It annoyed me the other night when, at Death & Co., I gave the bartender leave to name my next drink, and, when he whipped up a Brown Derby for me, I didn't know what the hell the thing was. All I knew was, the drink he put before me in a champagne glass tasted yummy.
So I looked up the cocktail and made myself one. Two onces bourbon, one once grapefruit juice, half ounce honey, shaken. It tasted just as good the second time around, a deceptively light concoction, the honey and grapefruit juice sweetly masking the power of the bourbon.
The drink was invented at the Vendome Club in Hollywood in the 1930s. No word on who came up with it. Strangely, it wasn't created at the famous Brown Derby restaurant. That celebrity chow house came up with another libation, something called the Honeymoon Cocktail.
The Vendome was founded by Hollywood Reporter publisher William R. Wilkerson. It sat at 6666 Sunset Boulevard (how's that for an address). He also owned the Cafe Trocadero and Ciro's.