The Origins of 14 Cocktail Names

A cocktail garnished with lime
A cocktail garnished with lime
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The word cocktail is a bit of an etymological puzzle: Originally only a nickname for an animal that rears up when irritated, by the late 1700s it had become another word for a horse with a “cocked” or shortened tail. But how or why it then made the leap to alcoholic mixed drinks in the early 1800s is a mystery.

One theory claims it’s to do with the drinks making you feel energized and sprightly, like an energetic horse, while another suggests it’s because cocktails were popular at the races. Alternatively, the two meanings could be entirely unrelated—one equally plausible explanation is that cocktail might in fact be an anglicized version of the French coquetier, meaning “egg-cup,” which was perhaps once used to serve the libations.

The origins of the names of individual cocktails are often just as tricky to pin down, with rival explanations and rivaling claims of invention often competing against each other. Here are the stories—and theories—behind 14 of your favorite tipples.

1. Bellini

A bellini cocktail
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The pale orange-red color of a classic Bellini cocktail reportedly reminded its inventor—Giuseppe Cipriani, the founder of Venice’s famous Harry’s Bar—of a similar color often used in paintings by the Venetian artist Giovanni Bellini.

2. Mint Julep

A mint julep
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Although nowadays it refers almost exclusively to a cocktail of bourbon whiskey (or, more controversially, brandy) flavored with sugar and mint, the word julep was originally borrowed into English from French as far back as the 1400s to refer to a sweet-tasting or sweetened drink. Before then, it has its earliest origins in the Arabic word for rose-water, julab.

3. Mojito

A mojito with plenty of ice
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Although debate rages over the exact origin of the mojito, according to the Oxford English Dictionary it probably takes its name from mojo, the Spanish name of a Cuban sauce or marinade made with citrus fruit—a mojito is literally a "little mojo."

4. Daiquiri

A frozen daiquiri
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Staying in Cuba, a classic daiquiri cocktail—basically a mojito without the mint—is named after the village of Daiquirí on the far southeast coast of the island. Legend has it that the drink was invented by local American mining engineers around the time of the Spanish-American War when they ran out of gin and had to use the local rum instead.

5. Margarita

Homemade classic margarita
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Marjorie King, a former Broadway dancer, the singer Peggy (i.e. Margaret) Lee, and Margarita Henkel—the daughter of a former German ambassador to Mexico—are all touted as the possible namesake of the margarita cocktail. But in fact the cocktail might not be named in honor of anyone at all—margarita is the Spanish word for “daisy,” and so one theory claims the drink was simply a variation of an earlier Texan cocktail called the “tequila daisy.”

6. Manhattan

Manhattan cocktail garnished with a cherry and lemon
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Although accounts of the event are debatable, legend has it that the Manhattan cocktail was specially invented for a banquet hosted by Lady Randolf (mother of Winston) Churchill at the trendy Manhattan Club in New York in the late 1800s. The name Manhattan was already in use long before then, however, as the name of a different drink from the modern Manhattan cocktail. And at the time this supposed party took place, Lady Randolph was very pregnant with Winston, and living in England. So the real origin is probably lost to time.

7. Rob Roy

A Rob Roy on the rocks
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A Manhattan made with Scotch rather than Canadian whisky is a Rob Roy. It was originally invented at New York’s Waldorf Astoria Hotel in 1894 to celebrate the Broadway premiere of an operetta loosely based on the life of the Scottish folk hero Rob Roy.

8. Old Fashioned

An old fashioned cocktail with cherries
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When it became popular in the late 1800s to introduce liqueurs into cocktail recipes, the older, more basic recipes that omitted them—and in particular this classic mix of whiskey and bitters—became known as “old fashioned” cocktails.

9. Tom Collins

A Tom Collins with lemon wedge
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A John Collins is a mixture of London dry gin, lemon, sugar, and soda. Replace the London gin with Old Tom gin, and you have a Tom Collins. The Collins part is said to come from a 19th century headwaiter known as John Collins, who worked at Limmer's Hotel and Coffee House and is thought to be the inventor of the drink. The Tom part may also have been influenced by an 1874 hoax often perpetrated at bars.

10. Mai Tai

A Mai Tai cocktail by the pool
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Invented at a bar in California in the 1940s, maitai means “good” or “nice” in Tahitian …

11. Piña Colada

A piña colada against a purple background
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… while piña colada means “strained pineapple” in Spanish, a reference to the drink’s fruity base.

12. Sidecar

A sidecar drink
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Although the origins of the sidecar cocktail are hazy, one story claims that it was invented in Paris just after World War I by an American Army captain who could often be seen being driven around the city in a motorcycle sidecar.

13. Singapore Sling

Cold, refreshing Singapore Sling cocktail
iStock.com/bhofack2

Sling is a general name for any sweetened and flavored drink made from a spirit base. The Singapore sling was invented in the early 1900s at the famous Raffles Hotel in Singapore by an acclaimed barman named Ngiam Tong Boon.

14. Mimosa

A mimosa cocktail with garnish
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The mimosa takes its name from the mimosa plant, Acacia dealbata, which produces bright orange-yellow flowers the same color as mixed champagne and orange juice.

A version of this list first ran in 2015.

Fargo Brewing Company's New Beer Cans Feature Adoptable Shelter Dogs

Photography by Adri/iStock via Getty Images
Photography by Adri/iStock via Getty Images

There are worse ways to sell a product than by slapping cute pet pictures on the packaging. At first glance, it may seem like that was the strategy behind Fargo Brewing Company's new beer cans, which feature real dogs on the labels. But the pictures are meant to do more than move beer off the shelf. Each can showcases a real shelter dog that's up for adoption, and by sharing their photographs, the North Dakota beer company hopes to help these puppers find their forever families, WTSP reports.

Jerad Ryan, a volunteer at the nonprofit 4 Luv of Dog Rescue, got the idea while working his day job at Northern Plains Label. Part of the company's business comes from printing labels for local breweries. Instead of just sticking their own logo on the can, Ryan wondered if breweries would be open to sharing that real estate with shelter dogs in need of homes.

4 Luv of Dog Rescue has since partnered with Fargo Brewing Company to make that plan a reality. Six rescue dogs—Nyx, Bizzy, Jensen, Hobie, Moby, and Virginia—have been chosen to have their faces featured on select cans of Fargo Original Lager. Each dog is what the shelter calls a "One-der" dog, or a pup that can only be placed in homes with no other pets. This makes them more difficult to adopt, which is why 4 Luv of Dog Rescue felt they would make perfect candidates for the project.

Fargo produced 40 cases of the special beer cans, 25 of which were sold at a special launch event on November 4. The remaining cans will be available for local buyers to purchase through the end of the week, with a portion of the proceeds going to 4 Luv of Dog Rescue.

[h/t WTSP]

ALDI’s Wine Advent Calendar Will Soon Be Here for the Holidays

Aldi
Aldi

Getting candy from an Advent calendar is perfectly fine for kids, but adults may be craving something a little more sophisticated for the holidays. This wine Advent calendar from ALDI gives you a new reason to celebrate every day leading up to Christmas.

According to Delish, ALDI's Advent calendar was a huge success when it originally rolled out in U.S. locations at the end of 2018. The hit product is returning for the 2019 holiday season, and festive wine connoisseurs can pick up one starting November 6 at ALDI stores that sell alcohol.

For $70, you get a box containing 24 mini-bottles of vino that come from various countries around the world, including South Africa and Australia. And whether you prefer your wine red or white, dry or sweet, sparkling or still, there's a bottle that fits your tastes.

This wine variety pack from ALDI is just one example of the many creative Advent calendars made with grownups in mind. If you prefer to get in the holiday spirit with a can of craft beer, there's a calendar for that, too: It's available from Costco for $10 less than ALDI's wine version.

[h/t Delish]

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