Literature and Martinis

Ah, the martini!

Interesting Literature

The great American wit and man of letters, H. L. Mencken, memorably described the martini as ‘the only American invention as perfect as the sonnet’. If the sonnet was the pinnacle of European cultural achievement, then the martini was the transatlantic equivalent. This is by no means the only literary link this iconic American drink can boast. Why is the martini such a popular and esteemed cocktail?

For many readers and cinema-goers, the martini cocktail conjures up the world of America in the 1920s – the ‘Jazz Age’ – so vividly portrayed in the works of F. Scott Fitzgerald. Undoubtedly these associations go some way towards explaining the popularity of the drink in recent years. The Great Gatsby in particular, especially the recent film, with its party scenes, seems bound up inextricably with the image of the martini. However, martinis are never mentioned explicitly in the book, which is noteworthy given that…

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