Allow me to introduce you to Sara and Gerald Murphy, a wealthy couple who befriended many interesting writers and artists of the twentieth century.
I’m currently reading a fascinating biography of the Murphys titled, Everybody Was So Young: Gerald and Sara Murphy: A Lost Generation Love Story. I find them to be kind, intelligent, fun, and fascinating.
I’m most interested in the period of history of the 1920s when they hosted legendary parties in the Côte d’Azur before it was fashionable. In fact, they made it fashionable to summer in the French Riviera. Previously, people went there in the winter months and deserted the area to avoid the summer heat. The Murphy’s reveled in the lifestyle of beach parties with lively cocktails, modern jazz, and elegant food.
Their guest lists included Cole Porter, Zelda and Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, Pablo Picasso, Igor Stravinsky, Serge Diaghilev, Jean Cocteau, Man Ray, John Dos Passos and many other notables of the time.
The Murphys were generous hosts who spared no expense on food and drink. Gerald loved mixing cocktail. I’ve included his most famous recipe below, for what he called the Juice of a Few Flowers. They made the Côte d’Azur a popular hot weather destination by simply being there. In 1923, Gerald persuaded the Hôtel du Cap in Antibes to remain open during the summer by buying the place out and inviting their friends to come and visit. The fashionable set followed. Later they owned a house in Antibes they called Villa America.
Gerald was an accomplished artist and also a business man. His family owned the Mark Cross Company which made luxury leather goods. The image above hangs in the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City. It is appropriately named Cocktail. He painted it in 1927.
Here is Gerald’s recipe for a perfect summer cocktail. Imagine you are in the French Riviera while sipping this lovely concoction.
Juice of a Few Flowers
1 ounce orange juice
1 ounce grapefruit juice
1/2 ounce lime juice
1/2 ounce lemon juice
1 ounce gin
All ingredients are freshly squeezed. Moisten the rim of a cocktail glass with lemon and dip in coarse sugar. Shake the ingredients with ice and serve.