If experience is the muse of a musician, then alcohol is a writer’s muse.
Throughout history, there have been many famous authors who were known to always have a glass in hand, sometimes even more so than the pen. This, they often claim, is the source of their inspiration and motivation to write a compelling piece. And we can’t exactly blame them.
For these great writers, the constant alcohol influence might have spurred on their creativity, although it also brought them many health issues. Let’s start with the first on our list, well-known around the world for The Great Gatsby.
Fitzgerald had been an alcoholic since his university days and this continued on even in his adulthood. He and his wife, Zelda, loved to drink gin rickey, a drink that was made up of gin, lime juice, and club soda. In fact, alcoholics were prominently featured in many of his novels as well.
His alcohol addiction worsened in the 1920s, where everyone knew him for his heavy drinking habits. As such, Fitzgerald was riddled with poor health until 1940 when he had an alcohol-related heart attack while waiting for a visit from his doctor. He was only 44 years old.
Edgar Allan Poe
One of America’s most well-known poets and writers, Poe’s brilliant works such as The Raven, The Tell-tale Heart and more have gained great fame for their macabre detail. However, this perhaps came with a price.
After his wife’s death, Poe started to take on drinking to cope with the loss. His new partner, Sarah Helen Whitman, agreed to only marry him if he stopped drinking. Poe refused. He later on passed away at the age of 40. While alcohol may have been the cause of his death, there were other factors such as tuberculosis, so no one knew for sure. One thing that we do know is that Poe loved cognac and brandy, and his family even had a special brandy eggnog recipe that they enjoyed come winter.
Ernest Hemingway won both the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1953 and The Nobel Prize in Literature in 1954. He had a few alcohol-related quotes, one of which went ‘If you want to know about a culture, spend a night in its bars.’
As a heavy drinker for most of his life, Hemingway loved cocktails — but his favourite would definitely have to be the Mojito. This cocktail was invented at La Bodeguita del Medio in Havana, Cuba, where Hemingway often drank. The writer, however, claimed that he never drank while he wrote, although during the period where he was writing The Old Man and the Sea, he was reportedly downing a quart of whiskey a day.
In July 1961, Hemingway committed suicide in his home with a shotgun. Though his death was not alcohol related, his alcoholism could have been a sign of him struggling with his increasing physical and mental problems.
It wasn’t only male writers that succumbed to alcoholism. Elizabeth Bishop, a well-known poet, was also a well-known alcoholic. In fact, many of her family members were also riddled with drinking issues. She even wrote a poem titled ‘A Drunkard’ which described the way she felt about alcohol. Bishop was 68 years old when she died of an aneurysm.
Alcohol, a Catalyst for Creativity?
Whether or not alcohol serves to fuel your creative process, it can’t be denied that many famous writers succumbed to this addictive beverage. Did it help them write better? We can’t say for sure. What we do know is that not everyone who drinks is able to write a masterpiece. So why not just enjoy a glass for what it is?
How about getting creative with our Campari Negroni Cocktail Kit? A great starter for those of you who are new to making your own cocktails at home. We’ll provide you with free alcohol delivery (since it's above $99).
If we’ve piqued your interest in these DIY delights, check out the different recipes that we’ve talked about in our previous blog. Get creative, and don’t forget to drink responsibly everyone!