The Adonis cocktail brings together vermouth, a couple styles of sherry, orange bitters, and a twist. A cocktail classic.
The Adonis cocktail has its origins in the late 1800’s and, as the story goes, was named after the popular Broadway musical about the Greek myth. It’s a sophisticated beverage featuring sweet and dry sherry mingled with sweet vermouth and orange bitters. It also happens to be a low-alcohol cocktail, so we strongly encourage indulging in seconds. We certainly did.–Angie Zoobkoff
- Quick Glance
- 5 M
- 5 M
- Serves 1
Special Equipment: Long-stemmed coupe (optional)
- 3 dashes orange bitters
- 1 1/2 ounces Carpano Antica vermouth (45 ml)
- 1 ounce Oloroso sherry, or other dark, dry sherry (30 ml)
- 3/4 ounce Pedro Ximénez sherry, or other sweet sherry (22 ml)
- 1 long lemon twist, for garnish
- 1. In a mixing glass filled with ice, combine the bitters, vermouth, and both sherries and stir with a bar spoon.
- 2. Strain the cocktail mixture into a long stemmed coupe (or other glass) filled with ice. Garnish with the lemon twist and serve.
Recipe Testers Reviews
With just 4 straight-up ingredients and a twist, this wonderfully light and tasty Adonis cocktail is at the ready. This is definitely an easy-to-sip aperitif that’s perfect as a before-dinner drink, but I would also consider sipping it all night long. The amber color is lovely and makes me think that it would be delightful over the holidays. The orange bitters add a bit of a spice-filled kick while the vermouth and sherries add a touch of bitterness along with a well-balanced, bittersweet richness. This cocktail is full of flavor and definitely a keeper! Note that it serves one. You might want to consider making a larger batch for all-night sipping. I used Dillon's Small Batch Sweet Vermouth (Canadian) instead of Carpano Antica.
Even though the ingredients for this Adonis cocktail recipe were hard to find, once I mixed it up, I was in love with the subtle flavors of the vermouth and sherry mixed with orange. I can't wait to make more of these flavorful low-alcohol cocktails. I think the cocktail would taste better with a few more dashes of orange bitters and a twist of orange rather than lemon. I used Lustau Amontilado Los Arcos Jerez Xeres, Harvey's Bristol Cream, and Dolin sweet vermouth.
I love having this new-to-me cocktail to add to my toolkit, especially because it’s actually a classic and can be an aperitif or the main event. It gave the Carpano Antica vermouth a starring role to show off the aromatic qualities that make it so interesting and, backed by the bitters, it paired beautifully with a combination of dry and sweet sherry to make a more-ish cocktail—as in, yes, please, I will take a second. I used a dry sherry and a sweeter one. This is very subjective since I find Amontillado sweet, and fino almost dry enough, so in the absence of a proper dry Oloroso I used a fino for the dry side, and a blend of Amontillado for the sweeter one. Someone with a sweeter preference might go with something even more oxidized, but I recommend that you try to pair the sherries as contrasting, so that the overall sweetness (including the vermouth) doesn’t overwhelm. I used Meyer lemon twists. And to keep measurements simple, I encourage you to double this recipe and share. Cheers!
For me, making it with a definitely dry (fino) was what made the contrast and mixture work. It would not have been as appealing with a sweeter combination, although that is subjective. Besides individual preferences, there have been recent changes in rules re: labeling (i.e. since 2012, Olorosos, which are sweet, are supposed to be called Cream Sherry, whereas they once may have been called rich or dulce, and are not what you want for this). Unless you are shopping at a retailer who has a depth of choice AND knowledge, you may be bewildered. I had to go with the DRY and SWEET descriptors to make my best choice and I was happy with the result.