Drink Like Hemingway with a Josie Russell Cocktail

Damn, that's one big fish. Josie Russell is on the right; Hemingway is the one in stripes.
Damn, that's one big fish. Josie Russell is on the right; Hemingway is the one in stripes.
Public domain image, courtesy John F. Kennedy Presidential Library

Ring the bell, it's time for Last Call, where JK Grence, bartender at Shady's, serves up booze advice and recipes. Got a burning question for your bartender? Leave it in the comments and it might be answered in a future column.

With both Arizona Cocktail Week and Arizona Beer Week coming up fast (The same week again?! Seriously guys, there's two options here: Either move them to two separate weeks, or get the wine folks on the bandwagon and we can mash it all into the Arizona Booze Celebration. I even gave it a catchy acronym for you.), I figured I should find a cocktail appropriate for both camps. There's one problem.

I'm not a beer guy.

See Also: The Hemingway Daiquiri Make the Perfect Mojito (Hemingway loved these, too)

I mean, I'll enjoy an ale every now and again, but the current beer arms race to create the hoppiest IPA on the planet literally leaves me with a bad taste in my mouth. However, I do enjoy a different brewed product: Hard cider. Beer snobs tend to pooh-pooh cider, probably because the crisp, fruity taste doesn't blow your eyebrows clean across the room like the popular hop-bombs do. But darn it, cider is delicious. And if you need more justification, Hemingway drank cider. Of course he drank cider. He drank everything. He also enjoyed cider in a cocktail named for one of his best friends, Josie Russell.

 A gentleman by the name of Joe Russell had a bar in Key West, Florida. During Prohibition, he used his charter fishing boat to run booze from Cuba. And he was quite the fisherman himself. With habits like those, it's no wonder Russell and Hemingway became fast friends. Hemingway was one of Russell's customers during Prohibition. Early in Hemingway's writing career, Russell would cash Hemingway's checks that the bank wouldn't take. Later, Hemingway would base the character Freddy in To Have and Have Not on Russell.

Hemingway wrote down the recipe for Josie's cocktail while out on a fishing trip on Russell's boat. You can mix up a big batch, or have just one for yourself. Or do like Hemingway probably did, and have a pitcher for yourself.

Josie Russell For a single serving: ¾ ounce lime juice ¼ ounce simple syrup 1 ½ ounces light rum 4 ounces hard apple cider

For a pitcher: 2 ounces lime juice ¾ ounce simple syrup 4 ½ ounces light rum 12 ounces hard apple cider

Build over ice. Stir gently to combine. Garnish with a lime wedge.

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