Soul Kiss – Old Waldorf Bar Days

After a musical comedy of that name, which, because of its appellation, stirred up a good many ideas among the young – and middle-aged – about the latter part of the first decade of the century. Whatever the peculiarities of “Soul Kissing,” the nature of the concoction itself leads to a surmise that it was rather “warm stuff,” as the saying was.

(bar glass)

One-third French Vermuth

Two-thirds Dry Gin

White of Egg


Soul Kiss was launched in 1908 by Ziegfeld in New York, in between his more famous ‘follies’, famous for the displays of beautiful chorus girls, commonly known as Ziegfeld girls, who paraded up and down flights of stairs on stage dressed up elaborately as anything from birds to battleships. I imagine like the Follies, Soul Kiss was a must see for the year that it was performed, and the talk of the town. As much as I’d like to imagine the dancers descending on the brass-rail bar at the Waldorf for a ‘Soul Kiss’ or three after a show, bars were more of a male-dominated affair, and it wasn’t until prohibition that woman were more frequently seen in bars alongside men. Its funny how it takes an extreme law to break down social inhibitions.

I mentioned earlier that I’ve used the spelling in the books, vermouth is interesting here. Vermouth is a fortified wine, a little like port, only herbs and spices are added, along with some sugar, then its married together and bottled. The name comes from the German name for wormwood, Wermut, hence the strange spelling. And yes wormwood, that incredibly bitter thing that makes absinthe, absinthe, is in all vermouth.

Looking at the recipe it’s a gin martini, with egg white over crushed ice. A weird combination. On trying it the vermouth isn’t sweet enough, and the drink lacks depth, I remade it with a little added sweetness and grated some nutmeg on top, the nutmeg was probably a mistake as it overpowered the drink somewhat, the sweetness helped a lot though, making it far more palatable. It’s a strange concoction, not sure how soon I’ll try it again, it has broadened my mind a little regarding using emulsifiers like egg white in drinks other than the classic sour combo, although I imagine this would have more impact with out the ‘frappe’.