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  • Writer's picturepashur

Death in the Afternoon Absinthe

Updated: Jun 30, 2022

I recently created the art for Key West Trading Company's Death in the Afternoon Absinthe label.

Death in the Afternoon, is a cocktail consisting of Absinthe and Champagne, invented by author Ernest Hemingway. He would drink this at Sloppy Joe's Bar in Key West. Death in the Afternoon is also the title of an Ernest Hemingway novel about the ceremony and traditions of Spanish bullfighting, published in 1932. The bullfighter's sword was my inspiration for the sword the skeleton is holding on the label.


I had to design the art to fit the specific die cut shape which had already been created. Let the creativity begin!

The client also originally wanted the skeleton to be looking at an old ship that it was holding. I wanted to give the skeleton a drink with a hallucinogenic aroma and a sword (based off the Spanish bullfighting in Ernest Hemingway's book, Death in the Afternoon). I thought this subtle reference would connect the two and create a bit of mystery and intrigue. Who knows what will happen when you drink this? Would my client go for it?

The client wanted their KWTC ship logo on the label, so I incorporated it by making it appear to be part of an absinthe hallucination, sailing on the aromatic fumes of the hallucination itself.

I wanted the label to be black and printed on a metallic foil label. Knowing that would add costs to the printing, I once again wondered, would my client go for it?

After designing the label to say Absinthe, for legalities I had to add VERTE on the same line as ABSINTHE so I had to redo much of the fancy filigree. Fancy filigree is difficult to do. Did I mention it was difficult?

So, did my client go for it all? He totally did!!!

Labels being printed by All American Labels and Packaging.

I also designed the logo and sign for the Key West Absinthe Society.

Photo by the Key West Food and Wine Festival.

It pairs well with the Death in the Afternoon bottle… go figure. : )

Photo by the Key West Food and Wine Festival.

To snag a bottle for yourself, be sure to order it online by following the green fairy to the KWTC website: and remember to follow Hemingway’s suggestion “Drink three to five of these, slowly.”

Photo by Clint James Lester.

To see the progress of how the label went from idea to finished label (several progress sketches), check out my Patreon page at:

Be sure to follow my instagram page at:


Design & Illustration: Pashur

Final Design Production: Samantha Thomas-Gomez

Client: Key West Trading Company

Printer: All American Labels

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