Today we share the origins of world famous cocktails and the ways these drinks have inspired world leaders, artists, poets, films and socialite parties.
- The Mojito
This drink is made from white rum, sugar, sugar cane juice, lime, carbonated water and mixed together with mint. The history of this drink goes back to 16th century Cuba and was known as “El Draque” to honour Francis Drake, an explorer and sailor. It is said that the drink was made to conceal the strong taste of tafia, a primal form of rum. When copper stills were introduced during the 19th century, the drink’s taste was greatly improved. Its present-day name supposedly comes from a Cuban sauce by the name of mojo made with garlic, olive oil and citrus juice. The name of the drink eventually turned into Mojito which is one of the most well-known cocktail drinks and great for summer refreshments.
- The Singapore Sling
This drink was first created in Singapore and it appears on many drink menus worldwide. The creator goes by the name of Mr Ngiam Tong Boon, a Hainanese Chinese bartender at the Raffles Hotel’s Long Bar in Singapore sometime between 1910 and 1915.
The cocktail is made by mixing gin, cherry brandy and Benedictine equally with dashes of bitters, Cointreau, pineapple, lime juice and grenadine. The recipe was eventually improved in the 20th century by the creator’s nephew. The Raffles Hotel Museum has a safe containing all the secret cocktail recipe books which visitors can view.
This drink today is served in all Singapore Airlines flights and mentioned in movies and books like Hunter S. Thompson’s Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas which has the film’s lead character Raoul Duke talking about drinking “Singapore Slings with mescal on the side.” The original recipe is still available at the Raffles Hotels’s Long Bar for people to order.
- The Sidecar
This cocktail has a history of about 100 years old. Equal portions of Cognac, Cointreau and lemon juice are mixed together in this cocktail. The drink’s history is not clearly defined as some say that it was made in Paris when the events of WW1 occurred while others say it was following the events of WW1. The 1948 book, The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks by David A. Embury mentions that the drink was created in Paris by an American Army captain during WW1.
It is also said that the drink’s name was given after the motorcycle sidecar. In this story, the drink was born and christened after the captain was driven to and from the little bistro. Harry’s Bar is the bistro referred to by the author and is often given credit as this cocktail’s birthplace. This cocktail is also said to be first created when the American asked for a cocktail before dinner to soothe the chill he contracted outside. This caused the French bartender to be in a state of predicament. He knew Brandy would be the best choice but refused to serve it after dinner. This resulted in the bartender mixing brandy with the orange flavoured Cointreau and adding fresh lemon juice to concoct the pre-dinner cocktail thus giving birth to the Sidecar.
This cocktail is well-known in countries like England and France. It is also having its popularity reignited and appearing on present day bar menus.
- The Pisco Sour
This drink is concocted with ingredients like Pisco, a South American regional brandy and other ingredients in the mix are lemon juice, bitters and egg so its origin is always up for debate.
This drink’s history goes back to the 16th century in which Spanish colonialists in South America distilled grapes to make a cheap version of Spanish brandy. An American expatriate by the name of Victor “Gringo” Morris is given credit for making this drink as a whiskey sour variation at the Morris Bar in Lima. The drink became so popular to the point that main hotels began serving the drink in their bars.
An English steward of a sailing ship which was stopped at the then Peruvian which is now the Chilean port of Iquique in 1872 is given credit for making this drink by mixing regional liquor with limes grown in the same place. Both Peru and Chile celebrate National Pisco Sour Days. In Peru, it is on the first Saturday of February while it is on May 15th in Chile. There are different variations of this drink found worldwide today.
- White Russian
Although this drink is not made in Russia, vodka is used to concoct this drink. The classic movie, The Big Lebowiski popularised this drink as the main character named The Dude drinks a steady amount of White Russians. The drink got its name due to vodka being associated with Russia, the nation of its origin.
The mixing of cream, vodka and Kahula in equal parts only started in the 1960s. In 1961, the recipe for “Black Russian” was given without cream by the Diner’s Club Drink Book thus naming it White Russian. This drink has inspired college students today to have a drinking game and imitate “The Dude” from The Big Lebowski in cocktail consumption.
This drink is great for people who drink a lot and for those that don’t really drink.
Love this compilation? We’ll share a few more with you guys next week.