Tall tales about tall glasses!

One of the things we have always wondered about is, who the hell came up with all the cocktail names?! I mean who was the genius who wanted to ask the bartender/waiter for ‘Sex on the beach’ or *blush* an ‘Orgasm’?! Well, we have some of the answers and for others we traveled the web long and wide to find. But in almost all cases there are conflicts and controversies about who actually invented them. We’re not entirely surprised since after a drunk night with any of these drinks we barely remember our names, leave alone the bartender’s! 😛

Anyways, without further ado, here are the tall tales about the tall glasses we love!

Cheers to Churchill! 🙂

Manhattan : No, it’s definitely not after the city though the origins are not very far from it. The most popular story out there it was Winston Churchill’s mother, Jennie who was the one who formally introduced this drink to the world. It was invented by Dr. Iain Marshall for a party that Jennie threw for the presidential candidate Samuel J. Tilden. It was hosted at the Manhattan Club in New York City in the early 1870s and the drink was named, no prizes for guessing, after the club.  This is the pop version of the origin but unfortunately there are too many inconsistencies. For one, there are references to the drink which go further back and two, Lady Randolph Churchill was away in France and pregnant at the time. The only other note is that it might have been invented in the 1860s by a bartender named Black at a bar on Broadway. But we fondly like to think that the woman who gave Britain her war-time hero is also the woman who would have understood the need for the drink, ergo credit – Mrs.Churchill!

Cheryl's Cosmo!

Cosmopolitan: The absolute favorite of the ‘Sex and the City’ fans and most women out there, it only deems fit it was invented by a woman! Cheryl Cook ( Is it just us or is that the perfect name for the inventor of the Cosmo!) created the drink in about 1985 in South Beach,Florida ( Again, is it not too perfect?!). According to her she created the drink, quote-

What overwhelmed me was the number of people who ordered Martinis just to be seen with a Martini glass in their hand. It was on this realization that gave me the idea to create a drink that everyone could palate and was visually stunning in that classic glass. This is what the Cosmo was based on.

Her original recipes called for “Absolut Citron, a splash of Triple Sec, a drop of Roses lime and just enough cranberry to make it oh so pretty in pink.” Yep, that sounds so SATC! 😀

Bloody Mary : Our first guess was it might have been inspiration from Mary Antoinette but we were sorely wrong! Instead it was named after a Mary who worked at Bucket of Blood Club in Chicago. The credit of this nifty, healthy alcohol seems to go to Fernand “Pete” Petiot working at Harry’s New York Bar in Paris during the 1920s.

For the healthy drunk! 😛

So, the story goes, it was pure luck, not strategic planning, when Petiot combined tomato juice and vodka. It’s supposed to have been initially christened Red Snapper but somehow it dint catch on. So one of the boys suggested it be called Bloody Mary “because it reminded me of the Bucket of Blood Club in Chicago, and a girl there named Mary.”

The first recipe as you can see has only tomato juice and Vodka. The Tabasco Sauce was later added when some patrons asked for a little more spiciness to otherwise bland drink.

Anyways, we think there’s something sweet, and a bit morbid, about naming it after the girl from the ‘Bucket of Blood’ bar! What say?! 🙂

Sex on the beach :  Well there are two versions for the naming. The urban myth has it that it was named after the famous William Kennedy Smith rape trial. It supposedly was invented by bartenders in Miami Beach, Florida during the (first) trial back in 1991. The story goes Smith went for a walk with the girl after getting her drunk and then raped her at the beach.

Hopefully with a sexy bartender! 😉

While this version is very popular thankfully there are too many contradictions to the story, mainly that the drink was already quite popular much before the trial. Phew! We would not want to think that the kindly bartender who plays agony aunt to our sorrows would be so heartless.

Instead the story which we love is the one where the young bartender named Ted Pizio invented it for the during the contest for selling the most peach schnapps. His combination of peach schnapps, vodka, orange juice and grenadine was the most popular drink. When asked what it was named, he  explained that the reason people came to Ft. Lauderdale for spring break was: The Beach and Sex – ergo , Sex on the Beach.

As for the reason why there are so many variations, the story is that the drink gained fame that spring, thousands of college students returned to their areas of the country and asked their local bartenders for Sex on the Beach. Since they had no idea what the real drink was they made up their own recipes.

Long Island Iced Tea : No, it’s not named after the New York Long Island.

The perfect Sunday noon drink!

Instead it’s supposed to be named after Long Island in Kingsport Tennessee. The inventor is credited as Old Man Bishop who passed the recipe on to his son Ransom who perfected the drink.

It supposed to have been invented in 1920’s during the period of Prohibition when alcohol consumption was illegal. It was not uncommon to disguise cocktails as harmless drinks, and with the mix of Rum, Vodka, Whiskey, Gin and  Tequila it would have given enough punch even to the most hard boiled gangster which would explain it’s popularity.

Of course, there are competing claims.The generally accepted theory is the story about a bartender, either Chris Bendicksen or Robert Butt who invented the cocktail at the Oak Beach Inn on Long Island, New York. But we like to think it’s Old Man Bishop’s sneaky idea because it’s just so much cooler 😛

Well, that some of the stories about our favorite drinks. We know we have missed out a few, but don’t worry, we’ll be back with more! 🙂


2 comments on “Tall tales about tall glasses!

  1. Fred Bond says:

    The earliest known invention of the cocktail and its name dates back to 1987 in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. Republic National Distributor (National Distribution at the time) had just begun to sell a new product, peach schnapps, in the fall. With the influx of tourism coming shortly for spring break, National devised a contest that would pay the bar that sold the most peach schnapps a bonus of $1000 and the bartender that was responsible at that bar for the highest sales of schnapps would receive $100. A young bartender named Ted Pizio working at Confetti’s mixed peach schnapps, vodka, orange juice and grenadine. When Pizio began to sell the sweet and tasty beverage, he was soon asked what it was called. On the spot, Pizio thought what the reason was that thousands of people came to Ft. Lauderdale for spring break was: The Beach and Sex. “Sex on the Beach!” he replied, and as the drink gained fame that spring, thousands of college students returned to their areas of the country and asked their local bartenders for Sex on the Beach. Obviously, the bartenders had no idea how to make a drink they had never heard of so they asked what it looked like and what it tasted like, which to this day has led to the numerous regional variations of the famous drink recipe.

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