Try These 16 Cocktails From Different Decades

Diply 9 Mar 2016

Everyone has their favorite drink. Whether it's a cosmo, dry martini, or rum and coke, mixed drinks have been around a lot longer than you may think. Some of the most iconic cocktails can be traced back to the late 1800s, which honestly surprised me! If you want to impress your friends with a bit of boozy history, keep reading!

1. 1860s: Manhattan

flickr | ilmungo

A classic cocktail consisting of rye whiskey, sweet & dry vermouth and orange bitters, the Manhattan is widely regarded as one of the greats. According to popular legend, the recipe was created for a party thrown in New York City in 1874 by Winston Churchill’s mother. However, Lady Randolph was in England about to give birth to the future Prime Minister at the time she was supposed to be partying in NYC, so the likelihood of this story being true is doubtful. The most concrete lead pertaining to the true birth of the drink is from William F. Mulhall, a New York bartender from the early 1880s: “The Manhattan cocktail was invented by a man named Black, who kept a place ten doors below Houston Street on Broadway in the [eighteen-] sixties--probably the most famous drink in the world in its time.”

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2. 1860s: Whiskey Sour

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One of my personal favorites, this drink is a delightful mix of whiskey, lemon juice and sugar. The first recorded recipe was found in the 1862 book The Bartender's Guide by Jerry Thomas.

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3. 1880s: Ramos Gin Fizz

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Originally called a New Orleans Fizz, the Ramos Gin Fizz was created by Henry C. Ramos in 1888, in his bar in New Orleans. It contains gin, lemon juice, lime juice, egg white, sugar, cream, orange flower water, and soda water.

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4. 1880s: Old Fashioned

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Don Draper's guilty pleasure, the Old Fashioned is made by muddling sugar with bitters, then adding whiskey or brandy. The origin of this popular cocktail isn't certain, but some believe that it was invented in the 19th century as a backlash to a cocktail culture loaded with frills and flourishes. The first printed description dates back to 1886.

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5. 1900s: Daiquiri 

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Daiquiri is a family of cocktails whose main ingredients are rum, citrus juice, and sugar. The drink's base is said to date back to 1740, but an American engineer, Jennings Cox, is credited with inventing the traditional recipe around 1900. It is named after a beach in Santiago, Cuba.

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6. 1910s: Grasshopper

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A sweet mix of green crème de menthe, white crème de cacao, and cream, the Grasshopper is a great late night treat. It is thought that this cocktail dates back to around 1919 and was created by Philibert Guichet, owner of the iconic Tujague's in the French Quarter, New Orleans.

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7. 1910s: Singapore Sling

flickr | 自逍遙 The Wanderer

This gin-based cocktail also has a muddled history. The most accepted story states that a man named Ngiam Tong Boon, head bartender at Raffles Hotel in Singapore, invented the concoction in 1915. Some dispute this claim, and believe that during the 1970's, Raffles manager, Roberto Pregarz, used the story as a PR stunt to revitalize the hotel.

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8. 1920s: Bloody Mary

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Another personal favorite, Bloody Marys contain vodka, tomato juice, and combinations of other spices and flavorings, including Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco sauce, horseradish, celery, lemon juice, and celery salt. Like many other cocktails, its original name and recipe are highly disputed. However, its birthplace is not. The Bloody Mary originated at Harry's New York Bar in Paris, France. Around 1920, Harry's bartender, Ferdinand "Pete" Petiot, began experimenting with vodka, which he found tasteless. Over a year's time, Petiot made vodka drink after vodka drink until he mixed it with tomato juice and some seasonings. It was originally called the Bucket of Blood, and then became the Red Snapper when it was introduced to the King Cole Bar in New York in 1933.

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9. 1920s: Sidecar

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Traditionally made with cognac, orange liqueur, and lemon juice, the Sidecar's origins are hard to trace. It allegedly appears in literature around 1907, but popular belief is that it was created sometime after World War I. Another account says that it was invented in New Orleans in the 19th century when bartenders used leftover liquor poured off into shot glasses. It has fittingly been referred to as the Flaming Moe of classic cocktails.

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10. 1930s: Margarita

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A popular vacation choice, the Margarita consists of tequila, triple sec, lime or lemon juice, and a salted glass rim. It is also no stranger to mystery. More than one person has claimed to have invented this fan favorite, but many believe that Carlos "Danny" Herrera developed the drink at his Tijuana-area restaurant, Rancho La Gloria, around 1938. He dreamed up the cocktail for one of his customers who was allergic to all hard alcohol other than tequila. He combined the elements of a traditional tequila shot, salt and a wedge of lime, and turned them into a refreshing drink.

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11. 1930s-1940s: Mai Tai

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Mai Tais are made from rum, Curaçao liqueur, and lime juice. Legend has it that Victor J. Bergeron created this classic cocktail for his friends visiting from Tahiti in 1944. Others say that Don the Beachcomber, the founding father of Tiki restaurants, is the original creator of the Mai Tai. Don’s recipe dates back to 1933, over a decade prior to Bergeron, but both versions are quite different from each other.

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12. 1940s: Bellini

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A fun, refreshing mixture of Prosecco sparkling wine and peach purée, the Bellini is without question an Italian creation. Giuseppe Cipriani created the cocktail in 1948. He admired 15th century Venetian painter, Giovanni Bellini, and used the pink glow of one of his paintings as the inspiration for this famous cocktail.

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13. 1950s: Vodka Martini

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Originally made with gin and vermouth, and garnished with an olive or a lemon twist, the martini has been an iconic cocktail for decades. The first recipe to resemble what we recognize as a traditional martini can be found in the 1904 book Stuart’s Fancy Drinks and How to Mix Them, which called for two parts dry gin, one part dry vermouth and a dash of orange bitters. However, Prohibition radically altered the world’s drinking tastes, and American palates adapted to what was available. With the arrival of vodka in 1934, it was used as a substitute for gin in a dry Martini, which has since become the drink of choice for many, including legendary secret agent, James Bond.

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14. 1970s: Long Island Iced Tea

flickr | Karen Wintle

Typically made with, among other ingredients, tequila, vodka, light rum, triple sec, and gin, Long Island Iced Tea is what drunken nightmares are made of. It was allegedly created in the Oak Beach Inn in Long Island in 1972 by Robert Butt. He entered the cocktail into a competition in which the only rule was to "use Triple Sec." Robert proceeded to pour virtually the entire bar into a glass, and then topped it off with a splash of coke, creating the legendary drink.

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15. 1980s: Sex on the Beach

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There are two common versions of this iconic cocktail. The first is made from vodka, peach schnapps, orange juice, and cranberry juice. The second from vodka, Chambord, Midori Melon Liqueur, pineapple juice, and cranberry juice. There are several stories pertaining to the creation of the drink, the earliest being that it dates back to Florida in 1987. A peach schnapps distributor held a contest that would pay the bar that sold the most product a bonus of $1000, and the bartender that was responsible at that bar for the highest sales would receive $100. A young bartender named Ted, working at Confetti's Bar, mixed the peach schnapps with vodka, orange juice, and grenadine cocktail - and voila! Sex on the Beach was born!

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16. 1980s-1990s: Cosmopolitan

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Sex and the City fans will be happy to know that we can thank Carrie Bradshaw and her crew for launching the cosmo into the bar scene. Made with vodka, triple sec, cranberry juice, and freshly squeezed lime juice, the cosmo was invented by Toby Cecchini in 1987. He was a bartender at the famous Odeon is Manhattan's Tribeca neighborhood. From there, the drink spread across the city, eventually ending up in The Rainbow Room. However, it didn’t truly explode until Samantha of Sex and the City made the cocktail her drink of choice in the second season of the infamous series.

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