There are loads of theories behind the naming of some of the most popular cocktails in the world. The veracity of these theories are questionable, but some of them are so interesting, they deserve to be told to the world. Here’s a list of select five.
Going by the most popular theory behind the Margarita, a small accident had a role to play in the naming of this classic cocktail. The story goes that a bartender in Mexico was making a cocktail called Daisy (a concoction of brandy, triple sec and lemon juice) but accidentally used tequila instead of brandy. How he confused tequila with brandy is a different issue, but his gaffe led to the drink becoming a huge hit. Soon enough, the drink earned the name ‘Margarita’, which is Spanish for Daisy.
Sex on the beach
If it wasn’t for one bartender in Florida, you wouldn’t be landing yourself in awkward situations with a bartender while ordering this cocktail at a bar. The enterprising guy probably didn’t know what he was doing when he mixed peach schnapps, vodka, and lime juice to make a cocktail for the sake of winning a local bartending competition during a bright Florida summer. When his experiment became an instant hit, he was forced to call his drink something. He named it ‘Sex on the beach’ as an ode to Florida because of his theory that people flock the city during the summer for two main reasons – Sex and beaches.
Gin and Tonic
When British soldiers had set base in colonial India, they had a multitude of problems to deal with. One of those many problems were trying to prevent malaria. Their initial solution was making a medicinal liquid by mixing quinine (an anti-malarial drug) with tonic, which tasted unbearable to digest. Gin, which is extracted from Juniper berries carries medicinal benefits, so when they replaced quinine with the more digestible gin, the rest became history. Don’t know if it helped them succeed in fighting malaria, but one thing is for sure, they didn’t bother being creative as far as naming it.
I’ve always wondered why this light, easy breezy cocktail made with vodka and orange juice has such a heavy-duty name. Well, turns out there is more than one story behind it. I’d like to talk about the version that I find most interesting and fun. The story goes that in the 1950s stressed out labourers in Persian oil rigs would resort to a simple concoction of vodka and orange juice to ward off their worries. It was a cocktail at heart, so they had to mix the two ingredients with something. Yep, you figured it out. They used a screwdriver.
Turns out this characteristically green cocktail was not known as what it is popularly called today. It was originally called the Adam’s Apple. It was just another 4th of July party, and a bartender by the name of Adam decided to make it a memorable one for the patrons at his bar. He wanted to make a cocktail that hadn’t been tasted before, so he decided to mix apple schnapps produced by DeKyuper (a Dutch distillery) with vodka. The drink became so popular, that it instantly earned its erstwhile name. But as the cocktail started spreading its wings, it was renamed as ‘Appletini’ to lend it a more global appeal.