These Essays Are Excerpted From Under the Table: A Dorothy Parker Cocktail Guide
Stirring the Life of Dorothy Parker
No other American writer has a reputation quite like the one Dorothy Parker earned. Almost fifty years after her death, her numerous wisecracks live on, such as her advice to a friend who needed to euthanize an old cat: “Try curiosity.” Or about a boyfriend: “His voice was as intimate as the rustle of sheets.” After she learned that President Coolidge had died, she remarked: “How can you tell?”
But Mrs. Parker did more than crack wise and create bad puns. The American Academy of Arts and Letters admitted her to its ranks not for telling jokes but for the achievements of her poetry and short stories. She went into the New York Writers Hall of Fame alongside Herman Melville and Willa Cather. Not a day goes by that her name doesn’t pop up on the Internet, in the umpteenth pop culture reference of the day’s news cycle.
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She’s also renowned for writing about booze, talking about drinking, and loving a cocktail or two herself. Along with her dogs and expensive clothes, Mrs. Parker also enjoyed her cocktails. She imbibed at speakeasies in New York, mansions in Beverly Hills, and villas on the French Riviera. A friend once said, “You’ve got to expect public recognition like that. After all, you’re an international celebrity.” To which Mrs. Parker replied, “Yeah, that’s me, the toast of two continents—Greenland and Australia.”
The Acerbic Mrs. Parker
Served At The Shanty, Brooklyn
No shortage of bartenders wants to honor Mrs. Parker with a namesake cocktail. Countless recipes have been created and named for her around the globe, from the Algonquin Hotel to a popular discothèque named Club Dorothy Parker in Rio de Janeiro. This one came to life in Brooklyn, created by Allen Katz, general manager of the New York Distilling Company. The Portable Dorothy Parker, which he picked up in college, instantly had him hooked. At their wedding, he and his wife exchanged vows and read “Here We Are” to each other. Katz pressed his business partners to launch Dorothy Parker American Gin as one of the company’s first brands. He created the Acerbic Mrs. Parker in the Shanty, the little bar next to their Brooklyn distilling operation.
- Collins Glass
- 2 ounces Dorothy Parker American Gin
- ¼ ounce Combier orange liqueur
- ½ ounce hibiscus syrup
- ½ ounce fresh lemon juice
- Lemon twist
Shake all liquid ingredients except the seltzer over ice; strain into a Collins glass filled with fresh ice. Top with chilled seltzer and garnish with a lemon twist. Serve with a straw.