Famous Cocktails

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The Secrets Behind Famous Cocktail Names What’s in a title? Quite a lot when it comes to cocktail names. Although some, like the Martini, don’t give much away, others contain clues that will help you perform smoothly when it’s your turn to mix the drinks. What the Names Reveal You won’t have to fumble for ingredients if you pay attention to what some cocktail names are telling you. Sour, Collins, or Rickey in the title signals a sweet-tart burst of lemon-lime. If the name ends with Cooler or Spritzer, break out club soda. The Tequila Sunrise not only telegraphs its ingredients but outlines the proportions to use: a sun tinted with morning red perfectly describes orange juice with a dash of rosy grenadine. Cocktail names from torpid latitudes tend to be rum-based. If the drink hails from Cuba, as do the Daiquiri, Cuba Libre, Bacardi Cocktail, and El Floridita, the libation is a pre-Castro classic that is likely to mix rum with lime and a bit of sugar. But tropical drinks that conjure up tiki torches and Polynesian masks, like the Mai Tai, Piña Colada, Samoan Fog Cutter, Blue Hawaii and Bahama Mama, are more recent inventions and usually contain one or more varieties of fruit juice. You’ll know you’re a master decoder when a party guest asks for a Singapore Sling and you reach for gin rather than rum because you’ve remembered that slings are gin-based. The Art of Naming Some cocktails achieve fame with slightly naughty names, like the Orgasm or Sex on the Beach. A good story helps, too. Vodka and orange juice didn’t become a classic until an oil worker without a swizzle stick used his screwdriver to do the job. And though Don the Beachcomber and Trader Vic both claimed to have invented the Mai Tai, Trader Vic usually gets credit with his claim that Samoan friends raised their glasses after just one sip and spontaneously shouted, “Mai tai! Roa ae! The best drink ever!” You can do your bit for cocktail culture and keep your party guests mingling by challenging them to create a drink that will catapult Australia to the top of the heap. Lay out the alcohol and the mixers, round up the luscious fruits this part of the world is envied for, and let genius take hold. Have everyone vote for the best of the bunch, come up with a truly memorable name, and history just might be made.