Notes on the Arsenic & Old Lace Cocktail
How the Attention cocktail came to get its new name, the Arsenic & Old Lace Cocktail is still unclear. The cocktail’s origins date back to 1917 where Hugo Ensslin’s Recipes for Mixed Drinks included it as “The Attention.”
The Attention became the Atty and then sometime after the 1944 release of Frank Capra’s Arsenic and Old Lace, the cocktail adopted the name of the Cary Grant hit.
The nineteen-teens’ obsession with equal parts cocktails aside; modern palates have tweaked Ensslin’s garish recipe— the only constant over the last century is that gin in some quantities prepared with absinthe, Vermouth and Creme de Violette.
If I were to guess the Absinthe might be the arsenic, and the violette was the Old Lace. But your guess is good as mine.