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Death in the Afternoon

Ernest Hemingway is one of the most famous writers in the world, on par with greats like Mark Twain, John Steinbeck, and Charles Dickens. The literary great is renowned for his writing but is perhaps even more infamous for his love of alcohol and cocktails of all kinds.

Boozy Absinthe Death in the Afternoon Cocktail with Champagne

Throughout his entire life and in his books, he touted mixed drinks like the Mojito and the Daiquiri. However, those commonplace recipes pale in comparison to the Death in the Afternoon.

How to Make a Death in the Afternoon

This drink is also highly distinctive because of the pearlescent and milky hue that occurs when the absinthe and Champagne mix. Since the absinthe’s wonderfully aromatic components are more soluble in alcohol than water, the Champagne causes them to louche, resulting in that deliciously cloudy color and a milky opaqueness quite unlike anything else.

Boozy Absinthe Death in the Afternoon Cocktail with Champagne

Death in the Afternoon

Yield: 1
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes

If you're a beginner to absinthe and never tried it before, this cocktail is an excellent way to cut your teeth.

Absinthe has a flavor profile reminiscent of anise and wormwood, and its bold flavors mix beautifully with the dry and fizzy Champagne.


  • 1 1/2 oz absinthe
  • 4 1/2 oz chilled Champagne, to top
  • Garnish with a rose petal or lemon twist


  1. Add the absinthe to a flute glass
  2. Slowly pour the chilled Champagne over top
  3. Garnish with a rose petal or lemon twist

Did you make this recipe?

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History of the Death in the Afternoon Drink

This cocktail’s claim to fame is sharing a name with Hemingway’s 1932 book about Spanish bullfighting. However, this drink stands on its own two feet with a potent yet undeniably delicious mixture of absinthe and Champagne.

The story goes that Hemingway is the actual creator of this cocktail. After spending time in France and discovering a potent drink called absinthe, Hemingway added this classic cocktail to a 1935 drink recipe book called So Red the Nose, or Breath in the Afternoon, which had other contributions from various celebrity authors.

In the recipe book, Hemingway left directions that were precise and could almost double as prose. Of course, one of the greatest authors of all time would leave such exact instructions for his readers to follow when it comes to creating this unique cocktail.

However, Hemingway also recommends that the reader drink three to five of these “slowly”—even if they’re drunk slowly, three or five of these potent cocktails will put you down for the count!


This bold concoction of absinthe and Champagne is not only surprisingly enjoyable but also a gorgeous milky green color that offers some beautiful iridescence. This classic cocktail is also famous for its creator, the literary genius Ernest Hemingway.

This recipe is also super simple to make and gets a romantic garnish of a rose petal for maximum drama. Next time you want something delicious and a little taboo, try the bold Death in the Afternoon.

Death in the Afternoon
Please drink responsibly, be fully accountable with your alcohol consumption, and show others respect.

Written by Paul Kushner

I have always had a deep interest in the restaurant and bar industry. My restaurant experience began in 1997 at the age of 14 as a bus boy. By the time I turned 17 I was serving tables, and by 19 I was bartending/bar managing 6-7 nights a week.

In 2012, after a decade and a half of learning all facets of the industry, I opened my first restaurant/bar. In 2015, a second location followed, the latter being featured on The Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.

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