MDM: Before we start, let’s have a Papa Doble.
EH: Good idea.

You and master bartender Constantino Ribalaigua Vert conspired this cocktail, didn’t you? At La Floridita in Havana?

We were sitting at the bar and decided to create a new cocktail inspired by Cuban music. The Papa Doble was his creation, I just made a few suggestions. We were very proud of it.

I’ll say you were. You once laid back 16 of them in a single sitting.

Yes, I did. I’m not proud of—

Whoa, whoa, whoa. Let’s not start down that road. I am an agent of Modern Drunkard Freaking Magazine. We are not prancy finger-waggers nor nanny scolds. We are the Defenders of Sweet Mother Booze. The Bodyguards of Bacchus. Speak truly and damn the consequences.

Fine. Just don’t blame me for the consequences of the things I say. Let’s be clear on that.

Clear as a bell. Now, 16 Papa Dobles equates well over a 1.75l bottle of what was then 93-proof Bacardi rum. You then—allegedly—sauntered out the door without any stagger in your step, went home and retired to a bit of light reading.

I was able to exit the bar without much controversy. Once I got home, I sat down with a book.

I’ve never been able to read well after laying down a 1.75 of liquor. The words get all screwy on the page. They horrify the mind.

I suppose I have a high tolerance.

Plainly. There are a number of impostor cocktails skulking around the web, so once and for all, what is your preferred recipe for the Papa Doble?

Two ounces of Cuban rum, 1 ounce of double-strained lime juice, and 1 ounce of grapefruit juice. Combine the ingredients in a shaker and pour the mixture into a highball glass with plenty of ice. It’s a delicious, refreshing cocktail.

You mean four ounces of rum, don’t you? And where’s the seven drops of maraschino liqueur? And didn’t Constantino run it through a blender?

You’re right. Four ounces is the correct amount of rum, and the drops of maraschino cherry liqueur are essential, of course. That’s what I was forgetting. Also, one teaspoon of simple syrup is also a nice addition to the drink, as is 7–8 drops of grenadine and garnish the glass with a lime wedge. If you have a blender, put it to work. It all comes back to me now.

No! No simple syrup! No grenadine! You and Constantino conspired the Doble as a rebellion against the tyranny of sweet daiquiris. It was meant to be strong, tart, dry and not the least bit sweet.

I remember now. You’re right, that would completely ruin the drink. It needs to be tart and dry so that the rum can shine through.

Okay, now that we’re in accord, what is the proper recipe for a Papa Doble?

Right, so the true recipe is 5 ounces of Cuban rum, 1 ounce of fresh-squeezed lime juice, 1 ounce of fresh-squeezed grapefruit juice, 7 drops of maraschino cherry liqueur, and a lime wedge garnish.

It’s five ounces now? Are you trying to high-hat me? But, hey, I’ll go along with five ounces. From now on? That’s how I’m making them because Ernest Hemingway told me so.

Good. Do that. Tell them I said so.

 I will. There are many blackguards on the web adding simple syrup and cutting down the rum, then calling it an “improved” Papa Doble. Which is total bullshit. It’s like castrating a bull then insisting it’s an improved bull when it is, in fact, a steer. Go drink a regular freaking daiquiri if you need sugar and less rum in your Papa Doble.

Those damn bastards. Let’s go to six ounces of rum, and damn the liqueur.

Easy now, Hem. Easy. But I know how you feel. The Papa Doble is a key fortress on the cocktail battlefield. Once we let it fall to some revisionist siege, the bastards have won.

It has a particular place on the cocktail battlefield. A vital place.

It’s practically the linchpin for the whole front. Tell me this: What is the truest cocktail you know?

The Martini. It is simple, yet complex. The Martini is a celebration of the essential nature of the ingredients, and I think every drinker can appreciate and respect its power and elegance.

Indeed. What’s your preferred delivery?

London dry gin, shaken and served up in a Martini glass with a twist of lemon. I also like a dirty Martini with a touch of olive brine to add an additional layer of flavor.

No vermouth at all? Some might argue you’re just laying back chilled gin tarted up with a bit of garnish.

Vermouth is not needed for a Martini. The Martini should be a celebration of the base spirits, in my opinion. A gin Martini, in particular, is a fragile balance of the juniper aromas and flavors of the gin and the twist. It should remind you of sitting in a freezing blind and watching the first duck of the day landing with a gentle splash in a blue-crystal lake. Vermouth can be a good ingredient in other cocktails, but it masks the essential flavor of the gin too much for me.

I like the slightest touch of vermouth. Just enough to wet the glass.

That is the beauty of the world of cocktails; we all get to have our own tastes and opinions, no matter how bizarre. There is no one right way to enjoy a drink. Every fool gets to enjoy his preferred recipe, not matter how awful.

Huh! You famously wrote that “Modern life is often a mechanical oppression and liquor is the only mechanical relief.” What exactly did you mean, as far as both being mechanical?

Modern life is very industrialized and mechanized. Everything around us is manufactured and produced in a way that is largely soulless and artificial. The people we encounter in our daily lives are often cold and removed from us, and the world is a cold and disconnected place. Liquor is a mechanical relief because though it provides us with a means of escape from the drudgery of the clockwork life, it is a manufactured relief; those bottles are mass-produced by the same soulless machines that oppress us.

I get what you’re saying, but at the same time, I’ve tried making beer, liquor and wine at different stages of my life, and let me tell you, that routine is what’s truly oppressive to the soul. I’d rather the machines make it. They seem to be good at it.

If you can find some good in the bad, take it.

I will. Did you know that scientists recently discovered that humankind’s DNA was recoded by alcohol two million years ago?

I think alcohol is a very fundamental human need. It helped us evolve and survive through the good times and the awful times. I am glad scientists are digging into humanity’s deep connection to alcohol.

And it’s about time. Speaking of deep connections to alcohol, let’s have another Papa Doble, what say you?

That sounds like an excellent idea. I think we both deserve a few Papa Dobles.

We’ll start with a few and go from there.

Sounds like a plan. Cheers!

Speaking of cheers, were you a fan of toasts?

Toasts are important. They mark the moment, like a gunshot. I like to keep them short and sweet so as not to bury the sentiment behind the words.

Long, drawn-out toasts are the worst. That’s just some showboater inserting himself between you and your glass. It’s like that quote from the Bible. Jesus said that when you pray, don’t babble on as the pagans do, God knew what you wanted before you asked. What was your usual toast when having a drink with friends?

Well, I used to say, “The things there are no words for.” And “To those we’ve loved and lost.” I would also say a simple, “To life,” or “To my friends,” or “To drinking.” And “To love and laughter.”

“To love and laughter?” That sounds like one of those signs suburban housewives hang in their kitchens.

It is a bit corny. But I did toast with “To love and laughter.” And I meant it.

All right. Still seems a little fruity.

It is a bit fruity, but that’s the way I felt at the time, so shoot me. I was going through a sentimental phase in my life. We all go through them now and again, and that was mine.

Nobody needs to shoot anybody. The Lost Generation was what you would call a very booze-forward generation. Can you imagine a gang of teetotalers pulling off the kind of magic you drunks threw together?

It’s never happened. Booze-fueled debauchery was a big part of my generation, for good or ill.  It might have something to do with them trying to take it away. Drinking was central to our creative and artistic processes, and I do not think that we could have produced the work that we did without the help of alcohol.

Who did you like drinking with the most?

I had many great drinking buddies during my years in Paris, but my favorite was probably F. Scott Fitzgerald. We shared a love for the written word and enjoyed long conversations over the bottle. We often talked about writing and literature in general, and sometimes got into deep discussions about the nature of life and humanity. It was always an enlightening experience to drink with Scott, and I was never bored around him.

In The Moveable Feast, you noted that he wasn’t exactly a champion drinker. He would get drunk quickly.

That is true. Scott sometimes lacked the fortitude to keep pace with the rest of us. He would often get drunk before we were even halfway through the night and would pass out or go to bed. He also had a habit of becoming quite maudlin when he was drunk, which could make the evening a bit tricky. He was a great drinking companion but not the most formidable drinker.

I have a friend like that. He can drink a lot, but he starts acting drunk after the first drink. He really wants to be in that place, so he jumps in before the alcohol really hits.

Sometimes the bus ride to Shangri-la feels too long.

Boy, does it. You’ve said that after writing for the day, it was essential to divorce yourself from and completely forget what you’d written so your subconscious could go to work on it. And what’s better than popping a cork to step away from the day’s work?

It worked for me. And what works, works.

So long as the writing goes well, does it matter how much you drink?

So long as it helps more than it hinders, not really. Of course, sometimes it isn’t easy to know if it’s doing one or the other.

In most of your interviews you would lie about your drinking. You would tell interviewers that you barely drank at all and never before 3pm or while  writing. Yet those who were allowed to observe you in action noted that you did drink during the day, and during writing, and that you drank a helluva lot at night.

Why give your enemies ammunition? They’ll find plenty on your own.

If you never picked up drinking, what sort of writer would you have been?

Something much different. Probably would have stayed a reporter. It definitely influenced my style and tone. It helped loosen me up and give me the confidence to take risks in my work. And to quit my job as a reporter. I was never afraid to explore the darkest parts of myself and the world around me. I don’t think I would have written with the same intensity and passion.

If you never picked up writing, what sort of drinker would you have been?

I see what you’re getting at. And you’re right. Writing is a driver for drinking. Much more than drinking is a driver for writing. If I didn’t write, which I can barely imagine, I’d probably still drink but not as much. Unless I were a frustrated writer who couldn’t write, then I would probably drink more.

Why are there so few great teetotal writers?

Why are there so few great pacifist fighters?

Zang! If you found yourself stuck in an eternal bar where you could only order three different drinks, what would they be?

Without putting too much thought into it, I’d say a classic gin Martini, a French 75 and a Sazerac. They are all well-balanced drinks that would never get old to me.

No Papa Doble?

I drank enough of those to make it feel a bit commonplace. It would be like being allowed only three different meals and choosing a loaf of bread as one of them.

Speaking of, let’s whip up a pitcher of Papa Dobles so we can stop screwing around with the blender every ten minutes.

That sounds efficient. I see you are un científico.

Speaking of science, are you aware of the 86 Rules of Boozing?

I am indeed. I particularly liked the Rule of Thirds.

Rule of Thirds?

Yes, the Rule of Thirds is a key component of The 86 Rules of Boozing, and it provides guidance for social drinking. The rule stipulates that you should drink a third of a drink, then chat for three minutes before taking a third more, then chat for another three minutes before drinking again.

That is not one of the 86 Rules of Boozing.

Wait, it’s not? I thought it was.

It’s not. I would have remembered writing something as ridiculous as that.

Oh. I could have sworn the Rule of Thirds was a Rule of Boozing. But if you wrote the rules . . . then I guess it’s not.

It’s not. Would you like to add a few Rules of Boozing?

Sure, I could add a few. I think the Rule of Thirds is important, so I could throw that in there.


Fine. How about these: Rule 87: Never try to hold your liquor. Rule 88: Never be the only drunk or sober person in a room. Rule 89: Never drink alone to feel happy. Rule 90: Never drink to forget. Rule 91: Never drink to impress someone else.

Okay, first, Rule 89 goes directly against Rule 45: It’s okay to drink alone. And Rule 90 flies in the face of you using drinking to forget the work of the day, which we discussed earlier. And Rule 91 contradicts Rule 15: Don’t brag about your drinking. Let your drinking brag about your drinking. Rule 88 has potential. And what exactly do you mean by never trying to hold your liquor?

Well, okay, maybe some of those rules don’t quite fit the tone of the original 86. But I would personally recommend against drinking alone, especially to feel happy. As for Rule 90, I think there is a difference between using alcohol to forget the work of the day and drinking to forget things that are more traumatic or painful. And by never try to hold your liquor, I mean never try to drink too much or drink beyond your limits.

 What are you talking about? You were always testing your limits. Why else would you roll up 16 Papa Dobles in a sitting?

What I mean is, don’t try to show how tough you are by drinking more than you truly can. There is nothing noble or glorious about drinking your face off and vomiting all over the place. It’s a waste of good booze that could have been savored over more time. So drink to the limit, but not beyond it.

Agree to disagree.

You think it’s a good idea to try to drink beyond your limits?

How do you even know what your limits are if you don’t drink past them?

I’m not talking about drinking a little more than usual. I’m talking about overdoing it to the point where you can’t even walk or speak properly. That’s just too much, other than trying to prove you’re a badass or impress some people.

Yet you did it all the time.

I was guilty of overdoing it on many occasions. But it’s not something I would recommend doing. In fact, it’s something that I would warn against. So I guess you could add another rule to the list, if you want. Rule 92: Don’t drink yourself stupid.

Didn’t you say that sometimes we must get drunk to spend time with our fools? Isn’t that essentially drinking yourself stupid?

Well, I think there is a difference between drinking a lot and drinking stupidly. I believe there is a certain wisdom in allowing yourself to get drunk with friends at parties or gatherings or simply to help you unwind and relax after a hard day’s work. It’s the reckless drinking, the excessive drinking, the overindulgence which I do not approve of. So yes, there is a time and a place for getting drunk, and you can certainly go beyond your limits on occasion. But it should never become a habit or a regular occurrence.

What are you talking about? You drank rivers of booze! You averaged a .750 of liquor a day for long stretches. And now you’re doling out temperance sermons?

Fair enough, I was never a model of moderate drinking, but that doesn’t mean I can’t advise others to be more responsible than I was.

Laaaaaame. You sound like those AAers I sometimes run into. They spend a minute warning about the harrowing dangers of booze, then spend an hour crowing about how much they used to drink and all the crazy adventures they got up to. It’s like some old mountaineer bragging about all the flags he planted on the highest peaks, but no one else should try it because everyone else is a weak punk who’d tumble off cliffs or freeze to death because no one’s as tough as he is. It’s dishonest and incredibly annoying for we really tough motherfuckers.

Alright, here’s the thing: I’m an author, not a robot. I’m a person who has been around the block a few times and has learned a lot of hard lessons in life. Sometimes people need to hear me say certain things to help them get on the right track. I’m not trying to be a social worker; I just want to help people.

You always did this in your interviews. You try to hide your drinking from the press and public eye, but in reality you’d drink like a champion around your friends. And aren’t we friends?

If you say so. Fine, I’ll be straight with you. I drank like a fish during many periods of my life. There were times when I consumed so much booze that I barely knew my name. But I wasn’t doing that out of some glorious desire to be a drinking champion. I was drinking to forget things and to punish myself for personal failings. So I was never proud of how much I drank. I was only trying to drown out certain memories and thoughts.

You just made a rule against that. And you seemed very proud of your 16 Papa Dobles. You bragged about it in letters to six different people. It was one of the first things you mentioned when you first met your biographer, AE Hotchner.

I was proud of it at the time, I suppose. In my mind, it was a badge of honor, a heroic feat worthy of celebration. But that was a long time ago. I’m not proud of it anymore. In fact, it was a pretty stupid thing to do, and I can’t even imagine someone attempting such a feat these days. I was young and wild, and I had no regard for my health or safety. I was foolish to think that drinking so much would somehow add to my glory or reputation as a hard-drinking author.

So, since you leaped into the Great Beyond in 1961, you’ve mellowed into a hippie?

You know, I was pretty rebellious for my day. I never really liked the rules and conventions of society, and I wanted to live life on my own terms. If that seems like a hippie attitude, then so be it. So it’s not like I’ve gone soft, I just value people’s happiness and wellbeing more than I once did.

Yeah, well, let me tell you something. Nobody wants a soft and sensitive Ernest Hemingway. No one wants you mumbling PC platitudes and trembling at the beauty of a dew-speckled rose. Save that for the poets. What, you died and started attending cosmic sensitivity classes? Bullshit. Your legend is carved in stone. You don’t get to go soft. There are enough softie writers walking the Earth right now for the next 50 fucking generations. So you can fuck right off with that.

Alright, alright. You want the real deal? Give me the deck and I’ll deal it out.  I’m not PC. I’m not safe. I’m a rebel without a cause and a drinker without moderation. I never met a bottle of booze I didn’t like. It doesn’t matter to me what it tastes like as long as it’s strong and it goes down easy. I’ll drink to my heart’s content without any regard for my health or safety. I’m a rebel without a cause, a drunken fool who wants to get wasted and have a good time. Does that suffice, or do you want me to go even further?

You might be trolling me, but it’s better than the alternative. And I thought there were a couple bottles you didn’t care for. Let’s dive in. What boozes didn’t you like so much?

I wasn’t very picky. There was one thing I hated to drink. Moonshine. It’s too rough around the edges, too raw.

Poorly made moonshine, the stuff you probably dealt with during Prohibition, is godawful. But a good, clean moonshine made by a professional with love in his heart? It’s fantastic. It’s like taking a bite out of the sun.

For me, the taste was always a bit too sharp, but I like your description of it. Like a bite out of the sun. Sounds like you enjoy that heat.

So long as it’s a dry heat. It’s not commonly known, but you were a big Scotch guy, right? Your brother clocked you at 17 Scotch and sodas a day when he visited you in Cuba.

I didn’t realize he was so keen-eyed and concerned. Seventeen seems right. On some days I don’t know how many I had, but I’m pretty sure it was way more than 17.

 I learned back in my barman days to not count people’s drinks for them. It’s out of line and rude. It’s like that fine old Celtic saying: “They speak about my drinking but never about my thirst.”

That’s certainly true. I always had a thirst that was never fully satisfied, and I was always chasing the next drink. It’s a wonder I’m alive today.

 Yes, it truly is. What are you, 120?


 Wow. What was your go-to whisky?

My go-to was usually Macallan 12-year, but I wouldn’t turn down a dram of anything that was good quality. I have to admit it, I was a bit of a snob when it came to whisky.

 There’s an official Hemingway Rye Whiskey now. Did you like rye?

I love rye whiskey; it tastes like the Midwest. What’s the official Hemingway Rye? Do they use my name on their bottle?

 Your name, your signature, the whole bit. Officially licensed by the Hemingway estate. Eighty bucks for a .750.

Honestly? Well, I am flattered someone named a bottle of whiskey after me. I’d love to try some one day. Who makes it?

 The Call Brothers. It looks pretty fancy. Finished in sherry barrels.

I just looked up some pictures, and it does look pretty fancy. I have to say, I feel a little weird about them making something and putting my name on it without even consulting me first, but I guess I can’t do much about that now. I’ll have to give it a try someday, just to say I tried it.

 You should. How do you feel about all the posthumous books they’ve released? The Garden of Eden, A Moveable Feast, Islands in the Stream and the rest?

I’m okay with it. But I will say it is a little awkward reading books that I wrote many years ago and not remembering all of the details. The things I wrote were very personal, not always easy to read; it’s like reading my own diary.

And so is everyone else. You refrained from publishing The Garden of Eden while alive, even though it was pretty much finished. Why?

To be honest, it was mainly due to insecurity. I got beat up by the critics for some of my latter-day books. So I wanted to keep it hidden away, just to keep the myth alive, rather than put it in a book and face the scrutiny of the public eye.

 It was also a bit ahead of its time, considering the weird sex scenes.

And there’s that. It was risqué. At least for a Hemingway book. But, again, that’s why I’m glad it’s out there now, for people to appreciate it as the work of art it is.

 They’ve been busy editing your legend since you died, you know.

They were doing that while I was walking the Earth.

 They do it to everyone. They try to paint them is some extreme light, mostly to sell some newspapers or books. The truth is secondary. Vampires are what they are.

Every famous person is eventually subject to historical revisionism. They’ll either be painted as a god or a devil, depending on who’s holding the brush, with very little room for nuance or complexity. I’ve always believed that the truth is usually somewhere in the middle, but unfortunately, that’s not a very juicy story.

 One of the scoundrels was trying to say you had some kind of wild-eyed hair fetish. Like most of your time was spent thinking about haircuts.

A hair fetish? That’s a new one on me. I do make a point of having a good haircut. It’s one of the most important things a man can do for himself, to have a well-maintained and stylish hairdo. But to say that I have some kind of hair fetish is just ridiculous.

 One the most important things, you say? Speaking of feasting on the flesh of ghosts, Modern Drunkard featured you in a tournament-style single-elimination drinking contest. It was called The Clash of the Tightest.

Oh, yeah? How’d I do?

 I’ll let you guess. First, you went up against Edgar Allen Poe. You reckon you could outdrink Edgar?

I think I could put Edgar Allen Poe and most other writers under the table. That’s not a jab at Poe, he’s a great writer, but what did he weigh? Buck twenty? I think I’d roll right over Poe.

 And you did. Employing a series of brutal brandy and Papa Doble combinations, you knocked him out in the 7th.

He lasted that long? Maybe an easier opponent for me would’ve been Stephen King. For a horror writer, he seems like a lightweight when it comes to drinking.

 He is now. He allegedly wrote his best books while drinking a case of beer a day.

A case a day? Maybe I would’ve had better luck going up against John Green or some other “sensitive” writer.

 I don’t know who that is. You advanced to the quarter-finals where you were pitted against your old pal Dorothy Parker. Do you reckon you put her under the table?

Well, now. Dottie was pretty sharp, and I’ve watched her put away plenty of Scotch. And she didn’t mind the bootleg stuff. But, again, she was half my weight.

 She could drink, but not at your level. You leveled her in 15 rounds.

15 rounds? It must’ve been a heck of a match.

 In the semi-finals you were pitted against Jackie Gleason.

Jackie Gleason, the “Great One”? No weight advantage there. He had a reputation as an all-night-and-into-the-dawn boozer. I predict I beat him, barely, in 25 rounds.

 It went 20 rounds and looked like it would never end. Then Gleason used a trick. He made you vomit, which is instant disqualification, with an emetic cocktail called the Rollercoaster. You had him on the ropes, and I think you would have beaten him in a straight contest. Jackie went on to take the crown, by the way.

That damn bastard. So, it was a dirty tactic that got me. I never liked that smirky son of a bitch. Who’d he beat in the finals?

 Charles Bukowski.

Never heard of him.

 Drunkard writer. Big fan of yours.

Yeah? Maybe he was all right, then. Jackie Damn Gleason got me with a dirty trick.

 He was a master carouser, but also a tricky bastard. We often ask our Drunkard of the Issue to pick their Dream Drinking Team, five or so dead people they’d like to spend a night drinking with. Your name comes up a lot. So let me put it to you: Who would you have on your Dream Drinking Team?

Jackie Gleason. So I could punch him in his smirky face.

 Let it go, Hem.

My team would be F. Scott Fitzgerald, Dashiell Hammett, William Somerset Maugham, Robert Frost and Ernest J. Gannon. And a drinking team wouldn’t be complete without a dedicated bartender, so I’d have John Steinbeck on hand, mixing up the drinks. What does that say about me, I wonder?

 Solid lineup. Who the hell is Ernest Gannon?

He was an Irish writer and journalist known for his hard-drinking and late-night antics. He was best known for his book The Bottle. That would be some night.

 No question. What bar would you drink in?

Well, if I’m going to be with this particular crew, there can only be one place we can drink. We have to go to El Floridita, in Old Havana.

 I’m surprised you didn’t pick your old buddy Constante from La Floridita to be bartender.

I completely forgot about Constantino! I change my mind and have him as my team’s bartender. Sorry, Steinbeck. He was a good a mixing them up, but not a master.

 Good move. Add Steinbeck to the team and bring in Constante as a pinch hitter.

That’s the move. Let Steinbeck join the team, but have Constantino manning the wheel. Constantino would keep the ship true no matter how much we drank. Let’s get this thing set up!

 I’ll see what I can do. I drank some rum on your grave, you know. Up in Ketchum.

I remember. That was kind of you to pour out some rum for me. And it was good rum, not that crap with all the weird ingredients in it.

 Well, that’s strange. I did pour rum on your grave. Decent rum. I suppose it was an easy guess, but still.

A lot of people drink rum on my grave. You’re certainly not the first. But it always makes me smile.

 Let’s talk about the final days. Your son Patrick said you could live with all the drinking, but you couldn’t live without it. After the shock treatments you were told you wouldn’t be allowed to drink again.

I was not happy to hear that, and I felt as if a part of myself had been destroyed. Drinking was a major part of my life, and I couldn’t imagine living without it. That was part of the reason I decided that I could no longer go on. I was a little out of it then. There was a buzzing in my head. I thought of a way to stop it.

 And you did. On the lighter side, there’s this: Towards the end, you kept telling your doctors that FBI agents were shadowing you. The doctors thought it was another sign you were losing it. But according to recently released files, you were under active surveillance by the FBI.

I know I was. It was obvious. They were everywhere. Not only was I being watched, the FBI also had put in place a plan to kidnap me and send me to a mental institution.

 I don’t doubt it. You weren’t crazy, just very observant.

My wife almost convinced me that I was a delusional paranoid. I asked myself, “Am I going crazy? Has this forced sobriety made me nuts?”

 Any last words for the drinkers of the 21st Century?

To them I say, enjoy your drinking while it lasts. Enjoy it with abandon. In the words of my good friend Constantino, “Drink with freedom. You deserve it.”

What do you mean, “While it lasts?” Do you think prohibition is creeping back in?

Look, I know it sounds a little conspiracy theory-ish, but I was there the last time they brought it down. I’m seeing the same signs. Nobody thought it would happen last time, and suddenly there we were, skulking around like a bunch of criminals, trying to score a beer.

I don’t think it would go down so easy this time. There’s a lot more guns around. I think there would be an armed uprising. I’d be torn between forming a guerilla group for revenge or becoming a bootlegger to cash in.

I could see myself joining the resistance and doing some bootlegging on the side. Manning the barricades. Getting into gunfights.

Like in Spain.

Like in Spain. It would be quite an adventure. I can already hear the rallying cry, “Viva la revolution! For the love of drinks, for the love of booze, for the love of life, let the liquor flow free!”

—Interview by Frank Kelly Rich


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