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6 Literary-themed cocktails for the holidays

Classic novels such as The Great Gatsby and The Catcher in the Rye may be treats for the mind, but Elm Restaurant’s mixologist, Renee Reignier, has used these classics as the inspiration behind her literary-themed cocktails — from Grapes and Wrath to Gin Expectations.


Catch you in the rye recipe

Catch You in the Rye cocktail

Glass: rocks glass


  • 2 ounces Bulleit
  • 1 ounce salted caramel liquor
  • 2 dashes chocolate mole bitters
  • 1 bar spoon smoked sugar
  • 1 Luxardo cherry
  • Orange zest


  • Marshmallow on a knot pick


  1. In a cocktail shaker, muddle 1 orange rind and the Luxardo cherry with the smoked sugar.
  2. Add the whiskey, salted caramel liquor and chocolate mole bitters.
  3. Add the ice and shake.
  4. Double strain into an ice-filled rocks glass.
  5. Garnish with a marshmallow on a knot pick.

Gin expectations recipe

Gin Expectations cocktail

Glass: large snifter


  • 2 ounces Hendrick’s Gin
  • 3/4 ounce Earl Grey tea syrup
  • 1/4 ounce lemon juice
  • 1/2 ounce bianco vermouth
  • 1-1/2 ounces Fever-Tree Tonic
  • 1/4 ounce Benedictine


  • Earl Grey tea leaves


  1. Add the gin, tea syrup, lemon juice, vermouth and Benedictine to a clean ice-filled clean cocktail shaker.
  2. Stir until chilled.
  3. Strain into an ice-filled large snifter.
  4. Top with the tonic.
  5. Garnish with the Earl Grey tea leaves.

Grapes and wrath recipe

Grapes and Wrath cocktail

Glass: highball glass


  • 2 ounces Onyx Moonshine
  • 1/4 ounce arrope syrup
  • 1/2 ounce clear lemon juice (strained of solids)
  • 1/4 ounce simple syrup
  • Thyme
  • Concord grapes
  • Soda water


  • Thyme sprig


  1. Place the Concord grapes and fresh thyme leaves in a clean cocktail shaker. Muddle until incorporated.
  2. Add the moonshine, arrope syrup, lemon juice and simple syrup.
  3. Add the ice and shake the ingredients together.
  4. Pour the mixture into a highball glass.
  5. Top with the soda water and more ice.
  6. Garnish with a thyme sprig.

La Celestina recipe

La Celestina cocktail

Glass: coupe glass


  • 2-1/2 ounces Glenlivet 12
  • 1 ounce lime juice
  • 3/4 ounce ginger syrup
  • Dash Peychaud’s Bitters
  • Dash Angostura bitters
  • 1 egg white


  • Peychaud’s Bitters


  1. Place all of the ingredients in a cocktail shaker with no ice and shake.
  2. Add the ice.
  3. Shake again.
  4. Strain into a coupe glass.
  5. Finish with a dash of the Peychaud’s Bitters on top of the froth.

Nonsense and sensibility recipe

Nonsense and Sensibility cocktail

Glass: pinot noir glass


  • 2 ounces Diplomatico Reserva Exclusiva Rum
  • 2 ounces apple cider
  • 1/2 ounce quince syrup
  • 1/2 ounce ginger simple syrup
  • 3/4 ounce tangerine juice
  • Prosecco


  • Apple slices, fanned


  1. In a clean cocktail shaker, add the ice, rum, apple cider, tangerine juice, ginger syrup and quince syrup.
  2. Shake until all of the ingredients are well incorporated.
  3. Strain into a pinot noir glass filled with ice.
  4. Float the Prosecco on top.
  5. Garnish with the fanned apple slices.

Utopia recipe

Utopia cocktail

Glass: martini glass


  • 1 ounce Paul Masson VSOP Brandy
  • 1/2 ounce cranberry liquor
  • 1-1/4 ounces Grand Marnier
  • 1/4 ounce allspice honey syrup
  • 1/2 ounce tangerine
  • Dash maple bitters
  • Fall-spiced sugar


  • Candied cranberry
  • Fall-spiced sugar rim


  1. Place all of the ingredients in a clean, ice-filled cocktail shaker.
  2. Shake until chilled.
  3. Rim the martini glass in the spiced sugar.
  4. Strain into the martini glass.
  5. Garnish with the candied cranberry.

Bottoms Up!

Tell us: Which of these will you try out? And, do you have a literary-themed cocktail of your own? Share with us in the comments!

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