Berry Wall Cocktail

Berry Wall Cocktail

1/2 Dry Gin.
1/2 Italian Vermouth.
4 Dashes Curacao.

Shake well and strain into cocktail glass. Squeeze lemon peel on top.

For a long time this cocktail’s name caught my eye and I wondered about it. A Martini made with sweet vermouth. A Martinez, really. Why call it a “Berry Wall”? No berries seemed to be involved. Or walls.

Eventually, a wise and learned man set me straight, informing me that the cocktail was named after a certain Evander Berry Wall.

Yankee Dude

For almost half of his 79 years, E. (for Evander) Berry Wall set a smart sartorial pace as an international clotheshorse. He was called the best-dressed American in Europe, the King of the Dudes. He was reported to possess 285 pairs of pants, 5,000 custom-tailored neckties. It was rumored that he changed his ties six times a day. His conduct was motivated by a great principle: find out what suits you and always wear it. Berry Wall usually wore capes and coats of horse-blanket plaid, high horse-collars cinched with lush Ascot cravats. Sometimes he changed into one of his crimson satin lounging suits to lead one of his chows, always named either Chi Chi or Toi Toi, through the streets of Paris. Though Berry Wall was born in Manhattan (1861), where he was a society swell in the ’80s and ’90s, he spent most of his later life in France. There, under the impression that he was leading a tumultuous and crowded existence, he drifted from race track to race track, from hotel to hotel, from gambling casino to gambling casino, with a miscellaneous society that included the Duchess of Windsor, the Grand Duke Dmitri, the Aga Khan, King Alfonso and ex-King Nicholas of Montenegro, “a magnificent old darling.”

Some people have all the luck!

This post is one in a series documenting my ongoing effort to make all of the cocktails in the Savoy Cocktail Book, starting at the first, Abbey, and ending at the last, Zed.