The world of cocktails is potent and vast and – if life doesn’t allow for globetrotting –often unknowable. Still, if you want to drink like a world traveler, we’ve mapped it out. Behold, our guide to sophisticated sipping from coast to coast.
The Old Fashioned – USA
The first documented definition of a cocktail was written in 1806 in a Hudson New York paper as a “potent concoction of spirits, bitters, water, and sugar.” This “concoction” is almost precisely the makeup of what is now known as an old-fashioned, named for the lo-ball glass in which it is served, and made by muddling sugar with bitters, adding whiskey, water and a twist of citrus rind.
The Negroni – Italy
Made from gin (select one like Death’s Door and you’ll be back to the USA in a flash), vermouth rosso (like Cinzano), Campari and an orange peel garnish, this ubiquitous bittersweet cocktail reportedly was invented by Count Camillo Negroni in Florence in 1919 when he asked a bartender to strengthen his favourite drink, the Americano. So, how did the Americano become Italiano? Simple, instead of soda water the bartender used Campari. Delizioso!
The French 75 – France
Dating back to World War I, this classic French cocktail made from gin, champagne, lemon juice and sugar is said to pack such a powerful punch that having a sip was like being shelled by a French 75mm gun.
Margarita – Mexico
The margarita – tequila (preferably Patrón Reposado), triple sec, lime – was created in 1938, halfway between Tijuana and Rosarito, by Carlos “Danny” Herrera at his bar, Rancho La Gloria, for a Ziegfeld dancer who was allergic to many spirits…Tequila was not one of them. Olé!
The Caesar – Canada
Invented in Calgary in 1969 by restaurateur Walter Chell, this abstruse blend of vodka (we recommend Tito’s), Clamato juice, hot sauce and Worcestershire was created to celebrate the opening of his Italian restaurant. Canadians consume over 350 million Caesars annually but the drink remains largely unknowable outside of the country.
The Singapore Sling – Singapore
Created by a Hainanese-Chinese bartender named Mr. Ngiam Tong Boon at the Raffles Hotel’s Long Bar in Singapore, sometime between 1910 and 1915. This sweet taste of the east is made of equal parts gin, cherry brandy and benedictine, a dash of bitters and Cointreau and finished off with pineapple, lime juice and grenadine. The welcoming potable is served on all Singapore Airline flights.