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Whisky Sour; F Scott Fitzgerald

F Scott Fitzgerald conjugated the word Cocktail

F Scott Fitzgerald is best known for writing The Great Gatsby and Tender Is The Night, those magnificent novels of glamour, decadence and tragedy.

He wrote other novels, short stories and letters. Meanwhile, his notes and lists collected ideas and impressions, ranging from the profound to the banal, including a list of thirteen ways to use up leftover Thanksgiving Turkey.

He was, ahem, more than well acquainted with alcohol, so it seems apt that the most striking symbol of the Jazz Age, The Cocktail, had already become a verb as well as a noun in his time.

Perhaps only F Scott Fitzgerald could think about conjugating the word Cocktail when used as a verb. This is in a letter he wrote in 1928, to Blanche Knopf, the wife of his publisher. It goes like this.

The letter

F. Scott Fitzgerald conjugates To Cocktail

F Scott Fitzgerald conjugated To Cocktail in this letter

“Dear Blanche,

I hate like hell to have to decline all those invitations, but as this is three days too late I have no choice. As “cocktail”, so I gather, has become a verb, it ought to be conjugated at least once, so here goes”

Present: I cocktail, thou cocktail, we cocktail, it cocktails, you cocktail, they cocktail.

Imperfect: I was cocktailing.

Perfect (past definite): I cocktailed.

Past perfect: I have cocktailed.

Conditional: I might have cocktailed.

Pluperfect: I had cocktailed.

Subjunctive: I would have cocktailed.

Voluntary subjunctive: I should have cocktailed.

Preterite: I did cocktail.

Imperative: Cocktail!

Interrogative: Cocktailest thou? (Dos’t Cocktail?) (or Wilt cocktail?)

Subjunctive Conditional: I would have had to have cocktailed

Conditional Subjunctive: I might have had to have cocktailed

Participle: Cocktailing”


Cocktail as a verb isn’t included in every dictionary (though it is in Surely it’s about time it was?

Finally, I’m told Fitzgerald shared Whisky Sours with Hemingway while in France. I suppose they were cocktailing. Genius.

In the mood for a cocktail? Try this Espresso Martini.

For more about the language of drinks, read this.

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