Death In The Afternoon Cocktail Recipe

This deadly absinthe cocktail recipe from author Ernest Hemingway is potent and punchy. Learn how to make the Death in the Afternoon cocktail with our expert bartenders.

Method

Build

Glass

Flute

Category

Champagne

DEATH IN THE AFTERNOON COCKTAIL RECIPE INGREDIENTS

30ml Absinthe
5ml Sugar Syrup
125ml Champagne

HOW TO MAKE THE DEATH IN THE AFTERNOON COCKTAIL RECIPE

Add the absinthe to a flute, followed by the sugar syrup.

Don’t overdo it with the sugar, a tiny dash is enough.

Top with 125ml of chilled Champagne.

GARNISH

Lemon Zest Twist

TELL US ABOUT THE DEATH IN THE AFTERNOON RECIPE

Any cocktail lover will have heard the name Ernest Hemingway.

The author of A Farewell to Arms and For Whom the Bell Tolls is almost as well known for his contributions to cocktail culture as he is for his writing.

The novelist was a champion of the Mojito and Daiquiri, even having variations of these classic cocktails named after him.

But whilst the Death in the Afternoon cocktail recipe is lesser known than a Hemingway Daiquiri, it’s classic Hemingway.

This deadly Champagne cocktail has the taste of aniseed from the absinthe, balanced by the dash of sugar and the sharpness of the Champagne.

Supposedly dreamed up after watching Spanish bullfighting (hence the name) and inspired by Hemingway’s love of absinthe sampled in France, it’s potent and to the point.

The original recipe called for one jigger of absinthe, which is around 42ml of fluid. It also instructed the reader to “drink three to five of these slowly.”

Most recipes, including The Society’s take on the Death in the Afternoon cocktail dial down the absinthe a bit.

We’d also say you don’t have to drink as many as Hemingway advises. You can thank us later.

Hemingway wrote a book of the same name which explored the culture of Spanish bullfighting, and also submitted the recipe to a 1935 book of cocktails by celebrity authors.

In the recipe he notes that the drink should have a “opalescent milkiness” which is attained when the aromatic compounds in the absinthe react with the Champagne.

EXPERT TIP

Some absinthes are a whopping 70% ABV, much higher than most spirits which contain 37.5% Alcohol By Volume (ABV).

Simon Difford’s Death in the Afternoon cocktail recipe dials down the absinthe to 10ml.

Enough to ensure you get the flavour, but not so much that you’ll need a pick-me-up the next day.

WHAT TO DRINK NEXT

Grab your favourite Hemingway tome, and mix yourself a Hemingway Daiquiri which mixes rum with grapefruit juice. Delicious.

If you’re not much of a reader, another way to enjoy Hemingway’s famous book The Sun Also Rises is to drink the cocktail of the same name. That counts, right?

Absinthe is a key ingredient in the Sazerac. It’s a well-loved classic amongst professional bartenders, and for good reason.

Or you could try one of these easy Champagne cocktails.

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