Apparently, staring wide-eyed at Agnes Ayres as if someone had just jabbed you in the leg with a pin caused theater goers (presumably women) in 1921 to swoon in the aisles. Rudolph Valentino is so inextricably connected to the role of the Sheik that it is difficult to think of him in anything else. However, during his short career in the movies (1914-1926), he appeared in 37 films. Personally, I prefer him in The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse and The Eagle. But The Sheik is the one for which he is remembered, so a cocktail honoring his role is appropriate. However, I far as I can find, there isn’t one, so I had to come up with one myself.
1 1/2 oz Gin
3/4 oz Cocchi Americano
1/4 oz Grand Marnier
1 tsp. Lemon Juice (fresh and strained)
1-2 dashes Orange Bitters
Stir ingredients with ice until very cold and strain into chilled cocktail glass. Express oils from lemon peel over drink, rub skin along the entire rim of the glass then drop in.
Cointreau can be substituted for the Grand Marnier, producing a stronger orange flavor and a bit more sweetness. Try it both ways and see which you prefer.
While Valentino may have been anathema to the “typical American male” who preferred Douglas Fairbanks, he was catnip to the ladies. If you watch his films, you can see why they so loved this Latin lover who made their husbands and boyfriends look like Ben Turpin by comparison. After his untimely death in 1926 at the age of thirty-one, 100,000 people crowded the streets of New York, so he must have had something going for him.
So, here’s to the Sheik, Rudolph Valentino.