Have you heard the one about the Bamboo?



40ml dry sherry
10ml sweet vermouth
10ml dry vermouth
1 dash of Angostura Orange Bitters
1 dash of Angostura Aromatic Bitters

Stir down and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Story by Sam Bygrave

Here’s the kind of tall story that only booze can make true. Have you heard the one about the German bartender in a Japanese hotel inventing an American-style drink with Spanish sherry and French vermouth?


That drink is called a Bamboo.

Louis Eppinger was a German-born bartender who’d spent some time Stateside, working in San Francisco around the same time as the Professor Jerry Thomas was doing his thing.

He landed in Yokohama, Japan, in 1889. Eppinger had been hired by a group of US naval officers who’d bought the Grand Hotel, which was the place to stay in Yokohama — Rudyard Kipling stayed there, describing his stay somewhat unflatteringly (he mentions they’ve got a fancy “printed menu, but the first comers eat all the nice things”). He liked the American style it was fashioned after, and described hearing plenty of “French, German, or American” languages in the streets.

Yokohama itself was a fishing village until the Americans arrived in the mid 1800’s with demands to open Japan — until then avoiding contact with the outside world — to trade.

Much of this trade would go through what would become the growing port city of Yokohama — so that explains how the German bartender at the came to be at the American hotel.

Some time in the 1890s Eppinger created the Bamboo cocktail, using a mix of sherry, dry vermouth, and orange bitters, and the drink was popular enough that it had been exported to the US and written down by Cocktail Bill Boothby.

Boothby’s version calls for a one to one ratio of dry sherry to dry vermouth; bartenders in Japan, however, make it with a ratio of three parts sherry to one part vermouth.

For our version here, we’ve taken the liberty of splitting the vermouth quotient between both dry and sweet vermouths — in this way, it’s a richer drink, and half way between the classic Bamboo and an Adonis Cocktail — that’s one that is made with a richer sherry and sweet vermouth.

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