As America celebrates its Independence Day, we decided to bring on the festivities by taking a virtual tour of some of its greatest cities through cocktails named after them. It’s no secret that cocktails found a place on the world map thanks to efforts by bartenders in the United States and the rise of the industry, especially after Prohibition, has been nothing short of dazzling. Here are some of the most popular cocktails named after American cities.
1 – Manhattan
Made with whiskey, sweet vermouth and bitters, Manhattan is one of the six basic drinks listed in David A. Embury’s 1948 classic book The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks. Apparently originating at the Manhattan Club in New York City sometime in the 1870s, the cocktail quickly turned into a classic and managed to survive the dry years of Prohibition before making a spectacular comeback.
2 – Boston Rum Punch
Perhaps the most important cocktail in this list, Boston was known for making Rum Punch back in the day with thousands of litres of rum being made in the city. The cocktail was popular at places like Green Dragon Tavern where the Boston Tea Party, which led to the United States’ freedom, was planned. The cocktail itself is easy to make with rum and lemonade garnished with an orange slice and a strawberry.
3 – Chicago Fizz
Also called as Southside Fizz, this cocktail supposedly gets its name from the South Side district of Chicago and is said to be Al Capone’s preferred tipple. Made with gin, lime juice, simple syrup, club soda and mint, this is a cocktail that’s as refreshing as Chicago city itself.
4 – Bronx Cocktail
One of the five cocktails named after the boroughs of New York, the Bronx cocktail has a chequered history after being named third-best cocktail in 1934 behind the Martini and Manhattan. Although not as famous as Manhattan, gin lovers particularly enjoy the Bronx cocktail that is also one of the few cocktails that uses both dry vermouth and sweet vermouth along with fresh orange juice and orange bitters. According to a popular story, the Bronx cocktail was actually invented in Philadelphia before Joseph Sormani, a restaurateur from Bronx, made it popular in his borough – and the world.
5 – Long Island Iced Tea
Claimed to have been created by Robert Butt at Oak Beach Inn in Long Island, New York in 1972, Long Island Iced Tea is not for the weak-hearted. Combining gin, tequila, rum, vodka and triple sec with sour mix and soda, this is a cocktail that also lends itself to various combinations given the versatility of its primary ingredients. Interestingly, in most of Western America, Long Island Iced Tea is served without tequila. The original cocktail is called Texas Tea in these establishments.
6 – Chimayó
Arturo Jaramillo, owner of Rancho de Chimayó restaurant in Chimayó, New Mexico in 1965, wanted to create a cocktail that would use the plentiful apples that grow in the city. Mixed with tequila, unfiltered apple cider, fresh lemon juice and crème de cassis, this is probably the least-known cocktail in this list.
7 – Lynchburg Lemonade
Home of Jack Daniel’s distillery, Lynchburg gives its name to this cocktail that uses, what else but Jack Daniel’s as its main ingredient along with triple sec, lemon-lime soda and a sour mix. The cocktail was named in 1980 by restaurant owner Tony Mason who alleged Jack Daniel Distillery stole his cocktail recipe that was then part of a controversial court case in 1987 named Mason v Jack Daniel Distillery.
8 – Cape Codder
The popular tourist destination of Cape Cod in Massachusetts lends its name to this cocktail that is also known simply as vodka cranberry after its two main ingredients. Probably because of its simple recipe, the cocktail has many related drinks including Sex On The Beach in which orange juice and schnapps in added and a cocktail called Madras that is made by adding orange juice to the Cape Codder. Served on the rocks with ice in a Highball glass, this classic cocktail was renamed Red Robin in 2017.
9 – Blue Hawaii
The Blue Hawaii was invented in 1957 by legendary bartender Harry Yee at the Hilton Hawaiian Village in Waikiki, Hawaii when a sales rep of Dutch distiller Bols asked for a cocktail to be made with its signature blue Curaçao liqueur. Yee created the cocktail using light rum, vodka, sour mix, pineapple juice and Blue Curaçao. After an Elvis Presley film of the same name released in 1961, there was no looking back for this now-popular cocktail across the world.
10 – Southern Slammer
The Southern Slammer – also known as Alabama Slammer – is one of the toughest cocktails to find because of its ingredients that use Amaretto and sloe gin along with orange juice and a fruit-flavoured liqueur called Southern Comfort, which probably lent its name to the cocktail. The Playboy Bartender’s Guide by Thomas Mario in 1971 has a mention of Southern Slammer, which further makes the case for this cocktail as a classic in its own right.
Which of these cocktails have you tried and which others have piqued your interest? Let us know in the comments below even as we wish the USA a Happy Independence Day.
Images used are for representational purposes only
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Priyanko Sarkar is the Founder Editor of Gurgl.in. He has been a writer for over 15 years and this site is his attempt to document India's growing beverage sector with impactful and interesting stories. His favourite drink is Vietnamese Coffee and his favourite spirit is Turkish Raki.