View Full Version : Evocative Writing About Drink

10-30-2007, 18:01
The English have, or had, a genius for evocative, textured writing about food and drink. I have given (multiple) examples of the former from the canon of Elizabeth David.

Here is a short but effective piece on "pastis", the licorice- and herb-flavoured French aperitif which replaced absinthe after its ban. It is from, "The Complete Book of Spirits and Liqueurs" by Cyril Ray, copyrighted in 1977:

"Pastis is not only lacking in the wicked wormwood but is only about half so strong in alcohol as the absinthe of the good-or-bad-old-days. It is sweeter, too, and so need not have the necessary water added, drop by drop, through lumps of sugar on a perforated spoon, as used to be the ceremonial practice.

All the same, it is one of the most evovative of cafe-table aperitifs, as is its Greek cousin, ouzo, the smell and taste of the one summoning up visions of the cobbled street of some Attic or Aegean-island hamlet, bleached under the blazing sky; the smell and taste of the other recalling the click-clack-click of high heels on the Avenue des Champs-Elysees, the sight and the scent of the girls in their summer frocks, and the wish that one were a fortnight younger than one really is".

(That reference to a fortnight may be cited as a classic instance of English understatement mingled with irony).

The memories associated with bourbon can be evoked just as charmingly in our land.

Will anyone here try...?


10-30-2007, 20:54
Read the essay "Bourbon" by Walker Percy, quoted in fragments around here from time to time. Bernard DeVoto also has his moments. Read just about anything by Faulkner. Robert Penn Warren hits it pretty good too. And Hemmingway. And Fitzgerald. And Mailer.

10-31-2007, 00:20
True and I am aware of some of these. I meant really (and have amended my post to be more clear), will someone here, on this board, try his hand (or hers) at the associations evoked by sampling bourbon?


10-31-2007, 18:19
i will give it a shot...and try to do it right...maybe this weekend.

a nice challenge in that i am not a seasoned bourbonian...but have been writing (and deconstructing literature) for decades, taught writing (that actually means nothing...) AND have enjoyed twisting meaning and verbiage like taffy in a windmill during a hurricane in reverse at incrementally s l o w e r speeds more than anything. poetry uses language but has little to do with knowing much about it....ah, the hype over cognition:rolleyes:

i think, already, some of the tasting notes are simply amazing wafts of poetic, evocative writing. i would love to see an OXFORD anthology on writing concerning and on spirits

10-31-2007, 18:22
Thank you, I look forward to reading it!


11-03-2007, 12:45
working on this...that is, on the moment i decide to do this. i don't want to be the first (!), but just waiting for that expanded moment when i sit with a pour that truly inspires not just a glassy-eyed gaze through the trees and into space...but allows me to pick up the pen (or sit at the keyboard) and verbalize...

still haven't gone out to grab that hopefully-still-on-the-shelf 1.75ML bottle of Eagle Rare Single Barrel at $35.99! maybe it will be the muse! or at least usher her in...