Cocktails Through the Ages

Cocktails Through the Ages

The origins of the term cocktail are murky. The earliest reference to it on record, according to the Telegraph, was found in a 1798 edition of The Morning Post and Gazetteer, a now-defunct London newspaper. What we do know for certain is that cocktails are delicious, and therefore worth celebrating. To do just that, we’ve put together this brief history of cocktails. Well, vodka-based ones that is, because vodka is clearly our favourite spirit (no pun intended).

1860s: Mint Julep

Lemon paired with mint. Can it get any more refreshing?

History

The Mint Julep, originally made with bourbon, was detailed in the first definitive guide to cocktails, “Bartender’s Guide: How To Mix Drinks.” The guide was published in 1862 by Jerry Thomas, who was considered the father of American mixology. This drink was also reportedly a favorite of William Faulkner’s.

This is all to say that we know the Mint Julep was one of the originals. We’ve paired ours with a bowler hat and a fob watch; very 1800s dapper indeed.

Absolut Mint Julep

Ingredients:

  • 2 oz. Absolut Vodka
  • 8 mint leaves
  • 1 teaspoon super-fine sugar
  • 2 lemon quarters

How to mix

Muddle mint leaves, sugar, and lemon quarters in a shaker. Fill with crushed ice. Add Absolut Vodka. Shake and strain into a rocks glass filled with ice cubes. Garnish with fresh mint leaves.

1870s: Tom Collins

Originally a gin-based cocktail, the Tom Collins has a mischievous past. Mix it up by substituting vodka for gin.

History

This drink was named after a practical joke. The story goes that in 1874, the townspeople of New York, Pennsylvania and elsewhere in the United States would tell an unsuspecting person that a fellow named Tom Collins was talking about them behind their backs. They would then tell the listener that Collins was right around the corner, in a local bar, or somewhere else nearby. Local newspapers at the time got in on the fun by publishing stories of false “Tom Collins sightings.”

We’ve paired ours with spectacles. All the better to search for Tom Collins with.

Absolut Tom Collins

Ingredients:

  • 1½ oz. Absolut Vodka
  • 1 oz. lemon juice
  • ¾ oz. simple syrup
  • Soda water

How to mix

Fill a shaker with ice cubes. Add Absolut Vodka, lemon juice and simple syrup. Shake and strain into a chilled highball glass filled with ice cubes. Top up with soda water. Garnish with lemon.

1920s: The Rickey

Bubbly and zesty, the Absolut Rickey is sure to liven up any night.

History

We know the 1920s was the time of Prohibition. We also know that people still went out for a drink, whether that meant traveling to Havana, or frequenting a Speakeasy. After all, there is a reason people call it “The Roaring ‘20s.” While the Rickey dates back to the 1890s and was originally made with gin, it was reportedly a crowdpleaser during the 1920s. Today, it’s possible to enjoy a Rickey legally, and with vodka instead of gin. We’ll cheers to that.

We’ve paired ours with spectacles. All the better to search for Tom Collins with.

The Absolut Rickey

Ingredients:

  • 2 oz. Absolut Vodka
  • 1 oz. lime juice
  • Soda water
  • 1 peel lime

How to mix

Fill a highball glass with ice cubes. Add Absolut Vodka and lime juice. Top up with soda water. Stir. Garnish with lime.

1940s: The Screwdriver

Simple, yet delicious: our Screwdriver is a true classic.

History

The 1940s was a classic period. It was the decade that Orson Welles came out with Citizen Kane, that Casablanca debuted, and that Frank Sinatra began his rise to meteoric fame. It was also the year that another classic made its debut on the North American stage: vodka. The spirit began to rise in popularity over the decade, bringing a host of classic cocktails into the spotlight with it, including the Screwdriver.

We’ve paired ours with spectacles. All the better to search for Tom Collins with.

The Absolut Rickey

Ingredients:

  • 2 oz. Absolut Vodka
  • 4 oz. orange juice
  • Orange slice

How to mix

Fill a highball glass with ice cubes. Add all ingredients. Garnish with a slice of orange.

1950s: Seabreeze

Cranberry, grapefruit and lime combine perfectly to make this drink suitable for gazing over gently-rolling waves and tropical sunsets.

History

In the 1950s, vodka’s popularity increased exponentially. According to Imbibe Magazine, only 40,000 cases of vodka were sold in 1950 in the United States, but by 1955, that number had increased to four million. Another thing that rose to popularity in the 1950s? Cranberry juice. Combine the two, add a dash of grapefruit juice and a wedge of lime, and you’ve got a refreshing cocktail. Grab your sunglasses, because this one is perfect for the summertime.

Absolut Seabreeze

Ingredients:

  • 2 oz. Absolut Vodka
  • 2 oz. cranberry juice
  • 2 dashes grapefruit juice
  • Lime wedges

How to mix

Fill a chilled highball glass with ice cubes. Add all ingredients. Garnish with a wedge of lime.

1960s: Vodka Martini

Thanks to Bond, James Bond, it doesn’t get classier than the Vodka Martini.

History

The martini dates back to the late 1800s, but as far as we’re concerned, it’s a 1960s drink. With three words—Shaken, not stirred—the vodka martini came to be associated with one of the suavest men on Earth, James Bond. A drink perfect for a classy night, in or out.

And while we wouldn’t dare argue with James Bond, we can’t help but point out that a cocktail purist wouldn’t shake their martini, as that would upset the spirit and dilute the drink. You should always treat a vodka martini a little delicately.

Absolut Vodka Martini

Ingredients:

  • 2 oz. Absolut Vodka
  • ½ oz. dry vermouth
  • Whole green olives

How to mix

Fill a mixing glass with ice cubes. Add all ingredients. Stir and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with green olives.

1970s: Bloody Caesar

The Caesar: Canada’s cocktail. It pairs extremely well with brunch. And who doesn’t love brunch?

History

To celebrate the opening of a new Italian eatery, restaurateur Walter Chell invented this spicy cousin to the Bloody Mary in 1969 in Calgary, Alberta. It quickly rose to popularity, and today over 350 million Caesars are consumed each year. Like many of life’s most delicious things, it pairs well with brunch.

Absolut Bloody Caesar

Ingredients:

  • 1½ oz. Absolut
  • Clamato juice
  • 2 dashes hot sauce
  • 2 dashes worcestershire sauce
  • 1 dash lemon juice

How to mix

Fill a highball glass with ice cubes. Add Absolut Peppar, hot sauce, lemon juice and worcestershire sauce. Top up with clamato. Garnish with a stick of celery, and, as pictured here, celery salt along the rim.

1980s: The Cosmopolitan

First famous in the 1980s but definitely not a one hit wonder, the Cosmopolitan is something from the ‘80s that has never gone out of style.

History

A pink drink served in a Martini glass and called The Cosmopolitan is said to have originated in San Francisco in the 1980s, but it wasn’t until 1988—the year Absolut Citron was launched—that the Cosmopolitan as it is known today was created.

It was closing time at The Odeon in New York City. Bartender Tob Cecchini wanted thank the wait staff for their hard work, late into the night. He started with Absolut Citron—the word’s first citrus-flavoured vodka—next he added dashes of lime juice and orange liqueur. Then, a splash of cranberry to give it a blush pink hue. Shaken, strained, and served with a twist, the Cosmopolitan was reborn for the modern age, and became one of the world’s most popular cocktails.

We’ve paired ours with a disco ball, shiny necklace and bangles because we’re ready to dance the night away.

Absolut Cosmopolitan

Ingredients:

  • 2 oz. Absolut Citron
  • 1 oz. lime juice
  • 1 oz. orange liqueur
  • ½ oz. cranberry juice
  • 1 twist of orange

How to mix

Fill a shaker with ice cubes. Add all ingredients. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a twist of orange.

If you liked reading about these cocktails through the ages, and are looking for more inspiration and recipes, then sign up for news and alerts from Absolut.