Tag Archives: RECIPES

Mary Astor’s Painless Anesthetic

Actress Mary Astor was born on this day in 1906.

She starred in silent movies as well as “talkies,” and is perhaps best-known for having played the role of Brigid O’Shaugnessy in the movie The Maltese Falcon. She also played the role of Mrs. Anna Smith in the movie Meet Me In St. Louis.

In searching the Internet for a Mary Astor cocktail, I came across two recipes that piqued my interest. The first was a drink I found on the site of a liqueur brand called Chareau, which is a booze company based in California — and the liqueur they make is aloe flavored.

Check out the site’s “about” section by clicking here. The liqueur sounds mind-boggling. I don’t know that I ever would’ve thought of aloe as a primary ingredient for a liqueur. Of course, I’m also not a California farmer.

Other ingredients in the liqueur include: Cucumber, eau de vie, lemon peel, muskmelon, spearmint, sugar and water.

Online at the Chareu site, the company lists this as their Mary Astor cocktail:

Photo from chareau.us



  • 2 oz Gin
  • 3/4 oz Chareau 
  • 1/2 oz Lillet Blanc 


Stir ingredients over ice and strain into a coupe. Garnish with edible flowers. Cocktail by Pablo Moix.

Crazy interesting, right!? I have got to know what that tastes like.


So, while still interesting, Chareau’s Mary Astor cocktail is a brand specific modern cocktail. 

There isn’t any official “Mary Astor” cocktail that I’ve found, but there is the thing called “Astor’s Painless Anesthetic!”

What is an Astor’s Painless Anesthetic? Well, according to Lesley M. M. Blume’s book “Let’s Bring Back: The Cocktail Edition,” the drink was created for Mary Astor by the Stork Club.

The full title of Blume’s book is: Let’s Bring Back: The Cocktail Edition: A Compendium of Impish, Romantic, Amusing, and Occasionally Appalling Potations from Bygone Eras.

Google made research into the matter even more helpful by having a copy of The Stork Club Bar Book available to search online:


  • 3 oz gin
  • 1 oz French vermouth
  • 1 oz Italian vermouth
  • 1 oz cognac
  • Orange bitters


“Shake well with ice cubes and dash of orange bitters, twist of lemon peel and just a touch of sugar.”


The Stork Club was a nightclub in Manhattan, which was open from 1929 to 1965 and was regarded as one of the most prestigious clubs in the world. 

The club was a symbol of café society, where the wealthy elite, including movie stars, celebrities, showgirls and aristocrats all mixed in the VIP Cub Room of the club.

Reading over the Stork Club’s Wikipedia page I found out that Walter Winchell actually coined the name of the Stork Club’s “Cub Room,” — a fact which has me now wanting to rewatch that HBO biopic starring Stanley Tucci.



The New York Sour

Whiskey, sugar, lemon juice and red wine — the New York Sour is simple, classic, has an interesting history and appeals to both wine drinkers as well as whiskey cocktail fans.

I made a brief mention of the New York Sour when writing about Buffalo Proper last week.

My wife ordered the restaurant’s New York Sour, which was made with with Old Overholt, fresh lemon juice and a Rioja.

I’ve made more than a few of these from behind the bar at Forte. Here’s how one of mine looked the other day:


There’s a real beauty of a blog post about the New York Sour online here at Food 52.

The writer cites David Wondrich about the drink’s Chicago roots:

Drink History via Food 52:
According to cocktail authority David Wondrich, the New York Sour is not actually from New York, but rather from Chicago, where, in the 1880s, a bartender began dressing up his sours by adding a “snap” of claret.

But it was particularly popular in New York during Prohibition, when the wine, lemon, and sugar were handy camouflages for the not-so-hot whiskey of the era, and at some point, the name stuck.

Whatever its origins, you could drink a New York Sour anytime, anywhere, and it would feel right. But we’re partial to it for early fall, the way the puckery lemon swirls together with spicy rye and dark, warming red wine.

Also, this post on Serious Eats cites Wondrich’s book Imbibe! on the fact that the drink was also known as a “Continental Sour” and a “Southern Whiskey Sour” during the 1880s, with the name “New York Sour” mostly settled on by the early 1900s.

What wine to use?

  • Wondrich says Claret.
  • Food 52 says Malbec or Syrah.
  • Buffalo Proper serves it with Rioja.
  • At Forte we use Cabernet.

Further Reading:

— Liquor.com recipe no. 1 and no. 2

— Liquor.com’s video recipe.

— Bon Appetit & Epicurious

About This Cocktail:

For my New York Sour pictured above, I used a California Cabernet — medium-bodied with notes of raspberry, plum skin & black currant and a velvety smooth finish. It complimented the drink nicely. Here’s the recipe:


  • 2 oz rye whiskey or other whiskey of preference. I actually used 1.5 oz of Knob Creek bourbon, which is 100 proof and has a spicy rye-like bite.
  • .75 oz simple syrup
  • .75 oz fresh lemon juice
  • .5 oz red wine


Add all ingredients except the wine to a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake and strain into a lowball glass filled with fresh ice. Using the back of a spoon, slowly pour the red wine into the drink — and if done carefully it should float for a short time on top of the whiskey sour. Garnish with a lemon wedge or wheel or twist.

Some recipes call for an egg white, as a lot of old sours recipes do… I like the recipes which list egg white as “optional.” I didn’t use egg white in the drink pictured above, but you’ll find it listed in some of the recipes I linked to in this post.



Honey-Ginger Sidecar #1

A honey-ginger sidecar I’m working on:


It tasted alright, but it looks more like a lemon martini here in this picture.

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