A Madeira Link? Baker's Creole Contentment and the Creole Lady

It is always difficult to write about a Charles Baker cocktail that is actually tasty. While many more of his drinks come under the heading of barely palateable experiments from the past, the good ones have already been uncovered. Even if you've never heard of it, entering the cocktail name into a search engine will fill your screen up with links. But of course it makes complete sense--these are old recipes after all. The Gentleman's Companion has been in print for over 80 years. There are no secrets. So what is there to say about a cocktail that has already make the rounds. It sure is tasty, especially when you follow Baker's advice--but just this once.

Creole Contentment

1 1/2 ounce cognac
1 ounce Madeira
1/2 ounce maraschino liqueur
1 dash orange bitters

Stir ingredients with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a cherry if you must, though, as Baker says, this drink needs no adornment

Notes on Ingredients: I used Pierre Ferrand 1840 cognac, Broadbent Madeira, Angostura orange bitters and Maraska maraschino liqueur. 

Sometimes the most interesting part of the story comes where we aren't looking. For me this was the case with the Creole Contentment. Baker states that this tipple was birthed in the Big Easy. As any diligent cocktail nerd, I quickly took to the books in hopes of uncovering some hidden reference that would fill out this cocktail's lineage. I turned to Famous New Orleans Drinks and How to Make 'Em by Stanley Arthur. As is my habit, I also grabbed a couple of other tomes as well. To sum up an afternoon, I didn't find any secret provenance for the Creole Contentment, but I did find something interesting--another "Creole" drink that is almost a mirror image of Baker's Contentment, the Creole Lady.

Creole Lady

1 ounce Bourbon
1 ounce Madeira
1/2 ounce maraschino liqueur

Stir ingredients with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with 2 brandied cherries. I also added a dash of Angostura bitters. 

I found the Creole Lady while flipping through the Old Waldorf-Astoria Bar Book. Sadly I could not find a true correlation between these two drinks. They look like they are related. They have similar names. But perhaps this just comes from the fact that New Orleans was an important port during Madeiras heydey. Perhaps it is because a lot of Creole cooking has stayed true to the traditional recipes, many of which included Madeira. Or maybe it is because of the many Portuguese immigrants who ended up in the New Orleans region in the years leading up to the Civil War, when Madeira was incredibly popular. Regardless, both cocktails are delicious.


  1. Interesting. I don't generally keep madeira around, but I love reading about cocktail lineage. Nice work on the creole drinks. I may have to pick up some madeira on my next trip to the store.

  2. Wonderful findings! The Baker's book seems completely outstanding work... When I read this post first time I was ... right... pretty intoxicated :) And... your post made me pretty ... excited :) Thus I picked up the copy immediately online 8)

    Creole Contenment sounds like some kind of gems, I must try it one of these days. Thanks for sharing.