The Adonis Cocktail is a martini cocktail made with sherry as the base spirit. Sherry is a fortified wine that can be considered sweet and as is the sweet vermouth which is the other ingredient. The drink is a wine based cocktail and can thus be considered an aperitif as there is no grain based liquors in the cocktail. The drink is mostly dry and aromatic.
It was made famous by the Waldorf Astoria bar in New York during the early part of the 20th century. The following recipe for Adonis martini first appeared in the book 100 Famous Cocktails, which included several recipes from the Waldorf.
The legend has it that it was named after the very first Broadway musical. The musical Adonis opened at Hooley’s Opera House in Chicago in 1893. It later moved to New York Broadway at Bijou’s in 1884 and ran for several years.
There are several different variations of the drink, that has developed over the years. Almost all recipes is a variation of the vermouth: some include just the sweet vermouth as with the original Waldorf recipe below, while others substituted the dry vermouth instead of sweet. Some recipes also call for both the sweet and dry vermouth in equal proportion.
- 2 shots of Dry Sherry
- 1 shot of Sweet Italian Vermouth
- 2 dashes of Orange Bitters (Fee Brothers or Angostura)
- Orange peel for garnish
- Add some ice cubes into a cocktail shaker or a mixing glass
- Add 2 shots of Dry Sherry into the shaker
- Add 1 shot of Dry Vermouth into the shaker
- Stir the contents well using a stirrer or long spoon
- Add two dashes of orange bitters into a chilled martini glass
- Swirl the bitters in the glass to evenly coat the glass
- Strain the contents of the shaker into the martini glass
- Garnish with an orange peel
Variations and Similar Drinks
Use dry Vermouth instead of sweet vermouth. The result is a even drier drink with no sweetness at all. It is definitely not everybody’s taste.
Use equal parts of dry and sweet vermouth. This helps to tone down the sweetness of the drink.
Bamboo Martini: The drink has same ingredients but in slightly different proportions.
- You can use Fino, Manzanilla or Amontillado sherry all of which should be commonly available.
- As this is more of an aperitif than a cocktail, you can use either a martini glass or wine glass to serve the drink.