Hemingway Drinks: Green Isaac’s Special Cocktail Recipe

Hemingway Drinks: Green Isaac’s Special Cocktail Recipe

Hemingway Drinks: Green Isaac’s Special Cocktail Recipe

We’ve spent this week celebrating the larger than life exploits of one of the brightest stars in the drinkers’ constellation by sharing five of our favorite recipes from Philip Greene’s To Have and Have Anothera tour of the drinks from Ernest Hemingway’s life and writings. We hope our teaser inspires you to read the whole thing, a fun and fascinating read and drink.

Starting in the late 1920s, Hemingway spent much of his time in the Caribbean: in Key West, in Cuba, or boating between them and around the Bahamas. Like most cocktail lovers, Hemingway liked to drink like the locals. When in France, for instance, he favored Cognac and absinthe. In the Caribbean, naturally, he shifted in the direction of rum and limes. Also like most cocktail lovers, Hemingway had his own all-time favorite ingredients, Angostura bitters and Gordon’s gin being chief among them. One of my favorite stories in To Have and Have Another is about the time Hemingway was in a plane crash while on an African safari. He had been missing for a day, and was feared to be dead, when to everyone’s surprise and joy, according to Time magazine, he walked out of the jungle carrying a bottle of gin in one hand and a bunch of bananas in the other. Hemingway seems to have loved the tall tales told about him, and he wasn’t above expanding on them himself at times. But he had a quibble with this one: ‘Would I come out with bananas?’ he asked a friend.

Named after a pair of small Bahamian islands, our final recipe of the week is a Hemingway creation that perfectly combines his love of gin and Angostura with his preference for drinking in the local style. Of course, Hemingway would find a way to make coconut and gin work together.

I believe we have Philip Greene to thank for the exact proportions.


  • 2 oz dry gin–use a mixing gin. Ours just happens to be Gordon’s.
  • 4 oz coconut water
  • 1 oz lime juice
  • 2-4 dashes Angostura bitter–we split the difference and used 3
  • lime wedge, for garnish


  • Add all the liquid ingredients to a cocktail shaker.
  • Add ice to just above the level of the liquid.
  • Shake for about 20 seconds.
  • Pour, ice and all, into a highball glass.
  • Add more ice if necessary.
  • Garnish.

Roberts & June