Alexanders: Alexander cocktails are cream-based, and the most common is the Brandy Alexander, made using brandy, dark Creme de Cacao, and heavy cream.
Aperitifs: From the Latin word aperire, “to open,” aperitifs are drinks that are usually served to stimulate the appetite before a meal. They are usually clean and crisp and best served cold. Aperitifs became fashionable in the 18th and 19th centuries, when France and Italy became rivals in aperitif consumption and production. Campari, Cinzano, Cynar, Lillet, Pernod, Angostura, absinthe, Ouzo, Unicum, and Fernet-Branca are the most popular choices. Dry martinis and dry champagnes are also fall into this category.
Avenues: Short, sweet, sherry-based drinks made in frosted glasses, usually combined with a fruit liqueur for added tang.
Batidas: Fruity Brazilian drinks using cachaca, sugar, and fresh fruit blended with ice.
Bucks: Similar to a Rickey, a Buck contains one base spirit with lemon or lime juice, but is made with ginger ale.
Cobblers: An American creation from the early 1800s, cobblers are made by filling a glass with broken or crushed ice, then adding a wine, liqueur, or spirit base directly over the ice in the glass. Other ingredients such as soda water and sugar syrup may be added, as well as juice. The strongest ingredients should be added last, and the whole drink stirred with a barspoon before serving to encourage a frost on the glass. It should be served with a straw and garnished abundantly with seasonal fruit and a mint sprig.
Coladas: Created in Puerto Rico (either in 1954 by Ramon Marrero Perez of the Caribe Hilton or in 1963 by Don Ramon Portas Mingot of La Barrachina Restaurant Bar), this family of cocktails consists of white rum, pineapple juice, and coconut cream. Most famously known as the Pina Colada, the name translates to “strained pineapple,” and can be variated to include other spirits such as Amaretto, Kahlua, or sloe gin.
Collins: Similar to a Cooler or a Sling, a Collins is a long drink made in a tall glass with spirit, lime or lemon juice, sugar syrup, ice, and then usually topped with soda water before being gently stirred. The Collins name has been traced to John Collins, a head waiter at Timmer’s, a hotel and coffeehouse in London during the turn of the 18th century. The original Collins drink was made using Genever (Dutch Gin), and later using Old Tom Gin, at which point the classic Tom Collins was born.
Coolers: A Cooler is a long drink similar to a Collins, but contains a spiral of citrus peel, which should trail over the edge of a tall glass. Any base liquor can be used, along with other ingredients such as lemon juice, soda water, or sparkling citrus drinks. A Cooler is usually stirred, unless the recipe calls for egg white. Traditionally, Coolers were very sweet and topped with ice cream, but today, they are much drier, so syrups and liquors should be used in moderation.
Crustas: A Crusta is a cocktail made from any base spirit served in a large, sugar-rimmed wine glass with a spiral of lemon peel. A small amount of lemon juice may also be included. This type of cocktail is thought to have been created in the mid-19th century by Santina, the propietor of Santina’s Saloon, a Spanish cafe in New Orleans.
Daiquiris: Invented in 1896 by Jennings Cox, an American mining engineer living in Cuba, a Daiquiri consists of rum, lime, and sugar. It is named after the nearby town of Daiquiri. Later on, the Frozen Daiquiri came into popularity.
Daisies: A Daisy is an American cocktail invented in the mid-19th century. Originally, it was strained and served straight up in a metal tankard; while modern Daisies tend to be shaken and served with lots of crushed ice in a rocks glass. Any base spirit can be used, along with lemon or lime juice and a small amount of fruit syrup. A small amount of soda water may also be added, but no more then half the quantity of spirits. The drink is then garnished with seasonal fruit.
Digestifs: Digestifs stimulate digestion after a meal. They are often sweeter and heavier than aperitifs, such as port or cognac.
Egg Noggs: The term ‘nog’ was used in the 17th century to describe a strong beer, and a noggin was a small mug of beer or liquor. These drinks were often variated with beaten egg, which became the basis of today’s Egg Nogg. Traditionally drunken around Christmas, Egg Noggs are usually made with brandy and rum, cream or milk, and may include extra egg yolk.
Fixes: A Fix is an American cocktail that first appeared in the early 1800s, and is similar to a small version of a Cobbler. A Fix is made adding spirits (usually gin), citrus juice, fruit syrup (such as raspberry or pineapple syrup), and/or sugar syrup to crushed ice. It is garnished with seasonal fruits and served with a twist of lemon and a straw.
Fizzes: A Fizz is a short drink, similar to a Collins, however the base ingredients (liquor and lemon or lime juice) are shaken with half a glass of ice and strained into a frosted glass before adding soda or other sparkling drink. This ensures that the effervescence of the soda is not compromised. It is then served with a straw and swizzle stick, and is ideal as a summer drink.
Flips: A Flip is a cocktail made with any type of liquor, along with whole eggs or egg yolk. A dash of cream may also be added, although not milk, as then it would become an Egg Nogg. The name of the cocktail originates from the method of flipping it between two vessels to obtain smoothness. The original Flips date back to the 1690s and would contain eggs, sugar, spices, rum, and hot ale, mulled with a hot iron ‘loggerhead.’ Now, they are served short, cold, and sprinkled with nutmeg.
Frappes: A Frappe is a short drink made with any type of liqueur or spirit poured over crushed ice and served with a short straw.
Frenches: A French is a type of cocktail made in a tall, ice-filled glass like a Collins, but with half the quantity of the base spirit. The drink is then topped with Champagne.
Gimlets: A Gimlet is a small, sharp cocktail invented in the 1930s, named after a small, sharp hand tool used to bore holes into wood and tap into barrels. It is made using gin or vodka and lime juice, which are shaken together and poured into a glass filled with broken ice. Soda water may also be added.
Grogs: Any rum-based cocktail made with fruit and sugar. Originally, a grog was a mixture of rum and water (to both dilute its effects and delay spoilage) issued to sailors in the Royal Navy in the 1740s. Citrus juice was added to cut down on the water’s foulness, and the added vitamin C prevented disease. Add nutmeg or cinnamon and you have a Bumbo.
Highballs: Created in 1895 by Patrick Duffy, a New York barman, the term ‘highball’ comes from the 19th century railroad practice of raising a ball on a pole to urge a passing train driver to speed up. Duffy used the term to describe his method of quickly mixing a drink by simply adding the ingredients to a tall glass over ice. For the speedy process, Duffy used one spirit, one mixer (ginger ale or soda), and either a simple garnish (such as a twist of lemon) or none at all. Modern highballs also include a dash of triple sec, bitters, or grenadine, and may use any type of sparkling mixer, or even orange juice; sometimes both.
Juleps: The term ‘julep’ is thought to derive from the ancient Arabic word ‘julab,’ meaning rose water. The term had developed by the 14th century to describe a sugar and water syrup, used as a vehicle for medicine. By the end of the 18th century, a Julep was taken as a drink in its own right, usually mixed with either brandy or bourbon, and garnished with a mint sprig. Juleps should be made in an ice-cold Collins glass. Sprigs of mint are pressed in the glass with some sugar syrup, then the spirit of choice is added until the glass is between one-quarter and one-half full. Crushed ice is then added to the glass and stirred gently, and the melted ice-water qualifies it as a long drink.
Mai Tais: A Tahitian phrase meaning ‘the best,’ Mai Tais are a family of cocktails that first became popular in the 1950s. A basic Mai Tai contains dark and light rum, triple sec, almond syrup, Amaretto, and lime juice. Variations may also include tequila, orange juice, Grenadine, or lemonade. The mixture is shaken and strained into a Highball glass filled with crushed ice. Mai Tais are thought to have been invented by Trader Vic in the 1940s, although some sources claim that Donn Beach invented the cocktail in 1932.
Manhattans: The Manhattan cocktail is thought to have been invented in New York City in the early 1870s at the Manhattan Club for Lady Randolph Churchill (Winston Churchill’s mother). The drink became very fashionable, prompting people to request the drink by referring to the name of the club where it originated–”the Manhattan cocktail.” The recipe consists of whiskey, sweet vermouth, and bitters, with a classic ratio of 2 parts whiskey to 1 part sweet vermouth, although sweet versions (1:1 ratio) and dry versions (4:1 ratio) are popular as well. The whiskey may be replaced by other spirits such as brandy, rum, or bourbon. The mixture is usually shaken with a small amount of broken ice either strained into a cocktail glass or poured unstrained into a rocks glass and is garnished with a cherry.
Margaritas: Inspired by the actress Marjorie King, the world-famous Margarita was created in Tijuana, Mexico, in 1948. A regular at a restaurant named Rancho La Gloria, King was allergic to most spirits except tequila, so the owner, Danny Herrera, created this tequila-based cocktail for her, and named it Margarita–Mexican for Marjorie.
Martinis: Traditionally made with gin and dry white vermouth in a ratio of 5:1, the Martini has evolved into many variations since its creation in the second half of the 19th century. Different ratios of vermouth are used to make a sweeter or drier drink, and vodka is also commonly used to replace the gin. Although its exact origins remains a mystery, many believe the drink was influenced by the Italian-American immigrant population, who may well have introduced Martini Rosso vermouth to America. The drink gradually developed drier and drier, with Martini Rosso eventually replaced by dry white vermouth. Contrary to James Bond’s preference, most bartenders will say that a martini should be stirred, not shaken. The shaking action breaks up the ice, adding more water and slightly weakening the drink, however, many people also prefer the shaken martini.
Old-Fashioneds: The Old-Fashioned first appeared at the Pendennis Club in Louisville, Kentucky, at the beginning of the 20th century. It was made at the request of Col. James E. Pepper, who was a bourbon distiller. The drink is simply made by adding spirit to an ice-filled glass containing a sugar cube soaked in bitters. A classic Old-Fashioned uses bourbon, but it may also be made using whiskey, brandy, vodka, tequila, or gin.
Punches: Punches are one of the earliest forms of mixed drink, and can be traced back to 1632 when the British East India Company discovered a drink in India called panch. Punch is a drink or large-sized mixture consisting of several ingredients, usually spirit, citrus juice, sugar, spice, and water (ice). From the 1670s to the 1850s, punch was the drink of choice.
Rickeys: Created in 1893 in Shoemakers Restaurant in Washington for a Congressional lobbyist named Joe Rickey, a Rickey is an unsweetened cocktail of spirit, lime juice, and soda water. The original Rickey was made using gin, and this has remained the most popular spirit even today, however other spirits such as bourbon, brandy, rum, or vodka may be used. Any hint of sugar and the drink becomes a Gimlet.
Sangarees: A Sangaree is a cocktail based on the traditional Spanish red wine drink Sangria (blood drink). Since their creation in the United States during the 19th century, the drinks have developed to include soda water and sugar syrup, and the red wine may also be substituted by fortified wines, ales, or spirits. The ingredients are added to an iced-filled highball glass.
Sazeracs: The Sazerac was created in New Orleans in the 1850s, using cognac and a small amount of Peychaud Bitters. Originally, the tumbler or rocks glass was coated with 1 tablespoon of absinthe before the cognac was poured in; and until recently, Herbsain d’Anis or Pernod was more commonly used.
Scaffas: A Scaffa is a cocktail in which the ingredients are simply added to a glass, without shaking or stirring, and named after an old Norse term meaning “to make something yourself.” Although Scaffas were popular in the 1860s until the early 1900s, they are rarely seen today.
Shrubs: Fruits preserved in alcohol and sugar.
Slings: A Sling is a tall cocktail that contains lemon or lime juice and sugar syrup or a sweet liqueur, along with any type of base spirit and fruit juice. The ingredients may be simply added to ice in a Collins glass, or may be shaken and strained into an ice-filled glass. The term ‘sling’ is thought to derive from either the name of a device used to handle barrels, or from the German word ‘schlingen,’ meaning ‘to swallow quickly.’ The Sling appeared in American literature around 1759.
Smashes: A Smash is similar to a short Julep, made by crushing mint leaves and sugar spirit together in the base of a rocks glass, which is then filled with crushed ice. Any type of spirit is then poured into the glass, Brandy and gin are especially popular.
Sours: The Sour cocktail was established in the mid-19th century and generally consists of three parts any type of spirit, two parts of citrus juice, and one part sweetener. The drink is usually served in a rocks glass filled with broken ice, along with a twist or a spiral of lemon. A little soda water may also be added.
Swizzles: Simply consisting of spirit, lime juice, sugar syrup or a liqueur, crushed ice, and occasionally, soda water, The Swizzle originated in the West Indies at the start of the 19th century. The ingredients are shaken together and strained into a Collins glass filled with crushed ice, topped with soda if desired, and gently stirred with a swizzle stick.
Tinctures: Spices, herbs, or roots macerated in neutral grain alcohol for the purpose of flavoring cocktails. To make a tincture, add your flavoring agent to a jar, fill with grain alcohol, seal airtight, and let it sit for at least one week, shaking occasionally.
Toddies: A Toddy is a spirit-based drink made with spices, a little sweetener, a slice of citrus fruit (or juice), and is served hot. The name is thought to have derived from the word ‘tarrie’–a drink made in the East Indies from fermented palm tree sap, or alternatively from ‘Tod’s Well,’ which was an important source of water in Edinburgh at the time of the drink’s creation. By the 18th century, the Toddy had become a popular remedy for the harsh Scottish winters, and its use soon spread throughout Northern Europe and the Americas. While some say that only malt whiskey should be used, other spirits and liqueurs, such as Drambuie, Cointreau, or vodka are also common.
Zooms: Particularly popular in the 1930s, Zooms consist of a spirit, honey, and whipping cream, and once shaken are strained into a cocktail glass.