Alexandre Natanson held a party on an evening in February, 1895, in honor of Edouard Vuillard, who had painted a series of murals for him, and had the clever idea to ask Toulouse-Lautrec to be in charge of the drinks and the buffet.
Lautrec designed an invitation, which was sent to 300 people, asking everyone to come at half past nine for “American and other drinks.”
Assisted by his friend Maxime Dethomas, who was two meters (6’6”) tall, the very short Lautrec, his head shaved, dressed all in white and wearing a vest fashioned from the stars and stripes, reigned over the bar all evening. The cocktails that he prepared, all accompanied by highly seasoned and salty foods, had been created for that evening and were brightly colored and very strong! They included his own invention, the “Earthquake.” And certain drinks had to be downed in one gulp.
The elegant gathering, which included writers, painters, pulishers, and actors, was transformed into a group of drunks, who could barely stand up! Lautrec, pleased with himself, was proud to have served more than 2,000 drinks. He himself remained sober the whole evening.