Mildly intrigued by a reference in Frank Moorhouse's book Martini: A Memoir to a Black Cat Martini.
Apparently, between the wars, there was a bar in Shanghai called The Black Cat. Josephine Baker is reported to have said the martini was invented there in 1928 by Baron Clappique and Andre Malraux.
Side-stepping the question of positing a date, place, and author for the invention of the 'Martini' has anyone found reference elsewhere to the bar 'The Black Cat' of Shanghai or to its martini?
The drink is described as a traditional martini of gin and dry vermouth with a dash of creme de violette. Apparently the bar was in the unofficial Jewish section of the International Settlement of Shanghai.
True, this whole thing may be an invention, but then again...
First I've heard of it.
While Malraux visited Shanghai in 1932 to research his novel "Le Condition Humaine", concerning the Shanghai Massacre of 1927 a cursory search found no evidence that he was in Shanghai in 1927/28.
Further, Baron Clappique is a fictional character in that novel, rather than an actual person. The model for Clappique was a Parisian journalist "known for his love of very dry Martinis".
I can't find any online source for the Josephine Baker story...
The Black Cat bar apparently did exist and the name was used by Malraux in his novel.
I'd say the story can be dismissed as total fiction since one of the characters was- in fact- fictional
Sorry for the double post!!