A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from February 14, 2009
Caruso (cocktail)

The opera star Enrico Caruso (1873-1921) gave his name to the Caruso Cocktail—gin, vermouth and crème de menthe. Most cocktail accounts agree that the Caruso cocktail had its origins in New York City. Some accounts say that the cocktail was mixed for his first appearance at New York’s Metropolitan Opera (in 1903); other accounts say that the cocktail was first mixed at the Knickerbocker Hotel (opened in 1906, and where Caruso kept a residence) and the Knickerbocker’s famous bar, dubbed the “Forty-Second Street Country Club.” Some accounts say that Caruso himself invented the cocktail; other accounts say that it was invented for him in his honor.

A 1907 citation (below) describes the Caruso cocktail as “the latest innovation” in cocktails.


Wikipedia: Enrico Caruso
Enrico Caruso (born Errico Caruso; February 25, 1873 – August 2, 1921) was an Italian tenor. Caruso was also one of the most significant and renowned singers in any genre in both the 19th and 20th Centuries, and one of the most important pioneers of recorded music. Caruso’s popular recordings and his extraordinary voice, known for its youthful beauty, mature power and unequalled richness of tone, made him perhaps the best-known operatic star of his era. Such was his influence on singing style, virtually all subsequent Italian and Spanish tenors (and many non-Mediterranean tenors, too) have been his heirs to a greater or lesser extent.

Caruso remains famous when few others of early opera are remembered. He was a client of Edward Bernays (the father of public relations) during the latter’s tenure as a press agent in the U.S.

Minnesota Monthly
The Caruso
Enrico Caruso wasn’t just a hell of a singer, he was also a fun, larger-than-life character who enjoyed his enormous celebrity. In other words, a rock star. When he was in New York, he stayed at the Knickerbocker Hotel, whose bar was the favorite resort of society’s sports and swells (its nickname was “The Broadway Country Club”). He fit right in. This is the drink they made for him there. It’s strong and sweet, but not in any way syrupy. Bravo.

Stir well with cracked ice:
1 1/4 ounce gin
1 ounce dry vermouth
3/4 ounce green crème de menthe
Strain into chilled cocktail glass and twist a swatch of thin-cut lemon peel over the top.

About.com; Cocktails
Caruso
By Colleen Graham, About.com
A Caruso is a Martini with a dash of mint served on the rocks. The end result of this recipe is a sweet, green cocktail that is perfect for dessert, St. Patrick’s Day or anytime you feel like a bit of mint in your Martini. You can also try a Caruso Blanco by substituting the green creme de menthe with a white creme de menthe.
Ingredients:
1 oz gin
1 oz dry vermouth
dash of creme de menthe, green

The Italian Taste
Caruso
Ingredients
1/3 Dry Gin
1/3 Dry Vermouth
1/3 Mint Cream

How to make it
Place some ice cubes in the shaker and add all the other ingredients in the exact sequence. Shake for 6-8 seconds and strain into the glass. The cocktail is ready. This cocktail is very old. It was created in honour of Caruso, the famous tenor from Naples, when he sang for the first time at Metropolitan in New York.

Google Books
Transactions of the Society on Gynecology of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia
Volume for 1907
Pg. 101:
I have my opinion of the ultra fashionable society where they drink cocktails, serve champagne, and cigarettes are not eschewed; the “Caruso” cocktail (the feeler), I believe, is the latest innovation.

Google Books
Mixer and Server
By Hotel and Restaurant Employees’ International Alliance and Bartenders’ International League of America
Published by Hotel and Restaurant Employee’s International Alliance and Bartenders’ International League of America., 1929
Item notes: v.16 1907
Pg. 41:
The following is a new and popular drink:
Caruso Cocktail—Benedictine, 2 dashes; Italian vermouth, 4 dashes; brandy, 1 jigger, served with a smile and 1 cherry.—By Red Asher, Mixologist of Webster Hall, 11th Street and Eighth Avenue, N. Y.

Google Books
The Savoy Cocktail Book
By Harry Craddock
Edition: illustrated
Published by Anova Books
1999 (Originally published in 1930)
Pg. 42:
CARUSO COCKTAIL.
1/3 Dry Gin. 1/3 French Vermouth. 1/3 Green Creme de Menthe.

12 April 1951, New Mexican (Santa Fe, NM), pg. A13, col. 1:
BAR RECIPE OF THE WEEK
CARUSO COCKTAI:
1/3 Gin—1/3 French Vermouth—1/3 Creme de Menthe (green). Stir well, with cracked ice, and strain.
(White Rock Drug—ed.)

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityFood/Drink • (0) Comments • Saturday, February 14, 2009 • Permalink