Drinking fancy cocktails at a bar or a party occasionally makes us wonder: how did they come up with that drink? The ingredients of these popular beverages are common knowledge for bartenders all over the world. But like the Flaming Moe from The Simpsons TV show, origins of these some are vastly debatable.
We have a list of ten of your favorite drinks and their backstories:
1. Long island iced tea
Surprisingly, this drink might actually not contain tea, but the Long Island part of the name is accurate, at least. This spring break favorite is relatively younger than the others on the list – it’s only about 43 years old.
Rosebud Butt, an Oak Beach Inn in Hampton Bays bartender, invented the drink in 1976. If you’re ever in search of someone that can help you with terrible hangovers, Rosebud may be the friend you need.
2. The Negroni
The Negroni is credited to Count Camillo Negroni who created this aperitif around 1919. It’s said that Negroni really loved Americano (a blend of sweet vermouth, club soda and Campari), but he wanted to add an extra zing to his drink. So, he asked a bartender to replace club soda with gin, and – the Negroni was born.
3. The Bellini
The Bellini, a blend of Prosecco and white peach puree, is a pleasant cocktail with a well-known origin.
Giuseppe Cipriani, the founder of Venice’s famous Harry’s Bar, begun his fruity mixology sometime between 1934 and 1948. The pink of the drink reminded Cipriani of the saint’s toga in a painting by Giovanni Bellini, an Italian Renaissance artist, so he named the concoction in the painter’s honor.
4. The Martini
The proper ratio of gin to dry vermouth is still debated among aficionados. Even the exact origin of the drink is debated: some claim that it’s merely a dryer version of an earlier cocktail, the Martinez, and that Martinez, California is the birthplace of the Martini likewise. Others say that the drink’s name comes from Martini & Rossi, which is an Italian company that’s been exporting vermouths to the U.S. for over two hundred years. Others say Martini di Arma di Taggia created it and the drink was named after him; he was the bartender at Knickerbocker Hotel, New York even though there’s evidence that the Martini may have been invented before the man even started mixing drinks.
5. The Kir
The popular French aperitif consisting of white wine and crème de cassis is a favorite of France. It got its name from Felix Kir, the mayor of Dijon (1945-1968), who was a big fan of the cocktail. He would invariably serve dignitaries whenever they paid visits. Kir was so into the drink that he made sure his visitors sampled the drink that the cocktail was eventually closely associated with him, such that it bears his name even today.
6. The Cosmopolitan
The cosmopolitan is another drink that’s been claimed to have created by many bartenders the world over. According to various tales, the drink has its roots in Minneapolis, Massachusetts, San Francisco, Manhattan and Provincetown, and South Beach. But since the cocktail is simply a kamikaze with the addition of cranberry juice, it is indeed possible that all the bartenders independently came up with the drink in all these locations.
7. The Black Russian
The only thing in the cocktail that has to do with Russia is vodka. Bartender Gustave Tops created the Black Russian in 1949 or 1950 while he was working at the Hotel Metropole in Brussels. Apparently, he first mixed Kahlua and vodka for American socialite Perle Mesta, who was the serving ambassador to Luxembourg then.
8. The Daiquiri
Jennings Cox, an American mine employee working and stuck in Cuba, started mixing drinks for fun. The mixture of rum, sugar and lime was apparently born in 1905 when Cox and some of his fellow workers hung out in a bar in Santiago, Cuba. They mixed the handy ingredients to give birth to the tasty drink. The cocktail eventually made its way back to the the States.
9. The Manhattan
The esteemed Manhattan is a blend of whiskey, sweet vermouth and bitters and is yet another cocktail whose origins have left people confused and debating about it’s birthplace.
Likely, it dates back to New York’s bars in the 1860s. But there are some interesting stories about its origins, some that are almost too good to be true. According to one of these, to celebrate Samuel J. Tilden’s victory in New York’s gubernatorial election, an enterprising bartender created a new cocktail for the celebration party. Since the party was at the Manhattan Club in 1874, the bartender dubbed the cocktail in the club’s honor.
10. The Tom Collins
The refreshing summer punch refers to, surprisingly, a 19th-century hoax! In 1874, some New Yorkers heard that a Tom Collins was besmirching their good names while they were out of the town. Although the people didn’t know who Collins was, they were outraged that he would attack them so they would often set out to find the man. But it was a hoax, and the Tom Collins never existed, but the people wouldn’t stop searching for him. To expand on the joke, bartenders started making this citrus cocktail and started calling it Tom Collins, so whenever someone came searching for the man, they were served the refreshing drink!
These cocktails aren’t merely beverages, but also moods and feelings of all of us. Now that you know the stories of these ten cocktails don’t forget to entertain your friends with the legends at your next party or bar visit!