Those with the taste and gall to order mixed drinks tend to wear their cocktail of choice like a badge of honor. Not literally of course, how messy, but nothing beats the James Bond sensation, smoothly whisking up to the barkeep with, “Shaken, not stirred.” Gaping mouths of awe surely beseech those equip with signature cocktail in hand. So why not discover your own? They’re all just begging to be tried at least once.
Origin: Lima, Peru
In español, the noun sits front and center ahead of the adjective just as the pisco oversees the sour. The pisco’s sour grapes sensation—enhanced by a squirt of lime juice—jolts with an intense pucker-up but it’s the raw potency of the 96 proof alcohol content that’ll torch your sinuses. This bombastic flavor is apparently too strong for the Chileans; powdered sugar gets shaken into their recipe morphing it into a hard limeade of sorts. The Peruvians opted to keep the sting and boost the smooth by dabbing in syrup and one egg’s whites. It’s up to your palate regarding which is best, but Anthony Bourdain sneers at the Chilean formula, so there’s that…
Origin: New York City, New York
The Manhattan was first tossed together in the 1870s at a celebratory banquet for presidential hopeful, Samuel J. Tilden. Decades have flown since and history has wistfully forgotten the self-described “Bourbon Democrat”, but bourgeois worldwide still relish the whiskey-based cocktail forged in his honor. American rye whiskey for traditionalists, riding against sweet vermouth’s medicinal sweetness with just a not-too-much-or-it’s-ruined sliver of bitters. Whiskey nowadays is superior compared to a century ago, prompting fine-tongued kids and their Midnight Manhattans to opt out the vermouth in favor of Italian Amaro and Campari. It helps to uplift the whiskey flavor, not mask it.
Origin: Kentucky, Virginia, or Washington D.C.
The preferred drink of wealthy Southern aristocrats pre-Civil War and Kentucky Derby motor heads alike. Ice spoke of sheer luxury before the electrical grid, and mixed drinks were typically served by personal servants, so only the rich dealt in cocktails. As for the latter group… Not entirely sure, but the collectible motorway glasses they’re served in surely lend a clue. A lone spearmint crops the Julep’s rim, bespeaking once more of Southern tradition. The spirit of Bourbon gets evoked here, Kentucky or Tennessee, either or, but nothing less. One teaspoon of powdered sugar and double that for water completes this iconic cocktail from below the Mason-Dixon.
Origin: Phoenix, Arizona
One of those darn, sunny, fruity-tooty, guilty pleasures that prompts even oxen built men to meekly retract necks into broad shoulders while uttering its name. It’s served long though as some simply enjoy plowing through a Collins, lacking the regimen required to sip moderately from martini glasses. And hey, the “cocaine and tequila sunrise tour” inspired all the kids to drink like the Rolling Stones. So cast off that shame, barkeeps don’t care. Just train those eagle eyes on their mixing order. As it stands, tequila, ice, juice, syrup. Why? To bring forth those separate sections of sunrise colors of course!
Origin: NYC, New York and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
The champion of gin cocktails first spread its wings over New England territory through an hysterically potent marketing campaign; the Tom Collins Hoax of 1874. It went like this: Tom Collins would speak ill of someone or other. The victim’s friend would overhear this and rush to inform the victim. The disgruntled man would barge into the tavern and ask of the barkeep, “Have you seen Tom Collins?” With wry smile and practiced hands, the bartender would plop gin and gum syrup—sided by lemon juice plus ice—into his shaker. Several vigorous shakes, then a strain to a bar glass later, he looks the inquiring man straight in the eyes. He tops it off with soda water and says, “Here he is.”