How 3 Popular Cocktails Got Their Names

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Cocktail facts & history / email

How do cocktails get their names?

There’s always a story behind a name, but cocktails don’t have it so easy. The exact origins of our favorite cocktails can get a bit muddled, but one thing is for sure: there were many people scrambling to take credit for these deliciously classic cocktails.

Here are three fun facts about today’s most popular cocktails:

  1. Screwdriver: The name for this classic drink derived from need. In the 1950s, workers on oil rigs in the Persian Gulf would work long and dangerous hours. So, to relax and entertain themselves, they would make a drink or two. Sources say they would pour orange juice and vodka into cans while working, and the name came from the fact that they used their screwdrivers to mix this secret beverage. See recipe. 
  2. Old Fashioned: The king of classic cocktails, the old fashioned likely dates back to the early 1800s. The earliest known definition of a cocktail was an 1806 response from an editor, describing it as, “a potent concoction of spirits, bitters, water, and sugar.” This leads to the origin of the name, when drinkers in the 1890s got tired of all the fancy, modern cocktails and just wanted something simple – an old fashioned cocktail. See recipe.
  3. Mojito: The origins of this minty beverage are also clouded in mystery, but its birthplace was definitely Cuba. And, there is one thing that holds true among the various stories – the ability of the mojito to fight scurvy (which would explain the popularity among sailors). As for the name itself? One theory states the name relates to mojo, a Cuban seasoning made from lime. See recipe. 

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1 Comment

  1. I thought the history of the Screwdriver was pretty interesting. It’s always cool to see how things get their names because it’s never the reason you think it would be. Using screwdrivers to mix sounds pretty unsanitary though. I guess when you’re a rough and tough worker, you don’t care! Cool stuff. Thanks.

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