Top 10 favourite spirits of literary greats

29th March, 2017 by Michael J Ritchie

Alcohol and literature have long been entwined since Homer wrote about his “wine-dark sea”, and it seems most authors can’t do the job without a drop of something strong in the other hand. SB takes a look at 10 literary figures – from both sides of the page – and their favourite tipples.

It’s something of a cliche that writers like a drop or two while they’re working. For some it serves as a reward for a job well done, while others seem to need a splash of magic juice to get the ideas flowing in the first place. With the prevalence of drinks in studies and libraries around the world, it seems only natural that many of their characters have also enjoyed a drop or two.

Authors, however, do run the gamut of teetotallers to raging alcoholics. Take, for example, the notoriously shy Agatha Christie who tried in vain to like alcohol so she could talk to people better, but never found she was able to enjoy the taste. On the other end of the scale you have a writer like James Joyce, who used to get drunk and start fights, only to panic and hide behind drinking pal Ernest Hemingway when he saw he was going to lose.

Grab a cocktail as we take a look at some of the drinks favoured by some of the most famous writers and their creations.

2 Responses to “Top 10 favourite spirits of literary greats”

  1. Delighted to see that you have mentioned Dickens and Samuel Pickwick! You might be interested in taking a look at my novel Death and Mr Pickwick, which was published in 2015 by Random House, and which tells the story behind the creation of The Pickwick Papers. My novel ‘echoes’ certain aspects of The Pickwick Papers – and the free flowing of alcohol is most definitely one of those aspects! And you do not need any previous knowledge of Dickens, or The Pickwick Papers, before reading Death and Mr Pickwick.

    In my view, The Pickwick Papers has the most fascinating backstory of any work of fiction – with colossal triumph set against the depths of despair. The backstory cried out to be turned into a novel in its own right…so that’s what I did! The novel has received a lot of critical acclaim – for instance, it made The Sunday Times Book of the Year list, and in the USA it was one of the ten books on the Oprah Winfrey Best of Summer Fiction list.

    And do take a look at my novel’s facebook page – alcohol frequently puts in an appearance there!

    Best wishes

    Stephen Jarvis

  2. Chris says:

    One of my favorite writers of science fiction was Harry Harrison. His best known character was an intergalactic crook named “Slippery” Jim DiGriz, whose poison was Aquavit, AquaVitae, or Akvavit, however you want to say it. I don’t know what the author’s drink was. But it inspired me to try aquavit and now I keep a bottle of Linie around the house.

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