Writers and their Cocktails: Carson McCullers and Her Sonnie Boy


Carson McCullers was a short-story writer, playwright and screenwriter. You may have read her first novel, The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter, as part of a school assignment back when. Her drink of choice while writing: Sonnie Boy.

Sonnie Boy is a simple mixture of hot tea and sherry. McCullers would drink it straight through the workday from a thermos, claiming it was only tea. I’m sure it smelled slightly different.

You can definitely make your version of the Sonnie Boy. For some guidance, perhaps start with a Hot Toddy. The effects are about the same and the taste is oh so delicious. This is my winter go-to cocktail, but it’s also night for those slightly chilled summer evenings.

Hot Toddy

Hot Toddy


  • 1½ ounce whiskey
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • ½ ounce lemon juice
  • 1 cup hot water (or green tea if you so choose)
  • Lemon wedge, cinnamon stick and star anise, for garnish (optional)


  1. Combined the first four ingredients into the bottom of a warmed mug or Irish coffee glass (or something similar). If desired, garnish with the lemon, cinnamon stick or star anise.

I do not advise following the drinking habits of Carson McCullers (she apparently started with beer at breakfast and then continued with Sonnie Boys concluding with cocktails in the evening – my liver just shivered), however I can attest to a Hot Toddy being a fantastic writing and reading companion.

That, or simply enjoy if you want a good drink. Cheers!

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Rachel Yeomans
Editor at Lit with a Twist
I'm a writer, reader and dreamer. I'm proud to be the editor and creator of Lit with a Twist. My co-editors, Ella and Fitzgerald, can't be trusted. Probably because they're cats.