well as the fact that most can only afford the liquid part of their lunch. In the rarefied world of delicatessens, sandwiches are the province of movie stars. And why wouldn’t they be? Both are in the business of hams and cheese.

So be it. Let move stars have their “glamwiches;” writers need stronger fare. I used to drink “pintos” at the girl and the fig, which was my coy term for a half-pint of beer. That is, until a Brazilian friend told me “pinto” was Portuguese slang for (insert term for male anatomy here) and berated the size of my glass. So, I switched to wine – magnums of it. Did I say, magnums? I meant jeroboams, Nebuchadnezzars. Anyway, after hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars spent, I have yet to get a proper drink named after me. Perhaps I need to die first. Of liver failure.

A fate worse than being a writer without a drink named for me would be sharing my byline with a non-alcoholic drink. For some, being in the company of cowboy crooner Roy Rogers, Shirley Temple and Arnold Palmer wouldn’t be so bad. To me it sounds simultaneously like the drinks menu and guest list at a cocktail party hosted in Hell. The menfolk would sip their dandy drinks whilst tossing horseshoes in a sand trap and that curly-headed kid would be tap-dancing all over the place on a grenadine-fueled sugar rush.

Some writers, however, win the drink-name-game. Kind of. Consider novelist Graham Greene who has his eponymous martini, the “Graham Greene.” It’s a variation on the traditional gin and dry vermouth with a dash of crème de cassis. Albeit, this concoction will likely raise an eyebrow when ordered anywhere but Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, where it will just as likely raise a glass to the author, who was a foreign correspondent in 1950s-era Vietnam (wherefrom his inspiration for “The Quiet American”). San Francisco Chronicle confederate Gary Regan tried to recreate a version of Greene’s namesake drink and was “sorely disappointed.”

San Francisco’s historic Northbeach hangout, Vesuvio, apparently serves a “Jack Keroauc,” which strikes me less as an homage to the erstwhile Beat writer than a cynical means of extracting cash from naive 20-somethings who crave “authentic” experiences to fail at writing about. The drink is comprised of rum, tequila and orange juice over ice, though I personally think they should throw in a Benzedrine inhaler. In fact, they should do away with the drink entirely and just serve the inhaler with a typewriter and Teletype roll so the kids can get all “Kerowhacky” before getting busted on narcotics charges.

This brings us to the so-called Hemingway Cocktail, which, according to TV chef Michael Chiarello, contains ruby red grapefruit, four additional grapefruit slices, sugar, vodka and simple syrup. First you juice the grapefruit into four glasses. Then you top each with a half ounce of vodka, followed by the simple syrup (to taste) and garnished with a grapefuit wedge that has been dipped in sugar. Then, I presume, you throwback all four resulting drinks and start rummaging your cabana for a shotgun. I mean GLASS – a shot glass – into which you pour a moderately priced rye whisky to wash away the taste of the four preceding cocktails and memories of Brett Ashley.

I’ll leave it to you, dear readers, to suggest a recipe for the Daedalian Howl. I will try them all, naturally.

Drunky McDoodle, Civil Engineer

Q: Why does the San Francisco Bay Area have such messed up road designs? A: Drunky McDoodle, Civil Engineer.

Written & Directed by Daedalus Howell, Animation by Sean Monroe & Brannon Ferguson, Voices by Ryan Lely & Daedalus Howell, Music by Shannon Ferguson, Special thanks Orion Letizi.

Coffee Money – A Writer’s Addiction

I closed out the books for my media empire last week and this is what I learned: I spend far too much money on coffee. I mean, hundreds, if not thousands of dollars, a year. On coffee. This is money that could be better spent on, say, my retirement plan (the balance of which presently reads “you will never retire”). I won’t provide a precise figure on my espresso expenditure because I’m too embarrassed. I also couldn’t slog through all the coffee charges on my online banking statement before Comcast called and said I was using too much bandwidth.

The amount of charges on my company card at chain cafes, independent coffee houses and the occasional mobile caffeine delivery unit (my intern), brought to mind the cosmologist’s trope about the world really being a “flat plate supported on the back of a giant turtle. What’s under the turtle? It’s turtles all the way down.” Except in my situation, it’s coffee – an infinite stack of cups and saucers plunging forever into the recesses of my bank account. Of course, my bank account isn’t infinite – if it was, I wouldn’t be so concerned about my coffee habit. Or frankly, even finishing this column. (Insert fantasy of me floating atop a pool of espresso whilst comely baristas steam cauldrons of low-fat milk).

Instead, I’m teetering on the brink of an anxiety attack, which could just as likely be the result of my daily overdose of caffeine. I’ll never know because I never plan to stop long enough and find out. On the rare occasion that I’ve managed to begin a day unaided by coffee – black and pitiless is how I like it – the withdrawals were so severe I thought I was having a stroke.

Why won’t my brain work? Why can’t I put a sentence together? Why is my name so hard to spell? I was practically catatonic when they found me face down on my desk clutching a pen with which I managed to scrawl a diagram of the caffeine molecule. Well, it was a bunch of random lines and slashes, but that’s what a caffeine molecule looks like in the absence of caffeine (think about it).

It was only when one of my colleagues noticed the bone-dry coffee cup on my desk that they knew how to revive me. Now, I travel with a swanky thermos of what I’ve come to know as “liquid life-force,” the way someone with a peanut allergy might carry an emergency shot of adrenaline. The thermos cost me a bundle but can one really put a price on life?

This brings me to the observation that I’m not only spending too much money on coffee but that I’m also drinking too much coffee. What’s too much, you ask? About 10 cups a day. Yes, it’s a miracle my heart hasn’t exploded. Since all my vitals are in good working order, even my physician is surprised, though he recommends paring down. But I can’t. For some caffeine freaks, 10 cups of coffee is merely what it takes to wake up. I heard about a dude who had to slug a macchiato before bed lest he slip into a coma.

For most humans, one or two cups a day is sufficient. Good for them. I’m apparently super-human or sub-human or some other species entirely. My blood is at least 45 percent caffeine at any given point. My eyes used to be green, now they’re black. I keep a hummingbird in my breast pocket just to shame it with my heart rate. I’m not an addict. It’s different – me and the liquid life-force are one. And I’ll happily share my insights on the matter for the price of a cup of coffee.