Have you ever wondered where your favorite cocktails get their names? Or who the mastermind is behind some of the world’s most popular drinks? While many cocktails have disputed origins, we’re going to take a look at some of these backstories and discover how many of our favorite drinks came to be.
2 Oz. Bourbon or Rye, 1 Oz. Sweet Vermouth, Few Dashes Angostura Bitters, Cherry
This is one of the most popular cocktails in the world, but it originated in the United States at the Manhattan Club in New York City. The popular story is that in 1874, Dr. Iain Marshall was throwing a banquet for presidential candidate Samuel J. Tilden at the club and the drink was invented for the banquet.
It is unclear whether this story is accurate, but it was certainly popular enough to give the cocktail its name.
1 1/2 Oz. Bourbon or Rye, 2 Dashes Angostura Bitters, 2 tsp. Simple Syrup, Orange Rind
This is another drink with a long disputed history. However, many attribute the drink’s origin to the Pendennis Club in Louisville, Kentucky around 1881.
According to the club, patrons would come to the bar asking for a drink made “the old-fashioned way”, meaning adding sugar and bitters to a whiskey drink. While some argue that cocktails similar to the old fashioned were around as early as 1833, Louisville has staked its claim as the origin city. In 2015 they named the old fashioned as their official cocktail.
Dry Martini - 2 1/2 Oz. Dry Gin, 1/2 Oz. Dry Vermouth, Olive
Many attribute the origin of this world-famous cocktail to Martinez, California sometime in the 1860s. It is widely accepted that the martini is an evolved version of the Martinez cocktail which also originated in Martinez. The Martinez cocktail consists of gin, sweet vermouth, orange bitters, and maraschino liqueur.
The dry martini originated at the Knickerbocker Hotel in New York City in the early 20th century. Prohibition increased the popularity of the martini as it was easy to illegally manufacture gin.
1 1/2 Oz. White Rum, 1/2 Cup Club Soda, Mint, Lime, Sugar
The mojito originated in Havan, Cuba, but it is unclear exactly when or where the cocktail came from.
One popular story asserts that a crew of English pirates invented the drink as a remedy for scurvy and dysentery way back in the 1500s. The locals in Cuba were known to have a cure for these illnesses, which included a crude form of rum, sugar, lime, and mint. Other stories contend that slaves working on sugar plantations invented the drink in the 1800s.
Whatever the origin is, this drink is maybe most well-known for being Ernest Hemingway’s go-to cocktail.
1 Oz. Campari, 1 Oz. Gin, 1 Oz. Sweet Vermouth, Orange
A negroni originated as a stronger version of the Americano.
In 1919, Italian count Camillo Negroni went to Caffè Casoni in Florence, Italy. He asked the bartender, Fosco Scarselli, to make a stronger version of Negroni’s favorite drink- the Americano- by adding gin. The bartender replaced the soda water used in an Americano with gin and replaced the requisite lemon twist with an orange twist. Negroni loved the cocktail so much that his family opened a distillery and began selling readymade versions of the cocktail.