Drinkers learn cocktail etiquette many ways and from many sources, but for our money, there is no better drinking guru than Ernest Hemingway.
Papa left us many bon mots on the subject. Here is the best advice to be found in his books, letters and lore.
On When to Drink:
- In the postscript to a letter to critic Ivan Kaskin in 1935, Hemingway wrote, “When you work hard all day with your head and know you must work again the next day what else can change your ideas and make them run on a different plane like whisky? When you are cold and wet what else can warm you? Before an attack who can say anything that gives you the momentary well-being that rum does?... The only time it isn't good for you is when you write or when you fight. You have to do that cold. But it always helps my shooting. Modern life, too, is often a mechanical oppression and liquor is the only mechanical relief."
- When asked about drinking while working, Hemingway once responded, “Jesus Christ! Have you ever heard of anyone who drank while he worked? You’re thinking of Faulkner. He does sometimes—and I can tell right in the middle of a page when he’s had his first one.”