Andy Warhol (the cocktail) is easy to befriend

GARY REGAN
San Francisco Chronicle, Sunday, November 22, 2009
Link to original article

 

I met Andy Warhol in the late 1970s. OK, I nearly met him. He was a guest at a party that I managed to talk my way into because of my friendship with a woman who worked for Olivia Newton-John at the time. Yes, she was there, too. And so was Robert Duvall. Name-dropping is fun, huh?

I actually exchanged words with Ms. Newton-John and Mr. Duvall that night, and quite pleasant they were, too, but there was something about Andy Warhol that, for me, at least, made him unapproachable. I just gawked at him. Andy Warhol had some serious aura going on, and something told me to back off.

I met President Nixon in November 1972 in New York City. I was on vacation at the time, and as I was about to cross the road to buy some gifts at Saks Fifth Avenue for friends back home, his motorcade came to a halt right in front of me, and Nixon got out to do a walk-about. I shook his hand. He was very popular at the time. He'd just won his second term with pretty much a landslide margin. He wasn't as charismatic as Andy Warhol, though.

Robert Plant, lead singer of Led Zeppelin, came into a bar at which I worked in the late '80s and early '90s, and he was just a regular nice guy who took time to talk to everyone who came up to him, even though he was eating lunch. Robert Plant was way more approachable than Andy Warhol.

I met the late Quentin Crisp, author of "The Naked Civil Servant," in 1989 when I was looking for a celebrity to help with an event and had no budget whatsoever. After finding his number in the white pages, I called and he agreed to do the job in return for dinner and round-trip taxi rides.

Photo credit: Craig Lee,
Special to The Chronicle

"How come your number's in the white pages?" I asked.

"What's the use of having a telephone if nobody can reach you?" he countered. Every word out of the man's mouth was quotable. Anyone could talk to Quentin Crisp. He wasn't anywhere near as intimidating as Andy Warhol.

Andy Warhol is now a cocktail. "It's probably already been invented," said Grant Dingwall, the bartender from New Zealand who sent me the recipe.

When I looked at the formula, I had to agree. Chances are that these ingredients have been put together before at some point, but I can't find reference to such a drink.

Rather than infusing smoked violet roots into spirits made from the milk of Tibetan goats, then adding sake that's been aged in port-pipes, as is the wont of some 21st century cocktailians, Grant Dingwall went the classic route.

It's a drink that can be made with little fuss. And it's just fabulous. Andy Warhol - the cocktail - is very approachable indeed.

Andy Warhol

Serves 1

Adapted from a recipe by Grant Dingwall, bartender at Cartel in Auckland, New Zealand.

  • 1 1/2 ounces Martell VS or other Cognac
  • 1/2 ounce Benedictine
  • 1/3 ounce Lillet Blanc
  • 2 dashes orange bitters
  • 1 flamed orange zest, for garnish

Instructions: Stir together all ingredients, except the garnish, over ice. Strain into a champagne saucer or coupe glass. Add the garnish.

Gary Regan is the author of "The Joy of Mixology" and other books. E-mail him at wine@sfchronicle.com.

Read more


 

- Back to Top -

 

Updated: December 10, 2009