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Famous Cocktails Inspired by Timeless Novels for Your Bar

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Sometimes, all we need is a little bit of inspiration. That’s what we want to give to you with this list of great cocktails that were inspired by timeless novels. Famous cocktails gained their popularity in different ways and always fun to learn more about them. Before we get started though, read our article on "What are cocktails?" to get more information.

It’s also nice to know about the latest cocktail trends, which are some of the most unpopular cocktails, and the origins of different common cocktails. This information can be useful for your restaurant marketing campaigns or can inspire you to try different things.

Even cocktail garnish ideas can help you spice up your beverage menu and the look of the bar drinks you are offering. So read all the information we are offering and get some tips and ideas on how to improve your beverage program!

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The Famous Cocktails Inspired by Novels

Sipping on a famous cocktail can take you into the story of some timeless novels. Only if you know about them! Let’s see which novels inspired what cocktails.

Key Takeaway: Many things can inspire the creation of famous cocktails, and timeless novels are one of them. Some cocktail recipes were even created by the writers of the books, while others were just inspired by characters, plots, and time periods in the books.

Vesper Martini - Casino Royale by Ian Fleming 

If you don’t know much about the backstory of James Bond and you have only seen the movies, you may be surprised to learn that first there are books. The character comes from the best-selling spy novels written by Ian Fleming.

James Bond is famous for his sophisticated taste, beautiful women, and Martinis (see: Martini recipe). The author of the books created the Vesper Martini when he wrote his first book - Casino Royale. In the book, Bond was asked by a woman he liked to make her a drink. She was called Vesper Lynd and she requested something strong and not too sweet. 

The Vesper Martini is made of three measures of gin, one of vodka, and half a measure of Kina Lillet. It's the perfect example of a call drink. The garnish is a large peel of lemon. This cocktail became a favorite to the book character but also many real-life men and women. It can be distilled down with simple ingredients to make a gin and tonic recipe.

Mint Julep - The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Before it became famous for being a movie starring Leonardo DiCaprio, The Great Gatsby was only a book. The story is about a young man who moves to New York and becomes fascinated by his neighbor who happens to be Jay Gatsby. As you probably know, Gatsby throws extravagant parties and is trying to win back his beloved Daisy Buchanan. 

The characters are sipping on Mint Julep at all these parties. It’s a refreshing cocktail drink that is made with bourbon, mint, and sweetener. Served with crushed ice, it's a perfect summer cocktail to sip on during the day or a hot summer night.

Jack Rose - The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway

The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway was written in 1925. The story is about a group of friends who go to Spain to see bullfighting. The main character is in love with a girl but because of an injury he got during the war, there are some complications. 

The book is filled with drinking and parties, and there was one special drink that people took from it - the Jack Rose cocktail. It’s a simple drink that is made with applejack or apple brandy, grenadine, and lime juice. It’s sweet but also refreshing and it has stood the test of time just like the novels we are talking about here. 

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Butterbeer - Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling 

Not all great cocktails are with alcohol. Non-alcoholic drinks are also an amazing addition to a restaurant or bar menu and some of them were inspired by timeless novels like Harry Potter. Everyone has probably heard of Harry Potter or at least watched a movie or two from the series. One of the drinks the characters are having is Butterbeer

Butterbeer is made with cream soda, heavy whipping cream, caramel and butter extract, butterscotch topping, and powdered sugar. It’s a unique drink that Potterheads will be super happy to see on any beverage menu. Consider adding it to a seasonal menu for fall, for example. It will be a good match with the weather outside. 

Mr. Darcy - Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

In Pride and Prejudice, there were no cocktail recipes like in the first three books we have mentioned. However, this beautiful love story written by Jane Austen has inspired the creation of some famous cocktails. One of them is called Mr. Darcy and it’s yet another refreshing option to add to the beverage list in your bar or restaurant. 

Mr. Darcy cocktail is a nice blend of Earl Grey tea, vodka, lemon, and elderflower syrup. Pour it over ice and add a ring of lemon to garnish the drink. You can be sure that the many fans of this timeless novel will be happy to enjoy a Mr. Darcy with their dinner or perhaps a nice brunch (see: what is brunch).

Dorian Gray - The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

The storyline in this famous novel revolves around the picture painted by Basil Hallward who was infatuated with Dorian's beauty. The young, beautiful man, got eternal youth by selling his soul. The novel, although not very long, touches on topics such as sin and immorality. 

In The Picture of Dorian Gray, there were no special drinks that the characters would drink, but this novel inspired some famous cocktails, too. One of them is named after the main character - Dorian Gray. This fruity but not overly sweet cocktail is made with white rum, cognac orange liqueur, orange juice, and cranberry juice. 

The Dorian Gray cocktail can be enjoyed all year round and this makes it a great addition to any menu. Try and see how your customers will react before you make it a permanent offer!

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Frequently Asked Questions about Famous Cocktails

Do you want to know why some famous cocktails became so popular? There are different reasons behind the rise of different popular cocktails. One of them is the association with famous books, just like the ones we’ve talked about in this article. 

Let’s see the answers to some common questions regarding cocktails inspired by timeless novels!

How Do These Cocktails Capture the Essence of a Novel?

The famous cocktails inspired by novels often use ingredients, colors, and garnishes that symbolize or evoke elements of the novel, such as its characters, time period, or themes. There are some cocktail recipes that come straight from the author of the book but others are just inspired by it and can be created by anyone, from cocktail experts to regular people who managed to popularize them. 

Can Anyone Create a Cocktail Inspired by a Novel?

Anyone who feels inspired by great literature can create a cocktail. What’s the hardest part is making this cocktail drink well-known. If it becomes famous and many bars and restaurants start serving it, there is a chance for it to become one of the most famous cocktails. 

Should It Says on the Menu Which Novel Inspired the Cocktail?

It’s not mandatory but it’s something you can do to make it more interesting for your customers. Give some information about the novel and how the cocktail was inspired by it. This will grab their attention and can even increase sales for this specific cocktail. 

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