Cocktails in Latin American Literature?
June 20, 2016 3:08 PM   Subscribe

Looking for cocktails featured in Latin American literature for a library event to be held in October.

My mid-sized library system in Birmingham, Alabama has a small festival dedicated to food & drink (and reading & writing about food & drink) every year and our Young Professional board will be hosting one of the events - a cocktail party at a local bar. The event is strictly to build buzz about the library among twenty and thirtysomethings.

Just a few minutes ago, I received a frantic call from our director of development pleading for us to tie one of the events into Hispanic/Latin American culture.

The YP event is most eligible since it is the one that is least developed/finalized of all of our other events. We had planned to tie cocktails in with great works of literature for the event, but adding the caveat that the books should be of Latin American origin could make the event a lot more interesting.

Especially since the wonderful bartender attached to the event would seek out specialty ingredients from throughout the hemisphere.

This is where I need assistance from the hive mind:

Can anyone name great works of Latin American literature that prominently feature cocktails or drinks. The more obscure the cocktail the better - naturally.

Or alternatively - great works of Latin American literature that should have a cocktail created in honor of the book. (Which might be a lot easier?!?)

Any thoughts and suggestions would be appreciated!
posted by cinemafiend to Food & Drink (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Mezcal is mentioned in Roberto Bolaño's The Savage Detectives. In particular, the characters mention a nostalgic preference for the discontinued "Los Suicidas" brand--probably fictional, but I imagine you could make a drink of it.
posted by a sourceless light at 3:17 PM on June 20, 2016

"Light is Like Water," by Gabriel García Marquez could be a really beautiful cocktail. I'm thinking something champagne-based and golden.
posted by staraling at 3:21 PM on June 20, 2016 [1 favorite]

Alcohol in Latin America: A Social and Cultural History may have some suggestions: "Six locations—the Andean region, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Guatemala, and Mexico—are seen through the disciplines of anthropology, archaeology, art history, ethnohistory, history, and literature."
posted by MonkeyToes at 4:15 PM on June 20, 2016 [1 favorite]

I believe Mario Vargas Llosa waxes a bit about Pisco Death in the Andes and The Time of the Hero, but I can't find any references to specific cocktails. Seems a good enough excuse for Pisco Sours and Chilcanos .
posted by piedmont at 4:18 PM on June 20, 2016

"Cellophane (Dial Press) by Marie Arana is a novel set in the Peruvian rain forest during the 1930s where Don Victor Sobrevilla and his wife, Doña Mariana, venture to find a location for their papermaking factory. Along with the discovery of the secret to making cellophane (a fascinating story in itself) the family is drawn into an erotically charged landscape of surreal history and obsession."

Pair with a cocktail de algarrobina.
posted by MonkeyToes at 4:36 PM on June 20, 2016

There's a brief mention of Argentinian cognac (as "pseudo-cognac," as it's not from France) in Borges' The Aleph. Offer a cognac cocktail (a classic sidecar/sazerac/stinger/alexander... or create a riff on one, and name it after Adolfo Bioy Casares), making sure to use an Argentinian brand?
posted by Iris Gambol at 4:53 PM on June 20, 2016

Isabel Allende's Eva Luna can be paired with Madrina's Banana Rum Cocktail. (Scroll to second page about Allende. Found here.)
posted by MonkeyToes at 5:35 PM on June 20, 2016

There is a cocktail named after Jorge Amado: Caipirinha Jorge Amado, made with Gabriela, a cachaça infused with cloves and cinammon (named after his novel Gabriela, cravo e canela, of course).

Recipe in Portuguese
Recipe in English
posted by needled at 6:21 PM on June 20, 2016 [1 favorite]

Pisco Sours also show up in two of Isabel Allende's books, Maya's Notebook and My Invented Country. She claims it as the national drink of Chile, although acknowledging the name was taken from the city of Pisco, in Peru.
posted by needled at 6:28 PM on June 20, 2016

These are pretty great responses. Thank you all!
posted by cinemafiend at 11:46 AM on June 21, 2016

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