Keep Calm and Carry Rum

There is a lot we can learn from Hemingway. He wrote classics. He taught us that simplicity says so much. He drank. Hemingway’s scotch and lime drink: 3 ounces of scotch, with lime. (This is a man after my own heart.)

I have a friend that shares my fondness for Hemingway (and for strong cocktails). He is roughly 88% steel, 10% gin and 2% pixie dust. He also writes a blog for those of similar makeup: My Kind of Razzmatazz. If you are looking for tips on how to live like Hemingway, or other men of greatness, Razzmatazz is your bible.

Every so often we get together to cook and drink in a way that Hemingway might appreciate: these events are dubbed ‘the Hemingway Way.’ The meals usually involve some sort of grilled fish with lime. Always booze, typically rum. The man loved his rum.

And he loved daiquiris. Real daiquiris: not those glorified 7-Eleven Slurpees, with a splash of rum; you know, the kind you find at all-inclusive resorts and in bars with names like Tiki Dan’s. Hemingway’s famed daiquiri cocktail is the Papa Doble.

You may see it on ‘trendy’ bar menus. Be wary if it is served in a martini glass. In fact, be wary of any bar that serves cocktails—other than a gin or vodka martini—in a martini glass. Drinks should be served in a glass that best honors the booze, not for the simple sake of supposed sophistication. (After all, I’ve never known a drink to make you more sophisticated after you drank it.)

Hemingway was also particular with his drinks (as he was with most things in his life). It is said that while Hemingway loved daiquiris, he asked for double the rum ... with half the sugar. My kind of man: 66% rum, 30% discriminating, 4% lime/sugar. That’s 100% alive, if you ask me. While Hemingway is no longer alive, July 21st would have been his 101st birthday.

And so Razzmatazz and I celebrated ‘the Hemingway way’ in a way that Hemingway would have appreciated: we struggled. Much like the marlin from The Old Man and the Sea, my grill proved to be a worthy adversary: the grill's flames kept going out. We could not let the grill win.

We had harpoon-caught swordfish to cook. We had honor to uphold. We made more dark and stormy cocktails. We did not give up.

I realize that the dark and stormy cocktail probably wasn’t a Hemingway mainstay. The ingredients hail from Bermuda, while Hemingway was pretty partial to Cuba. Nevertheless, I am sure Papa Doble would have appreciated the simplicity of the cocktail. Also, I gave Razzmatazz the wrong shot glass to make the drinks, so we ended up with double the rum. It was like Hemingway was guiding us. We were even able to secure Barritt’s ginger beer; made since 1874 and notoriously hard to come by.

In the end—and after a few cocktails—we ate the fish of our labor. It was perfection. So much so that I bought harpoon-caught swordfish a few more times that week. Best eat it while you can; it is apparently only available for a short time. The fish are caught, one by one, from fishermen using time-honored harpooning methods.

As for the fisherman that harpooned the marlin in The Old Man and The Sea? He spent days dragging the fish back to land, only to find its carcass consumed by sharks along the way. I don’t blame the sharks. In fact, I sympathize if harpooned marlin tastes anything like harpooned swordfish.

If you are lucky enough to live in Boston, you only have to venture to Whole Foods to get it; though, how long it’s available is anyone’s guess.

If you don’t usually like fish: man up. Think of Hemingway. The man loved life, and he thrived on the raw moments.

“… there’s a whole big world out there full of people who really feel things. They live and love and die with all their feelings. Taste everything …” Ernest Hemingway (1919)

Taste everything.

The Menu

Rosemary-garlic potatoes roasted in bacon fat
Butter-braised cucumbers with oregano and red onions
Grilled harpoon-caught swordfish with lime butter
Dark and stormy cocktails (recipe follows)

The Dark and Stormy Doble

3 ounces Gosling's Black Seal Rum
Barritt's ginger beer
Lime slices, at will

Pour rum in a 10 or 12 ounce glass, filled with ice. Top off with ginger beer. Add lime slice(s).

Makes one (possibly makes one drunk, depending on your tolerance).


No notes are needed; make your own notes.


  1. When I die, please read this blog post at my funeral.

  2. Oh my...so as a lover of literature and Hemingway, this blog post made me smile and then made me want to drink. I'm sure he would have been pleased! Thanks for visiting my blog...I look forward to reading more of yours.

  3. This sounds like a fabulous night and this blog post was so beautifully written.

  4. your homage to hemingway is 100% awesome. :)

  5. Thank you so much for the kind words everyone! You can never, ever go wrong with Hemingway. When in doubt, ask WWHD? (What would Hemingway Do?)

  6. Hemingway equals amazing. Thanks for combining him with a great sounding drink. :)

  7. How can this amazing blog only have six comments? I found you and I don't even know how I got here, but I'll be back again and again. You're a tremendous writer, photographer and apparently cook (looking at the menu). Thanks for the words about an amazing man and writer.

  8. Love fish! Love Hemingway! And love your stories- always. I am not sure how manly I'd be about my run, but I am pretty happy with a dark and stormy in hand!

  9. I haven't been much of a drinker since I finished college, but every so often, I'm reminded that dark and stormys are delicious. Even if Hemingway would probably disapprove of my version, which is heavy on fresh ginger and light on rum.