Adonis – Old Waldorf Bar Days
Two dashes Orange Bitters
One-half Italian Vermouth
Named in honour of a theatrical offering which made at least two persons famous. One was Henry E Dixey, a handsome and talented actor, long on Broadway; the other was Fanny Ward. Yes Fanny Ward! One doesn’t see much of Fanny these days as one did when she played Cupid – speaking literally, that is, for Fanny in the play was Cupid. Fanny discovered England late in the last century, married a South African millionaire and had a bijou house on Berkeley Square. Her Daughter married a peer. She herself is now teaching Paris, London and New York – and even Hollywood – that sixty years means nothing, if you know what to do.
Crockett really does go on and on in this book, which I like. In fact about half of the book is just dedicated to stories (some taller than others) about the Waldorf’s goings on, which is quite charming. One thing this resonates with me is that how when you work for a while in a good establishment you really start to know your guests, and take an interest in them, and often whenever they are in town they will come to visit. I’ve worked several places over the years where regulars will literally turn up to the bar with luggage straight from the airport on their way home for a drink or 5 first, many of whom have become good friends.
The above story dates Crockett. Fanny appeared as Cupid in 1890, and the book was written in 1931, but he makes it seem like just yesterday. In fact by 1931 Fanny had divorced the then penniless diamond magnate, restarted her acting career in Cecille B DeMille’s first big hit silent film, and appeared in another 30 or so films, was married again, and trading on her famously youthful looks opened a Parisian beauty shop, called “the fountain of youth”. She was a busy woman.
Digging a little more it appears that Crockett has his Broadway a little confused, which I guess is understandable in a world before the internet.
It’s a drink which feels like it’s appeared in every cocktail book ever written, I think as it’s an ‘A’ I remember it from starting to flip through them all. Its very good as something a little lighter, being based solely on fortified wines, after stirring down I suspect its only about 15% or the same strength as a strong glass of wine. This is a good drink if you’re after something a little lighter, and it looks beautiful, almost ageless, like a certain Mz Ward.