Knowing that this recipe predates the birth of the magnificent singer (born Phoebe Ann Laub, in 1952) makes it obvious that the drink isn’t named after her. In fact, both the contralto and the cocktail take their name from a character created for a railroad advertising campaign that ran from the 1880s into the middle of the 20th century. The original Phoebe Snow was a young woman whose white dress remained pristine while riding the train because it ran on anthracite rather than normal, sooty coal.
In a cocktail shaker combine 1 part brandy, 1 part Dubonnet [rouge], and a dash of Absinthe. Add plenty of freshly crushed ice and shake vigorously.