Last week, I had Sex on the Beach! Yes, really but not the one you are probabaly thinking about! What I had was the Vodka based cocktail mixed with Vodka, Peach Schnapps, Cranberry juice and Orange juice. A International Bartenders Association Official Cocktail, it is also referred as "Fun on the Beach" to avoid the sexual connotation. Try it, its refreshing.
Well, this got me thinking and I am presenting below a Cocktail story I wrote a long time ago..
Cocktails are drinks with drama, snappy mixtures of sophistication and fun. And tales of how the name came to be are like illusionary cocktails themselves - intresting blends of fiction and fancy served straight up. One legend tells of the king’s daughter who mixed a drink for a visiting dignitary. Her name Coctel. Then there is the tale of Betsy the Barmaid who pulled a feather from a cock’s tail to mix a drink for a Frenchman; one sip and he exclaimed, “Vive le Cocktail!” And let’s not forget the savvy horse trader who gave his tired old nag a mixed drink of spirits to jolt him up before the sale; why, it even made him cock his tail.
By any legend, however, the cocktail remains the same - a mixed drink made with spirits and flavors and served cold. Scores of drinks have been mixed and fixed since the word cocktail first came into use in the early 1800s and thousands more were created when the great international cocktail rage began following World War I but most of these drinks were momentary showpieces and passing fads. Only a few have weathered time to become classic cocktails. They are the drinks that refresh the mind, raise the spirit and put problems into perspective.
The Bloody Mary was born in 1921 when Fernand Petiot, the bartender at Harry’s New York Bar in Paris, felt the world needed a better way to face the morning after. To those who knew hangovers best, Petiot’s vodka and tomato juice-based drink quickly became a treasured friend. When Petiot moved on to the king Cole Bar at the St.Regis hotel in New York city in 1934, he brought Mary with him, where the cocktail made new friends, even among those who had never known a hangover. Nor did they know that Mary was not its original name. Born the Bucket of Blood, the drink was later called Red Snapper and Morning Glory before finally being christened Bloody Mary; supposedly after American entertainer George Jessel accidentally spilled one of the crimson beverages over a young woman named Mary.
The Daiquiri was born at the Daiquiri iron mines in Cuba around the turn of the century when American engineers drank a mixture of light rum, limejuice and sugar to ward off tropical fevers. Evidently, it did keep fevers down - and spirits up – and a local preventive became a worldwide pleasure. For a basic Daiquiri, combine two teaspoons fresh limejuice. One-half teaspoon superfine sugar, two ounces light rum and three ice cubes in a shaker. Shake vigorously. Strain into a well-chilled glass. For a frozen daiquiri, place ingredients and blend until it has the consistency of snow. For a banana daiquiri, add half a sliced banana.
GIN AND TONIC
The source of Gin and Tonic is the British Army. Time: 1800s. Place: Far East. Impetus: malaria. In an age when the only remedy was quinine, gin helped the bitter medicine go down. In time quinine was given the carbonated water, citric fruit and sugar and called quinine water or tonic. By the 1920s, quinine was out, gin was in, and gin and tonic became one of the world’s most popular cocktails. In a tall glass, add ice cubes, two ounces gin and a wedge of lemon or lime. Fill the glass to the top with six ounces (or more) chilled tonic water.
One in 1944, Victor Bergerson, the man who started the Polynesian-styled trader Vic’s restaurant, decided to invent a new drink. He took a bit of this, a bit of that, shook it with ice and served it to a friend visiting from Tahiti. The friend declared it “Mai Tai,” roe ‘ae,” or “out of this world, the best”. The declaration became the name and in the decade since, many devotees of the drink believed they were enjoying the true flavour of the south pacific. Not quite. The drink was created in California, chiefly out of the products of the Caribbean and today is one of the Caribbean’s most popular drinks. Call it the multicultural cocktail.
Appropriately enough, the Manhattan began at the Manhattan Club in New York City in 1874 when Jenny Jerome gave a party for Samuel J. Tilden, the newly elected governor of the state. She asked the bartender to mix a special drink for the occasion, which she named after the club. Ms. Jerome went on to become lady Randolph Churchill, mother of Sir Winston and the Manhattan went to become one of the World’s most enduring cocktails.
Like all classic drinks, the Margarita’s origins are shrouded in legend. In most stories, Mexico is its native home and since the drink is based on the Mexican spirit Tequila, it is a likely story. Whatever the setting, the tales remain the same; a beautiful woman named Margarita; thwarted love in some versions a number; and in all versions, a bartender who creates a drink in her memory. Rub a lemon or lime peel around the rim of a cocktail glass to moisten and dip the rim into a saucer of salt, in a mixing glass, combine two ounces tequila, one ounce cointreau or Triple sec, one-half ounce lemon juice, one ounce lime juice and ice cubes; shake well. Or add crushed ice and blende until slushy. Strain into salt-rimmed glass and serve.
The Martini is the quintessential cocktail-pure, cold, dry and elegant. An American creation, the drink dates back to the nineteenth century when, as one version goes, a bartender in San Francisco mixed half sweet gin, half sweet vermouth for a traveler on his way to nearby Martinez. From this sweet drink to Martinez, the dry Martini was born. By the end of World War II, the Martini was a mix of two ounces dry gin, one ounce dry vermouth. From then on, the distance between ingredients lengthened with Gin going up and vermouth moving down-a half ounce, a drop, and a whiff. Along with passion over proportions, there was the minute of mixing. Some devotees declared that lemon peel in a martini was heresy, while James Bond decreed it must be “shaken, not stirred”. Purists were themselves shaken, not stirred, when vodka became a fashionable substitute for in the 1970s and began to nuzzle its way in to the martini. It was vodka’s taste- free neutrality that made it so easily adaptable, although, as one of my Russian friends explained, “Vodka is not tasteless; it merely lacks favour”.
OLD – FASHIONED
Venerable and loved, the old-fashioned—is actually an old fashioned Whiskey cocktail that was created at the Pendennis Club in Louisville, Kentucky and probably introduced elsewhere along the East Coast by Colonel James Pepper, a bourbon distiller. Place a lump of sugar in an old fashioned glass with a drop of water to dissolve it. Add a dash of Angostura bitters; add ice cubes and a twist of lemon peel. Fill with whiskey (bourbon or rye) and stir. Garnish with a cherry and an orange slice.
According to some colada lovers, Ramon portas Mingot invented the drink in 1963. To others, Ramon Marrero Perez first blended it in 1954.What is certain are that it came to life in the Caribbean when one Ramon or the other whipped together some of the islands natural wonders: Pineapple, Coconut and Rum. In a blender, combine an ounce-and-a-half of rum, two ounce Pineapple half-half ounce sweetened cream of coconut and a scoop of crushed ice. Blend until smooth. Serve in a tall glass and garnish with pineapple.
Soon after prohibition ended, a new generation of drinks were invented and one of the first was planters punch. Since then, the drink has moved south and today its home court is the Caribbean Island, especially Jamaica. While there are many recipes for the drink, authentic versions include Dark rum. Combine the juice of one orange, one lemon and one lime, three dashes of grenadine, one-half cup pineapple juice, two ounces dark rum, three teaspoons confectioners sugar and cracked ice. Stir well and strain into a tall glass. Garnish with an orange slice and serve.
The Sazerac is to New Orleans what the Margarita is to Mexico; it creates the mood of the place and tells a story. First concocted in the 1850s from Sazerac, a French brandy of the Sazerac coffee house on Exchange place in the French Quarter. In 1872, the Sazerac House opened on nearby Royal street with a 125 foot long bar manned by more than a dozen bartenders; Sazerac was quickly dubbed the bar’s signature cocktail. By the turn of the century, the Sazerac had evolved from a brandy-based drink to one made chiefly with rye whiskey. Soon after, bourbon became the spirit of choice. Fill an old-fashioned glass with cracked ice. In another old fashioned glass, moisten a cube of sugar with water and crush with a spoon with water and crush with a spoon. Add a few drops of peychaud’s bitters, a dash of Angostra bitters and two ounces bourbon or rye. Add several ice cubes and stir. Empty the ice from the first glass, add several drops pernod and swirl around the glass until the sides are coated; then pour out. Strain the mixture into this glass. Twist a lemon peel over but do not drop the peel into the drink. Serve.
The screwdriver was created, so the story goes, when a group of American oil rig workers in the Middle East were given a supply of canned orange juice as a substitute for the local water. To spice up the juice, the men added vodka and since they were out in the field, they stirred the mixture with the nearest utensil-the screwdriver that hung from their bells. Place three cubes in a Glass; add one-and-a-half ounces vodka and four ounces orange juice with an orange slice.
Gin is at the heart of this drink, so named because it is a sling (an long drink usually sweetened with cherry brandy) first made at Raffles Hotel in Singapore in 1915.In a shaker, combine two ounces gin, one ounce cherry brandy, one teaspoon sugar, one teaspoon fresh lemon half dash each of Angostura bitters and Benedictine. Shake well with ice and strain into a tall glass.
The Tom Collins is the tallest cocktail, a kind of long lemonade with a zip. First made in the late 1800s with sweetened gin and very likely named for the gin’s brand, Old Tom, it changed its style with time. Today it is strictly a dry gin drink - never mind that it is also made with sugar. Place five ice cubes in the tallest glass you have, add three ounces gin, the juice of one large lemon and one tablespoon sugar. Fill the glass with club soda and stir.
Mint Juleps made with rum, brandy and various rye whiskies have been known in America since at least that early 1800s but according to lore, the real thing was created in Mint Springs, Vicksburg, Mississippi in 1842 when for the first time, someone stuck a sprig of fresh mint into a glass of bourbon. Today the drink enjoys its greatest moment at Kentucky Derby time, when mint is in bloom. In a small glass, crush two sprigs fresh mint with one-teaspoon superfine sugar and a little soda water. Add two ounces bourbon, stir and strain into at tall glass filled with crushed ice. Stir until the glass is frosted. Garnish with mint sprigs.
Some Cocktail Recipes - A Few Cocktails require immaculate details while preparing them…
Mixing a Martini: Into a clean shaker filled with ice, pour exactly 3oz.of Gin or Vodka and ½ oz. or less dry vermouth. Shake but don’t stir and then strain into a martini glass for class. Then garnish with an olive or lemon twist.
Mixing a Mai Tai: In a sterile shaker, combine exactly 2 oz. of high quality dark rum, 1/2 oz.of Triple sec, 1 oz.of lemon juice, 1 oz of simple syrup, 1/2 oz.of lime juice and ½ oz. of orgeat syrup. Shake well with ice thoroughly and then pour.
Mixing a Manhattan: Into a clean shaker filled with ice, add 1-1/2 oz. of good quality Bourbon, 1/4 oz. each of both dry and sweet vermouth and a dash of Angostura bitters. Shake well, strain into a glass and garnish with a Maraschino cherry or Lemon twist.
Mix them well,add plenty of Ice. Enjoy!!