A drink with the author

It has finally gotten above 70 degrees in Baltimore. The air is balmy, and the trees are in bloom, so it’s a day to be giddy and frivolous.

I figured out years ago that William Faulkner’s prose went down more smoothly when consumed with a little bourbon, its natural solvent. So as you settle down in the evening with a book by a favorite author, what beverage should accompany it?

Faulkner: Bourbon and water, and not too much damn water. A good tipple with Eudora Welty as well.

Fitzgerald: Gin, of course.

Jane Austen: Madeira — a little sweeter and lighter than sherry, which would also be suitable.

Dr. Johnson: Tea. You’ll need to keep your wits about you. The doctor himself reportedly consumed 17 cups in succession during one evening of talk.

Mencken: Pilsner.

Nabokov: Champagne.

Joyce: Porter or stout, like the “dozen of stout” delivered in “Ivy Day in the Committee Room.”

Cheever: Martinis. Dry. Straight up. Also good with Edmund Wilson.

Philip Larkin: Gin again.

Barbara Pym: Claret.

Waugh: Brandy.

Wodehouse: Brandy and soda.

Twain: Lager.

Flannery O’Connor; Coffee, black.

If you want more, you’ll have to serve some yourselves. Suddenly, I’m very thirsty.



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