This drink is named after Ernest Hemingway's book, Death In The Afternoon. The cocktail recipe was first published in 1935 and called for iced Champagne but has been modified with more budget-friendly sparkling wines such as Prosecco or Cava. The main feature that captures the spookiness of the Death In The Afternoon cocktail is the combination of absinthe and sparkling wine to achieve a cloudy, greenish-yellow color, or as Hemingway described it, a "proper opalescent milkiness." The use of absinthe in the beverage was inspired by Hemingway's time enjoying the spirit while in France.

Although a simple Prosecco and absinthe drink, the sparkling wine provides a light and refreshing feel while the absinthe contributes a cozy taste of anise, which is often compared to the flavor of black licorice. Despite this beverage featuring sparkling wine, the end result is not bubbly. The reaction of adding another liquid to the sparkling wine minimizes the bubbles. The cloudiness is a response to the absinthe being diluted by the sparkling wine, so together, these two ingredients create a unique and very scientific cocktail.
Cocktail recipe image to video

Cocktail Ingredients

  • 1 ½ ounce absinthe
  • 4 ½ ounces chilled Champagne or Prosecco

Prep time: 2 minutes | Cook time: 0 minutes | Servings: 1 drink

Cocktail Directions

  1. Pour the absinthe into a coupe glass.
  2. Carefully top off with Champagne or Prosecco.

Note: It is vital that the Champagne or Prosecco is chilled before use since the drink does not call for ice in it. A tip for an extra cold cocktail is to chill your coupe glass prior to serving.

Tools & Equipment

A 7-ounce Champagne coupe glass is used in this recipe in order to provide ample space while serving ingredients into the glass but also while sipping on the Hemingway drink. The wide bowl provides a full view of the cloudy reaction of the cocktail solution but also allows you to enjoy all of the aromas of the drink for a complete, one-of-a-kind experience. Plus, the narrow stem presents a secure and comfortable grip without a bulky feel. Made from tempered, lead-free glass, this coupe glass grants long-lasting durability for everyday cocktail-serving and dishwasher use.

To precisely measure the cocktail’s ingredients, a jigger is needed. In the case of this Hemingway cocktail, a gold-plated, Japanese-style jigger is the perfect mix of elegance and convenience. With a double-sided construction, this bar tool makes it easy to switch between 1- and 2-ounce measurements. Plus, this sleek jigger has a tall and narrow design with a rolled rim to catch any drips and avoid potential spills. Unlike the coupe glasses, it’s recommended that the jigger is hand washed to preserve its polished look for continuous use at every happy hour or dinner party.

Heming-Way Of Drinking

Whether made to enjoy in the afternoon or as a nightcap, this Death In The Afternoon drink recipe is ideal for easy drink-making. Although composed of only 2 ingredients, the history and creation of the beverage are distinct - much like its strong flavor. While Hemingway instructed to “drink three to five of these slowly” in the original recipe, the Death In The Afternoon cocktail is made to be experienced however preferred.