Today would have been the 99th birthday of writer William S. Burroughs. In this space, we often celebrate writers and historical figures with a recipe for their libation of choice, but of course in Burroughs' case that's a little difficult. Heroin and LSD aren't exactly proper fodder for a food blog, and his late-life alcoholic beverage of choice doesn't require much of a recipe, though I'll give it to you anyway:
One part (1/2 cup) cheap vodka
One part (1/2 cup) flat Coca Cola
If you're looking to celebrate Burroughs' life in slightly less illegal or alarming ways than the exact manner the writer preferred for himself, we have a couple of alternatives.
Last year, a bartender in St. Louis came up with a drink named the William S. Burroughs, a mixture of rye, vermouth, benedictine, bitters and absinthe. It sounds delicious and might make a lovely alternative to that glass of warm vodka and flat coke.
There's a bar in New York City called The Naked Lunch, after the Burroughs novel of the same name, and they have a cocktail on their list called “The Burroughs” with scotch, orange, cherry bitters and blueberry syrup, which kind of sounds awful but who knows?
Here, too, is a recipe for William S. Burroughs beer, made by a brewer and former neighbor of Burroughs as a gift for his 80th birthday. Because Burroughs only really drank his vodka and Coke at that point, he didn't drink the birthday beer himself, but instead gave it away to people he liked.
On this day, we also give our appreciation for the many levels of wisdom in this Burroughs quote: “So cheat your landlord if you can and must, but do not try to shortchange the Muse. It cannot be done. You can't fake quality any more than you can fake a good meal.”
Happy birthday, sir. Cheers.
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