Today I came across a book I hadn’t seen in a while. Funnily enough I was writing about the author in my post ‘Bohemians at heart? or an Ass in Bohemia?’ The author is Nina Hamnett, Queen of Bohemia: the title is ‘Laughing Torso’. The book is a first edition 1932 and contains reminiscences of Hamnett’s Bohemian life in Paris and London, where she knew Amedeo Modigliani, Roger Fry , Augustus John and Walter Sickert among many others.
Besides being a good read, it has an interesting recipe scribbled in pencil in the margin of page 174 It is in the Chapter entitled ‘Back to Paris and celebrities’, where she talks about Magician Aleister Crowley inviting some friends back to his place to try out a new cocktail he has just invented.
I would absolutely LOVE it if Hamnett had actually scribbled down this cocktail herself in this actual book (dictated by the Great Beast Crowley!) Alas, there’s no way of knowing who the recipe scribbler is.
By the way, the actual recipe of this cocktail is not listed in the book: this makes the pencil version all the more intriguing. Incidentally Hamnett and Crowley once involved in a Law suit together in later years – which Crowley lost. Artist Hamnett was known for her wild ways and her drinking and was quite a character in Soho. This woman posed for Henri Gaudier Brzeska and Sickert and the titleof the her book ‘Laughing Torso’ refers to when she was Brzeska’s model.
Kubla Khan a drink supposedly invented by Aleicester Crowley
1 part Gin
1 part Cavados
half tsp Creme de Menthe
20 drops laudanum (a tincture of opium, formerly used as a drug)
Filter through ice
Sit back and er …enjoy!