Death in the Afternoon

Build in the order given in the serving glass.  No garnish.

Prep Time 1 minute
Servings 1
Category Cocktail
Tags 1933-1969 (Tiki to Martinis), Aperitif
Proof 47.2
Strength 2 standard drinks
Glass Champagne Flute
Temp Cold

The Death in the Afternoon was invented by Ernest Hemingway who entered the drink into a collection of celebrity drink recipes. His directions for making the drink:

Pour one jigger absinthe into a Champagne glass. Add iced Champagne until it attains the proper opalescent milkiness. Drink three to five of these slowly.

This is quite a striking drink.  Absinthe is very strong, and drinking three to five of these (even slowly) will quite likely knock you on your ass.  Hemingway was one hell of a drinker.

A modern (and inauthentic) version of this recipe usually has Pernod or some other pastis in place of absinthe.  I say stick with the absinthe and just drinker fewer of them.  I prefer a French or Swiss style absinthe where the anise, wormwood and fennel "trinity" of herbs predominate.  A vegetal Czech style absinthe is not where I'd go with this drink.

As to the Champagne, something good is required.  If you spent $80 on that bottle of absinthe and you're topping it with Andre you are doing the absinthe and Hemingway a disservice.  For a Death in the Afternoon you want French non-vintage Champagne (probably what Hemingway drank) or a good California sparkler such as Roederer Brut or Domaine Carneros Brut Cuvée.

As to the name of the drink, Hemingway witnessed a lot of dead and dying people during his time as a war correspondent.  At first I thought that maybe after covering a bloody battle during the Spanish Civil War he needed to take the edge off in the afternoon and invented the drink.  Upon Googling the matter it appears he named the Death in the Afternoon drink after a book he wrote with the same name about bullfighting in Spain.  

Ingredient Profile

Drinks in the same category

Drinks served in the same glass

Related Drinks