There are straightforward names to some drinks that tells you exactly what you’ll be sipping and then there are certain drinks that have conversation-worthy titles. That is why we decided to bring for you stories behind the origin and names of your most loved cocktails. Sip and discuss!
1. Sex On The Beach
This drink was invented during the spring break in the US, in 1987. According to an urban legend, a peach schnapps distributor challenged Florida bars to sell the most amazing peach schnapps based drink. The winning bar mixed the liqueur with vodka, orange juice, and grenadine and dubbed the cocktail ‘Sex On The Beach’ in tribute to the two things Florida has always been famous for – beach and sex.
The Screwdriver is another classic gateway drink for people who love cocktails. Its origin goes back to Turkey, around the 1940s, when a group of American engineers working in a Turkish oil field used to secretly add vodka in their orange juice and mix it with the help of a screwdriver. Well, now you know why this cocktail has an odd name.
Zombie cocktail is a highly potent mixture of rums and juices and was created by tiki drink king Don The Beachcomber. In the 1930s, a customer came into his bar complaining about a hangover. Don made this highly alcoholic drink and the man’s hangover symptoms were cured. The customer came back to the bar later that day and claimed that he felt like a zombie all day. That’s when Don decided to put this drink in his menu with the name ‘Zombie’.
4. Tom Collins
In 1874, there was a mass prank going around in New York in which people used to tell their friends that a man named Tom Collins had been spreading nasty rumors about him or her in a nearby bar. People would then run into the local pub and demand to see Tom Collins. The bartender of the pub heard that joke one too many times and decided to make this refreshing gin cocktail. After that, the next time somebody ran into the bar demanding to see Tom Collins; the bartender gave him the drink.
5. Gin And Tonic
This cocktail actually has semi-medicinal origins. When British soldiers were stationed in colonial India, they had to deal with malaria. However, to keep them safe from this disease, they were given tonic water with quinine that would taste terrible. So, the soldiers mixed it with gin, and that’s how the Gin and Tonic drink was born.
6. Harvey Wallbanger
In the 1950s, a Southern Californian bartender Donato Antone had a frequent customer named Harvey. Harvey was known to add Galliano, a sweet herbal liqueur to his Screwdriver cocktail. However, after getting drunk, he used to stumble into the walls of Antone’s bar. Seeing that, Antone decided to name the mix of vodka, Galliano, and orange juice after Harvey and his wall-banging ways.
It was in 1969 when legendary bartender Joe Gilmore created a drink with a name ‘Moonwalk’ to celebrate the first moon landing. This mixture of grapefruit juice, grand marnier, rose water, and champagne was sent to the Apollo 11 astronauts upon their arrival back to Earth.
This jazz age staple was allegedly invented at Harry’s Bar in Paris. The story goes that during the end of World War I, an American Army captain would often arrive at the bar in a motorcycle sidecar. One cold night, he came in and asked for something to warm him up. So, the bartender mixed warming brandy with Cointreau and lemon juice and named the drink after the captain’s preferred method of transportation.
There is an old drink called the Daisy which is a mix of brandy, triple sec, and lemon juice. According to an urban legend, a bartender in Tijuana, Mexico was making a Daisy and accidentally grabbed a bottle of tequila instead of brandy. The accident became a hit at the bar and it was then dubbed as a new drink called Margarita, the Spanish word for the Daisy.
Martini is a mixture of gin and dry vermouth and despite James Bond’s famous line, it should be stirred instead of shaken. According to a general theory, in the early 1860s, people used to frequently go to the Occidental Hotel in San Francisco and order bartender Jerry Thomas’s special mixture of gin and dry vermouth before taking an evening ferry to the nearby town of Martinez, California. The bartender later named his signature cocktail ‘Martini’ in reference to the destination people headed to after consuming the drink.
11. Bloody Mary
The Bloody Mary was most likely invented by a restaurant owner in the early 20th century as a dark tribute to Queen Mary who was popularly known as ‘Bloody Mary’ because of her brutal and violent acts to re-establish Catholicism as the official religion of England.
This popular French drink with a white wine base has been a longtime favorite of the people of France. However, it got its name in 1968 when Felix Kir, the then mayor of Dijon served this cocktail to some dignitaries who were there on a visit. Kir did such a good job pushing the mixture onto his visitors that it eventually became inextricably linked with his personality, and that is the reason the cocktail bears his name today.
A primitive form of the Mojito can be traced back to the 16th century in Cuba. This mixture of mint, rum, sugar, and lime juice was originally made with a harsh liquor called aguardiente and the lime juice and sugar used to cut the hard taste. The name of the drink is a reference to the Cuban spice made from limes called mojo.
This delightful wine cocktail is a blend of white peach puree and Prosecco. Giuseppe Cipriani, the founder of Venice’s beloved Harry’s Bar, started mixing up the fruity tipples in 1934 and the pink color of the drink reminded him of a saint’s toga from a painting by Italian Renaissance artist Giovanni Bellini. Thus, Cipriani named his concoction ‘Bellini’ in honor of the painter and his artwork.
Manhattan is a blend of whiskey, sweet vermouth, and bitters. The cocktail’s origin dates back to 1874 when Jennie Churchill, America-born British socialite threw a party at the Manhattan Club to celebrate Samuel J. Tilden’s, the 25th Governor of New York victory in the gubernatorial election. An enterprising bartender then created this cocktail for the event, which he dubbed the ‘Manhattan’ in the honor of the club.
And now that you know it, next time when you hit the bar with your gang and order your favorite cocktail, don’t forget to tell them about the story behind its catchy name.