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The Adonis cocktail is a beverage that transcends eras with its sophisticated taste. This vintage masterpiece is a seamless marriage of sweet vermouth and sherry. For those with a penchant for aperitifs or digestifs, the Adonis is a distinguished choice. It effortlessly transitions from a pre-dinner indulgence to a post-dinner delight, or even a nightcap to savor slowly. 

Adonis alcoholic cocktail drink with sherry and red vermouth, black bar counter background, steel tools and bottles

Beyond its captivating taste, the Adonis holds its own in the realm of hosting. Impress your guests with a drink that exudes both simplicity and sophistication. The uncomplicated recipe belies the richness of its character, leaving an indelible impression on the palates of those fortunate enough to partake.


The Adonis has a rich history that dates back to the late 19th century. The cocktail was created in honor of the 1884 Broadway musical, Adonis, which reached the milestone of more than 500 shows. The cocktail was first crafted at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City, where it quickly became a popular drink among the hotel’s guests.

Bartender sprays an orange peel in cocktail glass with ice at a bar counter

According to the “Pearls from Billy, the bartender” column in New York’s The Sun newspaper on March 27th, 1887, the Adonis Cocktail was made with equal parts of sherry and vermouth, a dash of orange bitters, and a twist of lemon. However, the oldest printed recipe for the Adonis comes from the 1916 book “Jack’s Manual” by Jack Grohusko. The Adonis recipe in this book is 40% sherry, 60% sweet vermouth, and 2 dashes of orange bitters.

The Waldorf-Astoria Hotel was a popular gathering place for the city’s elite, including Broadway actors and producers. The Adonis Cocktail was a favorite among these patrons, and it soon became a staple on cocktail menus across the city. The cocktail’s popularity continued to grow, and it was soon featured in cocktail recipe books across the country.

See also  Tequila Negroni

The Adonis Cocktail is often associated with the Broadway show, Adonis, but it is also linked to other Broadway productions of the era. For example, the cocktail was mentioned in the 1889 play “Young Bloods” by Henry E. Dixey. In the play, the character Beaver, who is described as having “matchless sheen,” orders an Adonis Cocktail. The cocktail is also mentioned in the 1904 play “The Silver-Headed Canes,” which was set in the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel.

How to Make It

Adonis alcoholic cocktail drink with sherry and red vermouth, black bar counter background, steel tools and bottles


Yield: 1
Prep Time: 2 minutes
Total Time: 2 minutes


  • 1 ½ oz fino sherry
  • 1 ½ oz sweet vermouth
  • Bitters (preferably orange bitters), optional
  • Orange peel garnish, optional


  1. Fill a mixing glass with ice.
  2. Add fino sherry and sweet vermouth to the mixing glass.
  3. Stir the mixture until it is well-chilled.
  4. Strain the mixture into a chilled cocktail glass.
  5. Garnish the cocktail with an orange peel or twist.

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There are many ways to customize the Adonis cocktail to your liking. Here are a few variations that you can try:

Dry Adonis

If you prefer a drier Adonis, you can use a dry oloroso sherry instead of a sweet sherry like amontillado or cream. Dry oloroso has a nutty, savory flavor that pairs well with the herbal notes of vermouth.

Sweet Adonis

If you have a sweet tooth, you can use a sweeter vermouth like Carpano Antica or Martini & Rossi. These vermouths have a higher sugar content than other brands, which will make the Adonis cocktail sweeter.

See also  Waldorf 

Herbal Adonis

If you want to add more herbal notes to the Adonis cocktail, you can use Dolin vermouth instead of Italian vermouth. Dolin has a lighter, more floral flavor than most Italian vermouths, which will complement the sherry nicely.

Manzanilla Adonis

If you want to try a different type of sherry, you can use manzanilla sherry instead of fino or oloroso. Manzanilla has a briny, salty flavor that pairs well with the citrus notes of the Adonis cocktail.

Please drink responsibly, be fully accountable with your alcohol consumption, and show others respect.

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