Make A Toast At The Round Table

Algonquin Books can’t help but feel a special bond with Dorothy Parker and the members of the Algonquin Round Table, despite the fact that we are not, as many believe, named after the Algonquin Round Table.

Parker is known for having one of the sharpest tongues of the era (she occupies two spots on the list of the 10 Most Devastating Insults of All Time), a famously dark disposition, and a pen that was, without a doubt, mightier than any sword.

Although married a number of times, Parker was chronically lonely. Her one enduring romance seems to have been with the bottle. She shared a tiny office with pal Robert Benchley and joked, “An inch smaller and it would have been adultery,” but alas the two friends were never to become romantically involved. Parker relied upon liquor and wit to combat her loneliness. Such as when she was admitted to a sanatorium and announced that she would have to leave every hour or so for a cocktail. Her doctor refused, telling her that if she didn’t stop drinking, she’d be dead within the month. Parker’s reply: “Promises, promises.”

From Hemingway & Bailey’s Bartending Guide to Great American Writers

Champagne Cocktail

Parker, who initially did not like the taste of alcohol, started out drinking Tom Collinses. But gin made her sick, so she soon moved on to scotch and water. Later she discovered champagne. She immediately composed a poem to her new love: “Three be the things I shall never attain: Envy, content, and sufficient champagne.”

1 sugar cube
2 dashes of Angostura bitters
Lemon twist

Drop sugar cube into a chilled champagne flute and soak with bitters. Fill with champagne. Garnish with twist. Sometimes an ounce of cognac is added (if you’re lucky).


Today’s drink recipe is from Hemingway & Bailey’s Bartending Guide to Great American Writers (illustrated by Edward Hemingway and written by Mark Bailey), the definitive guide to drinking like the great literary in-crowd of yesteryear.

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