Today is the anniversary of Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray. Published in 1891, the novel’s hedonistic bent and homosexual undertones (and overtones) have since made it both notorious and a much-loved classic. The novel follows the moral descent of Dorian Gray, a handsome young gentleman whose soul is forever trapped within a painting. As Gray’s depravity deepens, his face in the painting grows increasingly marred with sin… while his face remains forever young, beautiful, and innocent.
Booze & Bookstr is back at it for thirsty Thursday, and we all know Oscar Wilde was thirsty in more ways than one. That’s less an insult than a badge of honor—Wilde remains notorious for his love of both life and debauchery, two things that the writer would not deem separate. In The Picture of Dorian Gray, he writes, “the only way to get rid of temptation is to yield to it.” Tempted to grab some bottles and drink with us? Remember: drink responsibly and read voraciously!
Wilde notoriously touted both love and hate for the green fairy: “After the first glass of absinthe you see things as you wish they were. After the second you see them as they are not. Finally you see things as they really are, and that is the most horrible thing in the world.” So not only would he partake of the next few beverages, he’d probably drink more of them than you.
- 2 oz. high-proof bourbon, such as Baker’s
- 1 oz. fresh lemon juice
- 1⁄2 oz. simple syrup
- 1⁄4 oz. absinthe bitters or absinthe
- 1⁄2 oz. grenadine syrup made from pomegranate
- Lemon wheel, for garnish
Oscar Wilde enjoyed the finer things in life and always thought that they were worth paying for: “when I was young I thought that money was the most important thing in life. Now that I am old, I know that it is.”
- 1 ounce absinthe
- 1/2 ounce vodka
- 1/2 ounce Sauvignon Blanc
- 1 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 ounce lemon-parsley infused simple syrup (see ingredients below)
- 3 drops aromatic bitters
- For garnishing: 1 lemon, a few sprigs of fresh mint leaves
Wilde had a rather pessimistic view of monogamy, shaking down the institution of marriage with his unrelenting wit: “men marry because they are tired; women, because they are curious: both are disappointed.” That would be enough to leave any lady jaded.
It’s not every day that someone’s love of champagne literally makes history, but here we are, 119 years after Wilde’s death, discussing how the infamous dandy instructed staff to serve champagne “at intervals” throughout the day. Apparently, Wilde’s love of the bubbly made its way onto the record during his trial:
Mr. Oscar Wilde: Yes; iced champagne is a favourite drink of mine–strongly against my doctor’s orders.
Mr. Edward Carson, QC: Never mind your doctor’s orders, sir!
Mr. Oscar Wilde: I never do.
Given that the doctor’s orders say that one serving of French fries is, like, twelve f*cking French fries, I think we’ll all have to ignore them.
3. French 75
• 2 oz. London dry gin
• 1 tsp. superfine sugar
• 1/2 oz. lemon juice
• 5 oz. brut champagne
Oscar Wilde wisely said, “when good Americans die, they go to Paris.” But when you try this cocktail, you’ll be LIVING.
4. Red Eye
- 1½ Mr. Black Cold Brew Coffee Liqueur
- 3 oz. Prosecco
- 4 dashes Scrappy’s chocolate bitters
- 2 dashes saltwater
- Garnish with a lemon peel
Why sleep when you could be out living? “To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all,” Oscar Wilde said—especially people who are passing out at 9 P.M. You’ll definitely be living rather than existing when you’re wide awake for the most entertaining hours of the nighttime.
And the ultimate combo…
5. Death in the afternoon
- 1 1⁄2 oz absinthe
- 4 1⁄2 oz champagne
Oscar Wilde would smash and get smashed.
Featured Image Via Eventbrite.