"The French say Champagne should be drunk straight from a beautiful
Psycho Garage: Vino Recipes
In this case, a fanciful figure of speech led to fact. The earliest
mention I can find of an actual historical personage drinking wine
from a lady's slipper is this one:
When sisters Ada and Minna Lester came to Chicago in 1899, they leased
a three-story, fifty room double mansion here, refurbished it and
opened the Everleigh Club on February 1, 1900 - it was the showplace
of the Levee. Ada, 21, and Minna, 24, became famous as the Everleigh
sisters. The mansion had an art gallery, a library, and a huge
ballroom with chandeliers of cut glass and three orchestras. The
bedrooms were lavishly decorated and sound-proofed, had marble in-laid
brass beds, and there were always thirty of the most lovely girls on
duty 24 hours a day. Prince Henry of Prussia reportedly visited the
club in 1902. During a banquet in his honor, one of the girls' shoes
flew off while dancing, hit a glass of wine and spilled some of the
champagne into the shoe. A man nearby picked up the slipper and drank
the wine from it. Almost on cue, the entire group arose after taking a
slipper from the girl he was with, had the waiters pour champagne into
them, toasted the Prince, then drank from them. Wine was sipped from a
slipper for the first time.
Ken Schessler's America: An Unusual Tour of Chicago
The story of Prince Henry and the shoe is also cited here:
The pride of the Levee was the famous Everleigh Club, at 2131 S.
Dearborn which was reportedly frequented by Chicagos elite. The club
was operated by two young women, Ada and Minna Everleigh who had
earlier run a bordello in Omaha, Nebraska. Patrons of the Everleigh
Club were entertained genteelly in one of a number of elegantly
decorated parlors. The sisters became so famous that in 1902, while
touring the U.S., Prince Henry of Prussia asked to visit the Everleigh
Club (Nash, 1981:72). Legend has it that Prince Henry drank champagne
from the shoe of one of the girls who had lost it while dancing on his
table, thus creating a new tradition. While attending a St. Louis
Convention, Mayor Carter Harrison II was handed a brochure, prepared
by the Everleigh sisters, describing the pleasures to be found at
their club. The pamphlet caused such an outcry from Chicago's growing
reform element that the Everleigh Club was closed for good by the
police on October 24, 1911 (Lindberg, 1985:146).
Illinois Police & Sheriff's News: The Genesis of Organized Crime in
The "champagne from a shoe" motif as a symbol of extravagant decadence
Another favorite is the Cafe-Royale on Regent Street near Piccadilly
Circus. A local journalist calls this Victorian institution
"Champagne-from-a-Slipper" country because of the acres of plush red
velvet, white linens, mirrored walls, painted ceilings and grand
staircase designed to please its many illustrious patrons such as
Oscar Wilde, Noel Coward and many royals.
Gaywired: Exciting London
Having dispensed with the historical aspects of this, I thought you
might enjoy some other interesting mentions of the habit of sipping
from female footwear:
From an account of a famous hotel which was the site of some wild
parties in years gone by:
At London's storied Ritz Hotel, where Charlie Chaplin once tossed
carnations out his window to adoring fans below and where Tallulah
Bankhead drank champagne from her slipper...
Harvard Business School Alumni: Newsmakers
From a page of Hollywood stories about the young movie actress Gloria
At a party at the end of the picture, Lon Chaney, Jr. took the shoe of
Gloria's sister, filled it with champagne, drank it, and threw the
shoe up on a catwalk in the top of the sound stage. Never found the
Classic Images: Gloria Jean
An excerpt from Oscar Hammerstein II's 1927 lyrics to the song, "Life
Upon the Wicked Stage" (from the Broadway musical "Show Boat"):
Why do stage struck maidens clamor
To be actin' in the drammer?
We've heard say
You are gay
Night and day.
Oh, go 'way!
We drink water from a dipper,
You drink champagne from a slipper.
The Peaches: Life Upon the Wicked Stage
From the radio program, "The Great Gildersleeve":
Gildersleeve tells his family and friends about meeting Vera Laval
many years ago. The more he tells the story, the more the story of
their relationship grows. Mr. Peavey asks if he ever drank champagne
from her slipper.
The Great Gildersleeve Home Page: "Attending the Theatre"
From Randall Jarrell's poem, entitled "Losses":
...But there is a reality
Under the good silk of the good sisters'
Good ball gowns. She knew... Hard-breasted, naked-eyed,
She pushed her silk feet into glass, and rose within
A gown of imaginary gauze. The shy prince drank
A toast to her in champagne from her slipper...
My Favorite Poems Page: Randall Jarrell
From Tom Lehrer's "The Wiener Schnitzel Waltz":
Oh, I drank some champagne from your shoe, la-la-la.
I was drunk by the time I got through, la-la-la.
For I didn't know as I raised that cup,
It had taken two bottles to fill the thing up.
Tom Lehrer Song Lyrics: The Wiener Schnitzel Waltz
I've saved the best for last. Imagine the sly voice of Groucho Marx
saying this one:
I know, you have forgotten those June nights on the Riviera, where we
sat 'neath the shimmering skies, moonlight bathing in the
Mediterranean! We were young, gay, reckless! The night I drank
champagne from your slipper -- two quarts. It would have held more,
but you were wearing inner soles!
Bartleby.com: The Columbia World of Quotations
My search strategy included various combinations of the keywords
"drink," "drank," "sipped," "champagne," "lady's," "woman's,"
"slipper," and "shoe."
That's about all the slipper-champagne I can handle in one session.
Thanks for asking a very entertaining question! If anything in my
answer needs explaining, or if any of the links do not function,
please ask for clarification.