ERNEST HEMINGWAY’S PAPA DOBLE

Photo credit: Life Magazine


I’m a day late to the party.

Yesterday, Ernest Hemingway would have been 115. I can not pass on an homage to one of the greats and will do so in the form of one his favorites, the Papa Doble, a double frozen daiquiri he and famed bartender, Constante, crafted and made famous at El Floridita, his preferred haunt, in Old Havana.

Hemingway owned and spent much time on a sprawling palm and vine-covered ranch, Finca Vigía, just outside of Havana. It’s a rugged, masculine, seductive and fascinating spot to wander as I did many years ago. 

Ernest snuggled up to many of Havana’s bars, but El Floridita was the first place he often took his famous friends who visited the island. The bar is still a pilgrimage for people from all over the world and the handwriting’s on the wall, flooded in wild and loving scribbles to Papa, who died in 1961.

Not one to be shy about his consumption, or overconsumption, of the icy cocktail, the Papa Doble is sweetened only with natural fruit juice and a touch of maraschino liqueur. Hemingway wouldn’t allow sugar in his drinks because it would put a damper on his ability to throw them back. To that, he wrote, as only he could, that the frozen doubles “had no taste of alcohol,” and “felt, as you drank them, the way downhill glacier skiing feels running through powder snow.” 

Whirled in an electric mixer with shaved ice and served foaming in large goblets, a properly beaten daiquiri looks, Hemingway said, “like the sea where the wave falls away from the bow of a ship when she is doing thirty knots.”

Happy Birthday, Big Guy.

Papa Doble
2 oz white rum (Hemingway most likely drank Bacardi, but any will do)
1/2 oz fresh lime juice 
1/2 oz fresh grapefruit juice 
1/4 oz maraschino liqueur 
2 cups shaved ice

Combine in a blender and frappé until the drink is foaming. Serve in a large cocktail glass, champagne saucer or goblet. Note: maraschino liqueur is NOT the same thing as syrup from a cherry jar. Run from any liquor store that tells you otherwise.

Wise, witty Hemingway:

“The best people possess a feeling for beauty, the courage to take risks, the discipline to tell the truth, the capacity for sacrifice.”

“Never confuse movement with action.”

“We’re stronger in the places that we’ve been broken.”

“Let him think that I am more man than I am and I will be so.” The Old Man and the Sea

“There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.”

“Courage is grace under pressure.”

“Never think that war, no matter how necessary, nor how justified, is not a crime.”

“Always do sober what you said you’d do drunk. That will teach you to keep your mouth shut.”

“Write drunk. Edit sober.”

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