There is more to a cocktail than just a twist of an orange peel or a tiny paper umbrella. Many of the most popular cocktails in the world have a story behind them. These beloved cocktails have a social scene and they have become a part of today’s culture. Here are the origin stories of some of the most favorite summer cocktails:
The origins of Piña Colada are hotly debated. It’s origins date back to the 1800s. The oldest claim is linked to pirate Roberto Cofresí in Puerto Rican. Supposedly, he served his crew a cocktail of rum, pineapple, and coconut to boost morale. However, the most popular and widely accepted origin story of this cocktail comes from the Caribe Hilton’s Beachcomber Bar located in San Juan. It is said that in 1954, the head bartender of the hotel was asked to create a drink to satisfy the appetites of visiting Hollywood celebrities and hence, Piña Colada was made.
Unlike other summer cocktails, the origins of mojito are not in dispute. It was first crafted in Havana, Cuba. The recipe mixes soda water, lime juice, mint, sugar cane juice, and white rum. The recipe may have evolved from the practice of local South American Indians that involves using ingredients as healing frequencies and healing drink. The restaurant La Bodeguita del Medio claims to have made the new popular recipe.
The legendary cocktail Mai Tai was created in 1944 by Trader Vic and its original recipe is still used even today. The origin of the drink’s name is also well-known. According to Vic, he created the cocktail to highlight an aged Jamaican rum and served it to his couple of friends visiting from Tahiti. Upon drinking it, one of them described it as “mai tai”. It is a Tahitian slang that simply refers to the expression “awesome”.
The origins of this staple Mexican drink are in dispute. According to one story, Carlos “Danny” Herrera is its original inventor who created the drink in Tijuana in 1938 for a dancer who didn’t like the taste of tequila. Another story refers to Margarita Sames as being the investor of this drink in 1948. Two other background tales also claim the drink was inspired by different women called Margarita. The original recipe for the tequila version of margarita included a splash of soda, liqueur, orange, lime juice, and tequila. Today, the recipe is quite similar and uses salted rim.
Daiquiri has an interesting history. The summer cocktail comes from an actual cocktail recipe that dates back to 1896. Jennings Cox is the one responsible for creating it. Cox worked in Cuba as an American engineer. One day, he ran out of gin when he was hosting a cocktail party. So, he served the rum with brown sugar and limes, and it turned out to be a smash hit. Cox called the drink “Daiquiri”, naming it after a nearby port town.
The next time you order your favorite cocktail at a restaurant or bar, think about its origins. Many popular summer cocktails have a story behind them that helped birth drinking and bar culture of today.
Photos by: Chino Rocha, yesmore content, Melissa Walker, Kim van Vuuren, Alleksana, Pinterest