Adonis: Nectar Of The Gods

What is your favorite aperitivo cocktail? If your answer is Negroni or Manhattan, we already like you, a bit. There is a wide variety of other cocktails that fit perfectly to the aperitivo, which you might not have heard about. Today we want to introduce you the Adonis (no, not the Greek god)

The Adonis is the result of combining two amazing and undoubtedly tasteful fortified wines: vermouth and sherry. At this point we have already discussed vermouth extensively, its origins and how it is made (if you are new here, check our previous articles and catch up!) But what is sherry?

Sherry is a fortified wine produced in Spain, specifically in the area of Jerez, Andalucía. Produced under the ancient Spanish method of “criaderas y soleras”, the characteristics of the region’s climate provide unique features to this kind of wines. You can read more about this amazing drink here: Everything you need to know about Sherry.


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Do you want to know when and where did these two fortified wines combine to create the Adonis?


Well ok, we’ll tell you more anyway.

This pre-prohibition cocktail dates back to the 1880s, in the USA. According to Imbeb Magazine, the name was chosen in honor of a popular play from 1884 called Adonis (easy to guess, right?) The play, performed at the Bijou Theatre, was the first Broadway play to go for more than 500 performances in its initial run, reaching a total of 603 performances.

About its creator, unfortunately there are no clear evidences to identify the person who first prepared and served an Adonis. Some theories point at “Professor” Jerry Thomas as its creator, who, curiously enough, was the founder of the Bijou Theatre.

The first venue to serve one is also not so clear. Some people would say it was at the bar of the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York, claiming it to be the first venue proving the presence of the cocktail in its menu. In fact, it does appear in their bar book published in 1935 by Albert Stevens Crockett. But we also find the recipe in the Savoy cocktail book published in 1930 by Harry Craddock, from the American Bar at the Savoy Hotel in London. Controversy and the cocktail world meeting once again.


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Regardless of who created it and where, we encourage you to try preparing your own Adonis. The recipe is simple and the result is great, so follow the guidelines of Kara Newman on Only with the little adding of some orange bitters (we like it this way!)


  • 45 ml Fino Sherry
  • 45 ml Sweet vermouth
  • 2 dashes Orange Bitters

Add all the ingredients in a mixing glass with ice. Stir until chilled. Pour into a coupe glass previously chilled, and garnish with an orange peel.


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Lastly, for all you aperitivo and cocktail lovers, these are the 3 things you should keep in mind about the Adonis:

  • Adonis is a classic cocktail, from the pre-prohibition period, created in New York in the 1880s.
  • It was named in honor of the Broadway play Adonis, as a tribute for being the first play reaching more than 500 performances.
  • It gathers the best of two magnificent fortified wines, sherry and our beloved vermouth. With some orange bitters for a perfect taste.

Don’t know what to drink on your next aperitivo? Try ordering an Adonis. The combination of two aperitivo drinks by themselves such as sherry and vermouth provides an amazing bittersweet taste that fits perfectly the occasion. And even if your bartender doesn’t know how to prepare it you can always guide him on how to make one for you. Or change your bartender; we leave that decision up to you. Cheers.


jorgeMy name is Jorge Ferrer, I am a spirits and cocktails lover and a vermouth enthusiast. I earned my MsC in Innovation and Entrepreneurship at ESADE Business School and at the moment I hold a Junior Brand Manager position in Brown-Forman. I am planning to market my own vermouth, feel free to reach out or connect with me at or @jorge_chinaski


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