Did you ever order a cocktail just because its name made you smile or because your favourite character in a book or a movie was drinking it? You are not alone! Many of us try new cocktails just because we are intrigued by their quirky names. From its birth in the 1800s, the history of cocktails reflected, sometimes amusingly, what was going on in society. To think of the most recent example, the successive lockdowns imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 gave birth to the Quarantini phenomenon. By and large, a Quarantini is any drink that you prepare and drink at home, with whatever you find in the cupboard, while social distancing. While the lockdowns had turned many of us into aficionados of the Quarantini, we choose to look forward to the end of the pandemic by suggesting a few cocktails with quirky names that you can make yourself or get a mobile bar hire and have a professional bartender prepare them for you.
Sources of inspiration for quirkily-named cocktails
Sex, politics, and pop culture are among the major sources of inspiration for naming cocktails, at least for the bizarre and amusing names. Some of the cocktails that have cheeky names have become mainstream. The Sex on the Beach, the Hanky-Panky, and the Porn Star Martini are among the best examples that fueled many stag and hen parties. When it comes to politics, cocktail names can evoke freedom movements (the Cuba Libre), refer to famous speeches (the Nasty Woman invented in 2016 following Donald Trump’s reference to Hilary Clinton), or bear the name of famous leaders (the Napoleon). Similarly, films, books, and music have made many cocktails famous. Well-known examples include the Vesper Martini (featured in Ian Fleming’s Casino Royale), the White Russian (Jeffrey Lebowski’s drink of choice in The Big Lebowski), or the Cosmopolitan (forever linked to Sarah Jessica Parker’s character in Sex and the City). Here are three recipes for each category that are easy to make, fun, and delicious.
The Hanky Panky
The appropriately named Hanky Panky cocktail was invented in London, at The Savoy, in the early 1900s. To make a Hanky Panky cocktail you need 45 ml sweet vermouth, 45 ml dry gin, and dashes of the Italian bitter Fernet-Branca. Pour the ingredients into a cocktail glass, stir gently, and garnish with an orange peel.
The Cuba Libre
The Cuba Libre (“Free Cuba”) was created in Cuba in the early 1900s, in the context of the country’s struggle for independence from Spain. To make a classic Cuba Libre, you need 50 ml rum, 100 ml Coca-Cola, half a lime, and ice. Pour the rum and Coca-Cola into a tall glass. Add the ice cubes and the lime and enjoy!
Carrie Bradshaw’s signature drink, the origins of the Cosmopolitan are disputed, with most sources placing its creation in the US bar culture of the 1970s. It became hugely popular in the 1990s thanks to the Sex and the City series, which also had the effect of giving it the reputation of a ‘girly drink’. For a classic Cosmopolitan, you need 45 ml vodka, 30 ml cranberry juice, 10 ml lime juice, 15 ml Cointreau, and orange peel to garnish. Blend the vodka, cranberry juice, lime juice, and Cointreau. Pour the mix into a cocktail glass and garnish with orange peel.
Either of these three cocktails that owe at least some part of their reputation to the quirkiness of their name can be easily prepared at home. However, it’s always more fun to have a drink with friends, to enjoy more fully the social side of drinking. If you are planning a private or a corporate event, consider hiring a mobile cocktail bar. Enjoy the company of your friends and the bartender’s craft.