Death in the Afternoon

Death in the Afternoon, also called “Hemingway Champagne” or simply as “The Hemingway”, is a cocktail made of absinthe and champagne invented by Ernest Hemingway after he spent time in the Left Bank, Paris, and enjoyed the absinthe there. Hemingway’s original instructions were:

“Pour one jigger absinthe into a Champagne glass. Add iced Champagne until it attains the proper opalescent milkiness. Drink three to five of these slowly,” (from So Red the Nose, or Breath in the Afternoon, 1935).

If you don’t feel like eyeballing it or you insist on consistency, here’s a recipe with more precise measurements.


  • 1 1/2 ounces absinthe
  • 4 ounces Brut champagne


Pour absinthe into a champagne flute and add iced brut champagne until it clouds up — at least 4 ounces.

Bartender’s Notes:

If absinthe’s much-hyped reputation intimidates you, or you can’t find a decent bottle of absinthe in your area, you can try making something called the “Near Death Experience,” by using Absente, an absinthe substitute. It’s around 110-proof, so it still packs a punch, but the drink will taste a bit different. If you prefer to keep the Man in Black safely at arm’s length, you can get away with substituting a mere ounce of Pernod or other 80-proof pastis- call it the “Paper Cut.”