The Canary Murder Case Cocktail



Louise Brooks with William Powell in The Canary Murder Case 1929

The Canary Murder Case, for all intents and purposes, ended Louise Brooks’ Hollywood career. It came out at that awkward time in cinema history when the studios were trying to figure out how to transition into “talkies.” The film was finished, but they wanted to reshoot scenes in sound. Louise said no, thank you. She turned her back on Hollywood and headed to Germany to play the lead in George Pabst’s film, Pandora’s Box, the role for which she will always be remembered.

“She’s the only unrepentant hedonist, the only pure pleasure seeker I think I’ve ever known. When men bored her, she walked out on them, and when Hollywood bored her, she walked out on Hollywood.” —Kenneth Tynan

This concoction was “fiendishly plotted, with murder in mind” by S.S. Van Dine, creator of the sleuth, Philo Vance, and writer of The Canary Murder Case. It can be found in an amusing little book titled So Red the Nose, or Breath in the Afternoon, printed in 1935. It is a compilation of drinks offered up by literary potentates of the period including such imbibers as Ernest Hemingway, Edgar Rice Burroughs, and Virginia Faulkner.

The Canary Murder Case Cocktailcanary 2

½ jigger  (1 oz) Gin

½ jigger (1 oz) Cognac

½ jigger (1 oz) Yellow Vermouth (Dry Vermouth)

1 jigger (2 oz) Orange Juice

1 dash Orange Bitters

Shake well with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

As written, this is one big cocktail; more than will fit into a normal cocktail glass. You can either use a double old-fashioned or highball glass or cut back on the amounts while leaving the ratio the same such as: 3/4 oz gin, cognac, and vermouth; 1 1/2 oz orange juice.

It’s a fine cocktail. The film on the other hand is pretty bad, with Louise’s voice dubbed and a body double used for some scenes. You’ll need a couple of these to get through it. Better yet, sit back and watch her in G.W. Pabst’s Pandora’s Box instead.

I hope you enjoy these posts. For more great gin and cognac based drinks, check out the Recipe page. If you would like to be notified of future posts, please click on the “Follow” button on the right.


pandora's box

Pandora’s Box