Mix it up

Philip Salter
Follow Philip

NEAR enough every bar in London has jumped on The Great Gatsby bandwagon in an attempt to cash in on the supposed romance of the 1920s. But this particular bandwagon is derailing fast, as it becomes apparent in review after review that Baz Luhrmann has failed in his bid to master a masterpiece. Baz was always going to struggle; F Scott Fitzgerald’s work is infamously difficult to adapt .

Cocktails are drunk liberally throughout The Great Gatsby, mimicking Fitzgerald’s lifestyle and the rest of his so-called Lost Generation. In his books and in his life Fitzgerald gave birth to the idea of the Jazz Age, a time from the 1920s to the Great Depression when the mores of American society were being severely strained by metropolitan fashions.

The leading cameo cocktail in The Great Gatsby is the Mint Julep, which cools the protagonists off in the New York’s sweltering summer heat. Its origins are lost to us, but the Englishman John Davis, in Travels of Four Years and a Half in the United States of America (1803), describes it as “a dram of spirituous liquor that has mint steeped in it, taken by Virginians of a morning.”

It is best drunk from a sterling silver julep cup; although the most important ingredients are warm weather and a battered copy of The Great Gatsby.

■ 60ml bourbon whiskey
■ 1 sprig of mint
■ 3tsp sugar syrup

● Muddle the ingredients
● Add ice and shake
● Strain into a cup of crushed ice
● Stir and top with more crushed ice
● Garnish with a sprig of mint