Friday, May 24, 2013

Summer Cocktail

Summer is almost here and you may be searching for a fun, new cocktail to serve your guests on a warm summer evening. I have the perfect solution for you and it even has some Jazz Age glamour!

The drink is "Juice of a Few Flowers." Gerald and Sara Murphy made it at their villa in the south of France in the 1920's. Their guests were some of the brightest literary and artistic talents of the time; Hemingway, the Fitzgeralds, Picasso, Cole Porter and Dorothy Parker. They were all in attendance at the legendary parties given by the Murphys, considered by many to be the most sought after invitation on the French Riviera.

Everyone seems to be talking about the Jazz Age right now with the release of the new film "The Great Gatsby."  I love stories about the writers and artists living in Paris and the south of France during this era; it was a magical time, beautifully depicted in Woody Allen's film "Midnight in Paris." So I thought I would draw upon a previous blog post and give you the recipe (modified by a friend of mine) for "Juice of a Flowers" to make this weekend.

Here is a description of the parties given by the Murphys at their villa in Antibes:

"Sara had a phrase, 'Dinner-Flowers-Gala,' derived from the notation carried on ships' menus for the captain's dinner: it was Murphy language for any special occasion, and there were many...usually dinners for eight to ten. First there were Gerald's special cocktails on the terrace, cocktails that he claimed contained 'just the juice of a few flowers'...These Gerald mixed, Phillip Barry said, like a priest preparing Mass, and he served them ritually; you were only allowed two cocktails, and you were not offered anything else to drink before dinner. During cocktails the children would come down in their bathrobes and sing a song or dance...afterwards they would go up to bed. And then there would be dinner under the linden tree, by candlelight, the women in their beaded dresses and the men in their dinner jackets, with everyone so young and merry and clever."
-- from Everybody Was So Young by Amanda Vaill

Wouldn't you have loved to have been a fly on the wall?

Last week a friend made me a "Juice of a Few Flowers." One sip and in my imagination I was there: summers in the south of France and the glamour of the Jazz Age. With summer coming up and everyone talking about "The Great Gatsby," this would be a great cocktail to include in your summer menus. The recipe is from Ina Garten, but make sure you add some simple syrup to taste (as my friend did) and rim the glasses with sugar. Why not infuse your weekend with a little Jazz Age glamour!

Juice of a Few Flowers Cocktail

1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1/2 cup freshly squeezed pink grapefruit juice
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
1 cup good vodka, such as Grey Goose
Extra lemon juice
Granulated sugar
Fresh mint sprigs

Combine fruit juices and vodka in a pitcher. Dip the rims of 4 martini glasses first in a dish with lemon juice and then in a dish with sugar. When ready to serve, place ice cubes in a cocktail shaker, add the cocktail mixture to fill the shaker three-quarters full, and shake for about 30 seconds.  Pour into the sugared martini glasses and garnish with a sprig of mint. Serve ice-cold.

Recipe via here
Photos via here


  1. More than a "fly on the wall" I would have loved to have been a guest at many of the Murphy's parties! Like you, I'm just fascinated by that time and location - perhaps part of my love for Fitzgerald's "Tender is the Night".
    Definitely going to make that cocktail, it sounds so summery and south of France.

  2. I would be one of the children, just old enough to and fanciful enough to sit on the top of the stairs and imagine . . .

    Though no longer a girl; no, just old enough to be a granny, I am imagining a party this summer - just so I can serve "Juice of a Few Flowers".

    You see, Sunday - you've stirred my imagination, along with my taste buds. Thank you.

  3. The perfect cocktail for our next book club. We all reread The Great Gatsby and are getting together to see the movie on Monday. A cocktail afterwards sounds delicious.

  4. I've copied the recipe to try when the weather warms up a bit. It has such a lovely name and the ingredients sound wonderful. Thank you. Have a lovely weekend.

  5. Great post. Gatsby fever has really taken hold everywhere hasn't it? I loved the film. That Amanda Vaill biography of the Murphy's is a real classic. They ought to re-issue it.

  6. That cocktail sounds delicious. Wishing you a glorious summer of cocktails.

  7. The perfect drink for a Gatsby summer! I saw the film this weekend and adored it. I just downloaded a copy of Tender is the Night on my iPad and can't wait to read it next.

  8. I've seen this recipe in one of Ina's cookbooks and, in the introduction to the recipe, she mentions that she drinks these with one of the grandchildren of Gerald and Sara Murphy, who still lives in the Hamptons!