September 29: Miguel de Cervantes

CervantesPioneering Spanish writer Miguel de Cervantes was born on this day in 1547. Cervantes is best known for his landmark novel Don Quixote, considered by literary historians to be the first European novel.

Don Quixote is a tragicomic satire of medieval chivalry.As you’re surely aware, the novel is the tale of Alonso Quijano, a Spanish noble, who after reading too many medieval romances embarks on a quest to restore the traditions of chivalry as the knight Don Quixote de la Mancha. With his trusted squire, a simple farmer named Sancho Panza, at his side, Quixote embarks on a series of misadventures, most famously tilting at windmills he believes to be giants, in an attempt to make reality more like the books he so loves.

Ten years after the initial publication and great success of Don Quixote, Cervantes released a continuation to the story. In this sequel, Don Quixote, Part Two (which is typically now included with the original novel in most printings), Cervantes uses (some would say “invents”) the technique of metatextualism. Cervantes implies that not only were the events of Don Quixote real, but since the novel’s publication, the real Don Quixote’s fame has grown. When strangers meet Quixote and Panza, their reputation precedes them, and eventually a Duke and a Duchess seek to amuse themselves at poor Qixote’s expense by sending him on a series of fake quests. This idea of characters being aware that they have been written about and are characters in a story was unheard of at the time. Since then, the concept has been a common literary device, used in everything from the introduction to Mark Twain’s Adventures Of Huckleberry Finn to Rocky & Bullwinkle.

On the occasion of Cervantes’ birth, let’s raise a glass to Don Quixote with a Distorted Chivalry. This drink was created by Joe Intiso, a bartender at the restaurant Postrio in Las Vegas’ Venetian Hotel And Casino, and fittingly uses Don Q Rum. This potent number is sweet, but too many of them might make you mistake windmills for giants.

Distorted Chivalry

  • 1 ¾ ounces Don Q Gran Añejo Rum
  • ¾ ounce Pierre Ferrand Dry Orange Curaçao
  • ½ ounce orgeat syrup
  • ½ ounce fresh lime juice
  • ¼ ounce Crème Yvette
  • ¼ ounce Pernod

Wash the inside of a chilled cocktail glass with the Pernod, then shake all other ingredients with ice and pour into the glass. Garnish with a lime wheel.

Tomorrow: The story of Tamino and the Queen Of The Night.



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