Papa Doble (and a giveaway!)

Bleeding Edge paperback PynchonThe paperback of Bleeding Edge comes out tomorrow in the US. That’s the updated cover passing on our right. The press release from Penguin Press reminds me (as I’m sure I don’t have to remind you) that the book is “dazzling and ludicrous,” “full or verbal sass and pizzazz … totally gonzo, totally wonderful,” “a necessary novel and one that literary history has been waiting for.” Which all sounds pretty dead on.

In celebration of the first appearance of this great novel in lighter floppier form, I have here (thanks to Penguin Press) five copies of the book to give you. Hopefully not all five of them to just one of you, but something more like maybe one each to five of you. If you want one, just leave a comment at the bottom here.

But first! The Papa Doble. In Chapter Six of BE, the appearance of political activist from way back March Kelleher gets Maxine reminiscing about their first meeting, “ten or fifteen years ago… when landlords were reverting to type and using Gestapo techniques to get sitting tenants to move.” They meet at a protest against their landlord, and head for a drink when it starts to get dark.

The nearest bar was the Old Sod, technically Irish, though an aging gay Brit or two may have wandered infrequently in. The drink March had in mind was a Papa Doble, which Hector the bartender, previously only seen drawing beers and pouring shots, assembled for March as if he’d been doing it all week. Maxine had one too, just to keep her company.

The Papa Doble is a drink with serious literary history, centred on that most famously boozed-up man of letters, Ernest Hemingway. In 1932, Hemingway was escaping prohibition living in Cuba, and frequenting a bar called La Floridita–the home of the Daiquiri. Hemingway, being Papa Doble Pynchon Bleeding EdgeHemingway, ordered his with double the rum and none of the sugar. Papa was Hemingway’s nickname in Cuba; doble is Spanish for double: the Papa Doble was born. Double white rum, lime juice, grapefruit juice, and maraschino liqueur. The WSJ has a great history here. As the BE Wiki points out, it’s an appropriate drink for civil activist March Kelleher, given Hemingway’s own fight against facism in the Spanish Civil War.

To get mine, I wandered last night into New Gold Mountain, a pretty well-hidden bar in Melbourne that I’d previously found by accident trying to go somewhere else. (This is a snazzy cocktail bar and not an unlikely Irish pub, but I figured March and Maxine’s experience was unrepeatable.) I resisted their beautiful drink menu, had a chat to the bartender about Papa Doble history, and whipped out Bleeding Edge for some sneaky photos. When he brought over our drinks he told me he “made it with sugar because if you drink it the way Hemingway had it it’s pretty unpalatable–he was a degenerate alcoholic after all.” Which, well, I’m not complaining. It was a mighty enjoyable drink. Sour and sweet and very nicely balanced. It’s not hard to see how old Hemo could have knocked back a dozen or so of the unsweetened version.

Oh but and I have books to give away! If you want to get your hands on the newly-portable paperback Bleeding Edge, comment below and include your email address so I can get in touch with you. Bonus points for photos with books and/or alcohol. Five people with US addresses will win. (If you can’t see a comments box, you might have to make sure you’re only viewing this post, and not my whole front page.) If you don’t need another copy, send your friends my way! Cheers!