Writing Under the Influence: Three Writers on Their Favorite Drinks


“Too much of anything is bad, but too much champagne is just right.” – F. Scott Fitzgerald


From Ernest Hemingway to Raymond Carver, writers of all backgrounds and time periods seem to enjoy the occasional glass or two (or more) of booze. In honor of rooftop bars and glasses of rosé on back porch balconies, we asked three Chicago writers to share their favorite watering holes and the drinks they order.

Sara Paretsky, mystery writer:
“I’m not much of a drinker and somehow the current hip fad for wonderful cocktails has passed me by. I love to read the descriptions when I’m in bars and restaurants, but I never order them because I know half a glass will knock me flat. The closest I come to a mixed drink is champagne with ginger liqueur—about half an ounce of ginger liqueur in the bottom of the glass with a lovely brut poured over it. I first drank it in the bar of the Hotel Pierre in New York, but they’ll make it at the Four Seasons here in Chicago if you ask, and I do it at home some times.”

Emily Robbins, novelist:
“I have the best memories of my time in Chicago at our neighborhood bar, Cunneen’s. It’s so close we can walk to it and we always go there with the same friends. What are bars for, really, except for friendship? As for the best drink, I’m a fan of pina coladas.”

Lorraine Boissoneault, journalist:
“My favorite place for a drink is the new cider bar, The Northman. Great atmosphere, good bartenders, and a huge drink menu. I’ve discovered habanero cider, cucumber cider, a dry Spanish cider – all excellent. But contrary to what you’d expect, my favorite drink of all time isn’t cider; it’s the kir royale. Crème de cassis topped with champagne. It always reminds me of my time in France.”

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