Pre-prohibition cocktails and modern twists on classics


Adonis 2


1.5oz Fino Sherry

1.5oz Sweet Vermouth

2 dashes Orange Bitters

Lemon Twist


Add the Fino Sherry, Sweet Vermouth and Orange Bitters to a chilled mixing glass. Add ice and stir until well chilled. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with the lemon twist.


Dry citrus and light raisin scented nose. Smooth bodied with a lightly sweetened but predominantly dry palate with accents of quinine and citrus. Lightly peppered crisp bitter finish.  Makes a perfect light aperitif.



An original Adonis program

You might assume (as I did) that this cocktail was named after Adonis, the Greek god of beauty and desire, which is sort of correct by extension. The Adonis cocktail was actually named after a very popular play from 1884 called, you guessed it, Adonis. That being said, the play was about a replica of the ancient sexy statue of the Greek god.

The woman who sculpts the statue finds Adonis so beautiful that she falls in love with it. With the help of a goddess (because they are always around when you need them), Adonis is brought to life, but eventually sold to a Dutchess, who also falls in love with it. Adonis would rather “play the field” and goes after a small town girl, but ultimately fails, even though the rest of the town is infatuated with him. Frustrated and fed up, Adonis asks to be turned back into a statue.

Known as a “Burlesque Nightmere,” I can’t decide if this premise is somewhat intriguing or one of the stupidest things I’ve ever heard. Regardless, it was the first Broadway play to go for more than 500 performances in its initial run at the Bijou Theatre (603 to be exact). The play was also revived multiple times do to the popularity. The star, Henry E. Dixley, and his famous tights clad legs (I’m not making this up), were a huge sensation with the ladies of the late 1800s.

This one's for the ladies... (source:

Henry E. Dixley as Adonis… you’re welcome ladies. (source:

I haven’t been able to figure out who actually created the Adonis cocktail, but I’ve read that it was very popular at the Waldorf-Astoria Bar around this time. I’ve also learned that searching for images of “Adonis Play” may not be the smartest move…

All kidding aside, Adonis is one of my favorite lower proof cocktails and definitely deserves a try, especially if you’re in the mood for something on the lighter side.

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