The classical beefcake of 19th-century sherry cocktails.

adonis cocktail recipe

Of the stirred aperitif drinks of the 19th century that involve sherry, there are really two archetypes that are riffed on ad nauseum: the Bamboo and the Adonis. Both offer clues to their body type. The Bamboo is lean and tough, the Adonis, a sort of classical beefcake—the brawnier of the two. The drinks, even when variations are applied, still split in two different directions. The Adonis was named after the 1884 Broadway burlesque show by William Gill called Adonis, which is often credited as the first-ever Broadway musical. While the production enjoyed its popularity, the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City created a cocktail in its honor, using a base of sherry together with orange bitters and sweet vermouth. To this day it remains one of the most successful sherry-based aperitif cocktails in the classic canon.


Serving: 1

  • 2 ounces fino sherry
  • 2 ounces fino sherry
  • 1 ounce sweet vermouth
  • 1 ounce sweet vermouth
  • 2 dashes orange bitters (preferably Regans')
  • 2 dashes orange bitters (preferably Regans')

Garnish: orange peel

  1. Add all ingredients to a mixing glass.
  2. Add ice and stir until chilled.
  3. Strain into a chilled coupe or cocktail glass.
  4. Garnish with an orange peel.
Editor's Note

On the fino front, we love working with Lustau's La Ina, which has a stronger, more pungent acetaldehyde note than most finos and tends to hold its own against more brooding flavors. On the vermouth side, we prefer the savory complexity of Carpano Antica. For a fruitier riff on the drink, try Dolin or Martini & Rossi.