Love And Drinks With Hammett and Hellman

I feel like I’ve been having a lot of conversations about love lately–or rather, the nature of relationships. And I’ve come to the following conclusion: The very person you pine for, swoon over, and generally idolize also inspires you to plot elaborate murder-suicide scenarios which include dragging your beloved around by the (undoubtedly luscious) hair. Love is painful. And not in the 90-minute-Meg-Ryan-romantic-comedy sort of way. Some days it seems like it just might not be worth the fuss. Those days, we can be thankful for Hemingway & Bailey’s Bartending Guide to Great American Writers.

Dashiel Hammett and Lillian Hellman spent the drunker part of thirty years together, a literary power couple who not only understood the absurdities of being in a relationship, but took love and alcohol very seriously.

During one evening, drunk and arguing with Hellman, Hammett took the cigarette he was smoking and began to grind it out on his cheek. “What are you doing!” screamed Hellman. Hammett’s answer, “Keeping myself from doing it to you.”

Hungover and facing the Broadway opening of The Children’s Hour, Hellman got blind drunk on brandy. Waking the next morning and hungover yet again, she got herself a cold beer and telephoned Hammett, who was living in Los Angeles. She reached his secretary. Two days later Hellman would realize: (1) at the time she called it was three A.M. in California, and (2) Hammett had no secretary. She took the first plane out, got drunk en route, and went directly to Hammett’s house. She smashed his bar to pieces and flew back to New York.

Points to Hammett for subtlety, but Hellman displays an endurance, patience, and aptitude for unapologetic violence that far surpasses Hammett’s masochistic little stunt. In honor of the crazy things that people do because of love (and inebriation), we have Hellman’s drink of choice, a favorite of her good buddy Hemingway: the daiquiri.


2 oz. light rum
1 oz. lime juice
3/4 oz. simple syrup
Lime wheel

Pour all ingredients into a cocktail shaker filled with ice cubes. Shake well. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with lime wheel. Try not to put burning things out on your face/ fly three thousand miles to deface property. Enjoy!


4 Comments On This Post:

August 27, 2010
3:44 pm
Consuela says...

Brilliant, as usual. I could sure use a daiquiri, or five, even if it results in bad behavior.

August 28, 2010
10:31 am
Louise Shivers says...

Love that! I have always been fascinated by the relationship of the two very talented people: Dash and Lillian.

July 20, 2011
5:16 pm
Alina Korchak says...

I loved the book ! I read it 2 years ago and since then there were many occasions on which I quoted it or used some of the recipes. But recently when I wanted to recommend it to my friends back in Russia I discovered that no Russian translation had been made so far. I decided to translate it by myself. Now I’m in the process of translation – enjoying the book one more time. I suppose it would be a hit in Russia being so nicely written, illustrated and practical at the same time. It’s going to be my debut translation of the prose . I suppose I have to contact the Publishing house in order to proceed legally. Would you please advise me with this issue? Thank you. Alina

September 20, 2014
10:04 pm
Katlyn says...

Thanks for finally writing about > Love And Drinks With
Hammett and Hellman – Algonquin Books – Books For
A Well-Read Life < Liked it!

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