The problems with “Hollywood Cocktails” (1933)

A twitter exchange with @Splificator led me into a deep dive into the cute-but-problematic novelty booklet, Hollywood Cocktails (pdf), published by Buzza-Cardozo, a greeting card company that began in Minneapolis and moved to Hollywood around 1930.

This booklet contains ~222 mixed drink recipes. Nearly all of them are taken verbatim from the Savoy Cocktail Book. Forty-ish of those are also verbatim from the Savoy, but renamed. These are the renamed drinks:

Arrowhead is the Mountain Cocktail (Savoy)
Brown Derby is De Rigueur (Savoy)
Caliente is the Bennett (Savoy)
Champagne Cocktail is a mislabeled C.F.H. (Savoy)
Chinatown Cocktail is J. O. S. (Savoy)
Cocoanut Grove “Coconut Cocktail” is the Plaza (Savoy)
Del Monte Cocktail is New York Cocktail (Savoy)
Douglas Fairbanks Cocktail is Douglas Cocktail (Savoy)
Eagle’s Scream Cocktail is the Eagle’s Dream Cocktail (Savoy)
Elissa Landi is the Diana Cocktail (Savoy)
Extra Girl Cocktail is the Chorus Lady (Savoy)
Garbo Gargle Cocktail is the American Beauty (Savoy)
Ginger Rogers is the Darb (Savoy)
Hey Hey is the Hoop La (Savoy)
Hi Ho is the Princeton (Savoy)
Jack Dempsey No 1 is the Jack Kearns No 1 (Savoy)
Jack Dempsey No 2 is the Jack Kearns No 2 (Savoy)
Jean Harlowe is the Fluffy Ruffles (Savoy)
Johnnie Aggie is the Bobby Burns (Savoy)
Johnny Weismuller is the Judge Jr. (Savoy)
Landlady is the Pink Lady (Savoy)
Lee Tracy is the Johnnie Mack (Savoy)
Liar’s Cocktail is the Baron (Savoy)
Lupe Velez is the Kingston (Savoy)
Mae West is the Thunder and Lightning (Savoy)
Marlene Dietrich is the Approve (Savoy)
Malibu is the Blanche (Savoy)
Max Baer is Dempsey (Savoy)
Movie Lot is the Lasky (Savoy)
Palm Springs is the Tropical Cocktail (Savoy)
Plaza Pick-me-up is the Cecil Pick-me-up (Savoy)
Poop-poop-a-doop is the Pooh-Bah (Savoy)
President Roosevelt is the President (Savoy)
Roscoe Turner is the Aviation (Savoy)
Santa Barbara is the Barbara (Savoy)
San Diego is the Capetown (Savoy)
Schnozzle Durante is the Dunhill’s Special (Savoy)
So-and-So is the So-So (Savoy)
Sudden Death is the Flu Cocktail (Savoy)
Sylvia Dee is the Phoebe Snow (Savoy)
Van Gorder is the McClelland (Savoy)
Vendome is the Salome Cocktail (Savoy)
Wild West is the East and West (Savoy)
Wilshire Boulevard Cocktail is the Fifth Avenue Cocktail (Savoy)

There are a handful of outliers that we can presume are also plagiarized:

Barbary Coast is straight from Judge Jr
Carmel Cocktail (source not yet identified)
Cocktail Daiguiri [sic] (source not yet identified, but it could be many)
Elk’s Cocktail is not quite the same as the one in the Savoy (source not yet identified)
Sunrise Cocktail is the Sunrise Tequila (Agua Caliente’s Bottoms up y Como—thank you @Splificator)
Embassy Club Cocktail (source not conclusively identified, but same as Mar Vista Special in Myers’s booklet of same rough period—thank you @Splificator)
Montmartre (source not yet identified)
Sardi’s Delight (source not yet identified)

What we have here is a sloppy hack job that primarily plagiarizes the Savoy, which, of course, itself significantly plagiarizes a number of prior works. So it goes.

However, in this booklet there is a pattern of renaming drinks to ascribe local (Hollywood) significance to them that was never there in the first place. Pure fiction.

This becomes a problem, because this book keeps getting cited as a source for drinks invented at or associated with certain hotels, clubs and restaurants in Hollywood. The two most glaring examples that I know of are the somewhat well known Brown Derby Cocktail and Embassy Club Cocktail, but there are drinks in the book named for the Cocoanut Grove, Vendome, Hi-Ho, [Hollywood] Roosevelt, Montmartre, and [Hollywood] Sardi’s.

So, the question is whether there’s any corroborating evidence—whatsoever—that any of these drinks ever actually existed under these new names, and whether they had anything to do with any Hollywood establishments? Or are they utter fiction?

(Edited to reflect some of the information below and credit others’ contributions)


Thanks for doing the homework! It’s kind of fun to see the translations into Hollywood lore. I love how the “chorus lady” of London’s theater district becomes the “extra girl” in La La Land. The misunderstandings launched are regrettable perhaps but I’m amused.
Complaints may be warranted, but “Marlene” is spelled correctly I think!


As @Splificator pointed out (Twitter), a great many (most, it seems, but I’m not going to check every single one) of these renamed recipes then wound up in Boothby’s 1934 World’s Drinks.

One drink that might have some legitimacy is the Sardi’s Delight. I’ve seen assertions on-line that it was created at the New York Sardi’s, but I haven’t yet figured out where that’s coming from.

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Now this is cocktail history–minute, dull work to do, but it gives you something you can actually build on.

The Sunrise Tequila is from “Bottoms Up y Como,” the drinks booklet published by the Agua Caliente resort in 1933.


… and I thought I was just throwing together a quick little exhibit about an elegantly-designed bit of ephemera. Yeesh.

Edit: exhibit posted

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I agree with @Splificator, with one modification. This is the careful, often plodding, work of history that enables us to understand things about the past that aren’t captured in newspaper articles or memoirs. For someone like me, who is interested in cocktail history as an aspect of cultural history (though recognizing that the reverse is just as compelling to others), the work you do with these exhibits @martin is incredibly helpful. Thank you.


Glad you like the exhibits. I’m receiving some very special support from @Splificator and a few others that makes it all possible.

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Such a shame that the Sardi’s delight cocktail isn’t included in Sardi’s Bar Guide from 1988…