Whenever I ponder classic American cocktails, the Gin Rickey is always top of mind. It was the very drink that Nick Carraway served to ease the jealousy of Tom Buchanan, to mask the secretive affair between Daisy and Gatsby, and to cool his own unrequited amour for Jordan Baker in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s, The Great Gatsby. I can see the words on the page as bright as ice cubes gleaming off highball glasses, “Four Gin Rickeys that clicked full of ice…We drank in long, greedy swallows.”

There’s no doubt that certain classic cocktails call to mind simpler times. So let’s make a toast to days past when we retired to the salon or library for our after-dinner libations, and drank signature cocktails, served in iconic glassware with fresh Meyer lemons for squeezing…

1. The Gin Rickey

A hit in the roaring 1920s in New Jersey, the Gin Rickey made popular rounds at epic Great Gatsby-ish parties…they did, after all, deem him GREAT for good reason. The simple yet flavorful fizz of soda water (or sparkling water), fresh lime juice, 2 fingers of gin, and lots of ice in a highball glass is a refreshing, low-calorie guest at any soiree. Just remember, fresh lime juice with the rind is a must!

gin rickey

Source: The Kitchn


2. Pisco Punch

The Pisco Punch was considered as thrilling as the boom of San Francisco’s Gold Rush in the 1800s. But don’t take my word for it. Famous Jungle Book author, Rudyard Kipling, who likely swilled his fair share, described the drink as, “Compounded of the shavings of cherub’s wings…it tastes like lemonade but comes back with the kick of a roped steer…[and could] make a gnat fight an elephant.” The punch called Pisco certainly packs a wallop of lip-smacking lemon juice, white brandy made from sweet muscat grapes, and freshly muddled pineapple juice.

pisco punch

Source: SeriousEats.com

3. Sazerac

The Sazerac is arguably America’s oldest cocktail. The classic New Orleans cocktail provides a simple variation to the standard whiskey cocktail. The Sazerac is named in honor of the cognac, Sazerac de Forge et Fils, used as an alternative to whiskey bourbon. This drink isn’t for the weak of heart or stomach. The bold concoction of cognac, anise liqueur, a dash of Peychaud’s bitters, absinthe, simple sugar with a fancy lemon twist made the rounds in pre–Civil War New Orleans saloons and bars, during the 19th century.


Source: AllRecipes.com

4. The Jasmine

Another classic California cocktail that hearkens back to the early 1900s, the Jasmine is as exotic as the name suggests. Botanically-based and garnished, this sour martini is fit for sipping on an Indian palace patio. Take a refreshing whiff of real jasmine flowers before you sample the summertime bliss of fresh-squeezed lemon juice, flowery gin, Cointreau, and Campari shaken with ice and strained into a tall martini glass.


Source: Food Republic

5. Lynchburg Lemonade

Mention the name Jack Daniels and you know you’re dealing with something truly all-American. Well, Lynchburg Lemonade was coined in honor of the Jack Daniel’s distillery, based in Lynchburg, Tennessee during the late 1900’s by Alabama bar proprietor, Tony Mason. Served, quite rightly, in a mason-jar style glass, the drink is prepared like so—pour whiskey, Cointreau, simple syrup, fresh lemon, and fresh lime into a shaker. Shake and strain into an ice-filled mason jar and top with thirst-quenching soda.


Source: JackDaniels.com


6. Mamie Taylor

The drink named after the American Broadway star actually has Canadian roots. Mamie Taylor, vaudevillian singer and Broadway actress, inspired the drink during a sailing trip on Lake Ontario, in 1899. When Taylor requested a Claret Lemonade at the lakeside bar, she was mistakenly served a scotch and ginger ale with a twist of lemon (or lime). Low and behold the actress was pleasantly surprised and the barkeep dubbed his fortunate error the “Mamie Taylor.”


Source: FiveandSpice.com

7. The Mint Julep

We’d be dang foolish not to set off south in search of the origins of the Mint Julep. Reputedly created in 1803 by farmers who reached promptly for rum muddled with sugar and mint after a long, hard day toiling the fields. Of course, the Mint Julep gained notoriety at the 1938 Kentucky Derby, where it was served in a souvenir glass for just 75-cents. Little wonder that 80,000 drink sales were reported during the two-day event.


Source: SouthernLiving.com

8. The Martinez

The Martinez—that name sure does sound familiar. That’s because the martini takes it’s name from the tall, sophisticated cocktail. The original Martinez dates back to the late 1800s, when it was made with Old Tom gin, sweet vermouth, Angostura bitters, and sweet Maraschino liqueur. And despite the protests of James Bond, this beverage was stirred NOT shaken.


Source: Handbag.com


Anna adores cooking, drinking wine, and listening to records, but she does a lot of yoga to balance things out ;) This explains the black bean brownie disaster of 2007 (don't bring that up). She's noshed in countries like Greece, Turkey, France, Ireland, Costa Rica, and numerous other weird, yummy places that will get her waxing all poetic about her favorite recipes.

Assorted beverages and cocktails are always a great idea for parties.
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