With all of the recent attention to F. Scott Fitzgerald because of the release of Baz Luhrmann’s new version of The Great Gatsby, there have been many articles about the style, food, and drink associated with the always “so cool” Gatsby. Fitzgerald himself was notorious for many reasons other than his fiction. He and his wife, Zelda, were the subject of much gossip, press, and speculation. In their early years, they were often on the cutting edge of what was fashionable.

Gerald Murphy's The Bailey

One constant throughout the Fitzgerald’s tumultuous lives was the friendship of Gerald and Sara Murphy. The Murphys were an amazing couple who were friends with a group that included the Fitzgeralds, Ernest HemingwayPablo Picasso, and Cole Porter. Their summers in the French Riviera—a season that was not fashionable until the Murphys set the trend—brought their friends together at their “Villa America” in Cap d’Antibes. (Though the portrayal almost ruined their friendship, Fitzgerald used the Murphys as models for Nicole and Dick Diver, the lead characters in his 1934 novel, Tender is the Night.)

Recently I finished reading Everybody Was So Young: Gerald and Sara Murphy: A Lost Generation Love Story by Amanda Vaill. The Murphys were absolutely fascinating—and not just because of their friends. One of the most striking things about them is how generous Sara and Gerald were as hosts and friends.  They truly opened their homes and lives to the many people who surrounded them.

Gerald Murphy Cocktail

At their many parties, Gerald was apparently famous for his cocktails. He even made the cocktail the subject of one of his paintings. One of cocktails that has survived was referred to as “Juice of a Few Flowers.” He would make it with fresh ingredients from his garden at Villa America. This creation has since been renamed “The Bailey.” Having read about it, it sounded like the perfect drink for a summer that kicked off with a new wave of Gatsby fever. The citrus flavors complement the gin. The mint sets everything off just beautifully. It is a taste of the Riviera.

"The Bailey"
Recipe type: cocktail
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 1
A taste of the Riviera, this cocktail features citrus, mint, and gin. It was a specialty of Gerald Murphy.
  • 1-2 sprigs of mint, torn into pieces
  • 1½ oz gin
  • ½ oz grapefruit juice
  • ½ oz fresh lime juice, freshly squeezed
  • 1 tsp simple syrup
  • sugar for rim of glass, if desired
  1. Tear mint and place in cocktail shaker.
  2. Add gin to shaker and let stand for 1-2 minutes.
  3. Add grapefruit juice, lime juice, and simple syrup.
  4. Shake with ice until cold.
  5. Serve in a glass rimmed with sugar and with a sprig of mint for garnish.
I followed Gerald Murphy's instructions very closely. If you like your drinks tart, you can omit the simple syrup. It is very easy to make simple syrup. You simply boil one part sugar in two parts water until the sugar dissolves. Cool the mixture and then add to cocktails, iced tea, or iced coffee. (See recipe here: http://cocktails.about.com/od/mixology/r/simple_syrup.htm)

Photo credit: Gerald Murphy, Cocktail from Whitney Museum of American Art
Get to know Kathleen MacArthur (78 Posts)

Kat has enjoyed baking and cooking for as long as she can remember. Her grandmother, Rita, was a great baker—especially of pies. Inspired by Rita, Kat began to be the one to bring dessert to family events. (Her grandfather, Stu, used to say that “Kat is bringing dessert” were some of his favorite words.) Often her family will hide the Christmas cookies she gives them when they have guests in the house. Her husband is a great tester of Kat Treats. When Kat is not baking or blogging, she works in higher education (but secretly dreams that some day she might open a treat truck or bakery/bookstore).

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