Beauty Secret Cocktail
She traveled the world from St Petersburg to New York, to Paris, London, Rome. She sang in La Bohéme, La Traviata, Carmen. She had her own line of cosmetic products; she was called “The World’s Most Beautiful Woman.”
Lina Cavalieri (born Natalina on Christmas Day, 1874, in Italy) was orphaned at the age of fifteen. The feisty teenager escaped from the restrictive Catholic orphanage and made her way to Paris where she sang on the café-concert circuit. She made her opera debut in 1900 and continued to sing all over Europe and spent two seasons with the Metropolitan Opera, performing with the famous Enrico Caruso. When she retired from the stage at the age of forty, her beauty was still such that she ran a cosmetic salon in Paris and published My Secrets of Beauty (available for free online, by the way).
This cocktail is inspired by the Chanler cocktail (named after the eccentric artist, Robert Chanler, who was briefly married to Lina—their marriage did not survive past the honeymoon), the famous Italian drink, the Negroni, and the Fin de Siecle cocktail; all appropriate associations for the lovely Lina.
1 1/2 oz Old Tom Gin
3/4 oz Sweet Vermouth
1/2 oz Cointreau
1/4 oz Aperol
1 dash Orange Bitters
Stir with ice until cold and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a lemon peel.
After years on the stage and running her own business, Lina Cavalieri eventually settled back in Italy. Having avoided one world war, the second one found her. She and her husband were killed during an Allied bombing raid in 1944.
She made a limited number of recordings before she retired and they can be found on You Tube for your listening edification. While she might not have been a great singer (lacking the range and power of some of her contemporaries), there is no denying her great beauty.
While this cocktail might not make you beautiful, it is lovely going down.