Historical style: A 1920s cocktail party


Here at Luscious, we’re terribly excited about Baz Lurhmann’s The Great Gatsby. It’s coming out in just four weeks (four weeks!), and to celebrate, we’re throwing a 1920s cocktail party.

Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald are two of our current favourite people here at Luscious. They were icons of their time, playing hard and partying harder. As their friend Ring Lardner once said, “Mr Fitzgerald is a novelist and Mrs Fitzgerald is a novelty.”


The cocktail, any one of a number of alcoholic beverages mixed with ice, carbonised water and fruit syrup, had been imagined up in the nineteenth century by curious drinkers excited by the possibilities of artificial carbonisation and early refrigeration. Cocktails had been popular in America in the early 20th century, and then went underground with Prohibition.

Because of Prohibition, which ran from 1919 to 1933, alcohol in America was either bootlegged or made at home, which meant it was rather rough on the drinker.  As such, it was perfect for cocktails.





For my Gatsby party, I’ll be serving plenty of (quality!) gin and whiskey, as well as large finger-bowls of champage a la Gatsby. There are two cocktails mentioned by name in the book, and they’ll both feature prominently, along with some other popular 1920s cocktails.


Gin Rickey

Mentioned only in passing in The Great Gatsby, the Gin Rickey is a perfect summer afternoon pick-me-up. It consists of gin, soda water and lime layered over ice and stirred. Drink while wearing a cool white dress and stealing glances at your lover.

  • 1 1/2 oz gin
  • juice of 1/2 limes
  • carbonated water
  • 1 lime wedge

Pour juice of lime and gin into a highball glass over ice cubes. Fill with carbonated water and stir. Add the wedge of lime and serve.


Mint Julep

This was the drink that was not drunk on that fateful hot afternoon. I maintain that if they’d all just sat down and shared a couple of mint juleps as planned, none of that sorry business would have happened.

  • 4 fresh mint sprigs
  • 2 1/2 oz bourbon whiskey
  • 1 tsp powdered sugar
  • 2 tsp water

Muddle mint leaves, powdered sugar, and water in a Collins glass. Fill the glass with shaved or crushed ice and add bourbon. Top with more ice and garnish with a mint sprig. Serve with a straw.



Not mentioned at all in The Great Gatsby, but we all know it as the favourite of one Bond, James Bond. Sleek and sophisticated, the martini is a classic. Perfect for an elegant pre-dinner apertif.

  • 2 1/2 oz gin
  • 1/2 oz dry vermouth
  • 1 green olive or lemon twist for garnish
  • Orange or Angostura bitters (optional)

Pour the ingredients into a mixing glass filled with ice cubes. Stir gently, then strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Add a dash of orange or Angostura bitters if desired. Garnish with an olive or lemon twist.



Named for an American army captain in Paris who always drove up to his local in the sidecar of his chauffeur-driven motorcycle, the sidecar is made up of cognac, triple sec and lemon juice. Sweet and sour, this is a perfect drink to hold an sip while debating the finer points of Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby.

  • 3/4 oz triple sec
  • 1/2 oz cognac
  • 3/4 oz lemon juice

Shake ingredients with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a twist of lemon peel.

Ashleigh x

PS. Buy the novel here.




Buy this book about Gatsby cocktails:

Gatsby Cocktails – Classic Cocktails from the Jazz Age by Ben Reed 


Gatsby Cocktails - Classic Cocktails from the Jazz Age by Ben Reed


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