Think you know your cocktails? Find out a little history about our classic cocktail names and how to name your own cocktail, then take our fun quiz and see if you can spot the real cocktail names from the fake!
Where do cocktails get their names from?
Most of us are familiar with the classic cocktail names; Daiquiri, Old Fashioned, Mojito, Cosmopolitan, Sex on the Beach, Margarita, Piña Colada, Mai Tai… the list goes on.
These names are synonymous with the very word cocktail.
If you’ve ever looked into the meanings behind some of these globally known cocktail names, you might have discovered that often the name of a cocktail tells a story.
It can be related to the creation of that particular cocktail, or share a snippet of interesting history about the time and place the cocktail was first created. It can also give you a direct idea of the look and taste of a cocktail.
Take the Mimosa as one example. The name Mimosa comes from the plant Acacia dealbata which produces flowers that are bright yellow and orange; the same colour as orange juice mixed with champagne.
The Daiquiri, on the other hand, is supposedly named after a village in Cuba called Daiquirí. It’s said that American mining engineers created the Daiquiri cocktail during the Spanish-American war after running out of gin and having to substitute with rum instead.
The Cuba Libre is another fascinating cocktail name that’s actually quite political.
Did you know that Cuba Libre translates to “Free Cuba”?
It’s not clear who is responsible for creating and naming the Cuba Libre but it’s generally believed that the origin of this cocktail is Havana, Cuba, after the Spanish-American War around 1900.
Given the name, it’s suggested that the Cuba Libre celebrates the Caribbean island’s independence from Spain.
Of course, many cocktails have a less profound meaning.
Simple combinations of ingredients and style have given us cocktail names like Whiskey Sour, Gin Fizz and many others.
How to name a cocktail
When you’ve been practicing the art and science of mixology for a while, you’ll likely reach a stage of inventing your own cocktail recipes.
Now, there are obviously heaps of cocktails out there in the world, so to create something that is truly unique, tasty and a delight to drink is some feat.
There are plenty of bars, bartenders and hobbyist mixologists mixing their own cocktails every day. If you want to join this clan and be the proud parent of an original cocktail recipe, you’ll want to name your creation something great.
Where do you start when it comes to naming your own cocktail?
Here are some ideas to get you started:
From the state or city you live in to your local suburb, if you want to put where you live on the map, this is a good way to do it. Especially if there’s a cool story about your neighborhood you want the cocktail world to know.
Events and occasions
Created your cocktail for a special occasion or event? There’s no better way to celebrate than to dedicate your cocktail to it using the name.
Ingredients and brands
This one is the most obvious but including an ingredient within your cocktail name does a good marketing job. Want to appeal to gin drinkers? It makes sense to tell them right up front this is a gin cocktail.
Even more specific is to include the actual brand of alcohol you are using, especially if this brand is considered a pedigree.
Likewise, you can use a key flavour to give an instant idea of what to expect from your cocktail and appeal to the tastebuds immediately. Is your cocktail sour, sweet or bitter? Will it warm the throat or feel cool and refreshing?
If you avidly follow a particular person, band, business, or cause, make your cocktail a tribute to them by including them in the name.
Fun fact: the Negroni was supposedly named after an Italian count who liked his Americano aperitif with gin instead of soda water.
Similar to flavour but taking it one step further, if your cocktail will have a particular effect on a guest, it can be fun to include this in the name. For example ‘wake up’ ‘relax’ or ‘energise’.
Needless to say, there’s an opportunity to get extremely creative when it comes to proudly naming your new and tantalising cocktail!
Over the years, we’ve seen a lot of these creative cocktail names. Some you wouldn’t believe are genuinely the names of real cocktails.
So, let’s have a little fun today. Take the quick quiz below and see if you can guess which cocktail names are real and which are fake…
Oh, and no Googling!
Can you guess which of these 15 cocktail names are real?[qsm quiz=2]
I guess you could argue that even the ones we made up could exist somewhere in the world but we hunted the internet and couldn’t find a trace of them - so we’re gifting them to you.
Go forth and name your next cocktail Mix Me Baby One More Time!
Want some inspiration for your cocktail mixing? Check out this list of 40 fantastic drink mixology accounts to follow on Instagram.