Tales Behind the Cocktails
20 best variations on the Last Word cocktail image

20 best variations on the Last Word cocktail

Both the Last Word's name and the simplicity of its traditionally equal parts recipe lend themselves to adaptation. It is also very much a bartenders'

Alexander cocktails image

Alexander cocktails

The original Alexander cocktail consisted of equal parts gin, crème de cacao liqueur and cream. Over time, other spirits were substituted for the gin

Aviation Cocktail image

Aviation Cocktail

The Aviation is a classic gin-based cocktail that is shaken and served straight-up. It is basically a Gin Sour but with lemon juice sourness balanced by

Blazer cocktails image

Blazer cocktails

This spectacular serve involves setting a spirit (usually whiskey or brandy) alight and then pouring the flaming liquid between two silver-plated tankards

Blood and Sand cocktail image

Blood and Sand cocktail

Probably the best-known Scotch whisky-based cocktail, the Blood & Sand is traditionally made with equal parts blended Scotch whisky, cherry brandy, sweet

Bloody Mary cocktails - how to make & history image

Bloody Mary cocktails - how to make & history

Bloody Mary recipes are as personal as those for Martinis. Purists will only use pepper sauce, Worcestershire sauce, salt and lemon to spice up tomato

Bobby Burns image

Bobby Burns

Although perhaps not originally named after Robert Burns (1759-1796), the poet, balladeer and Scotland's favourite son, the Bobby Burns is drunk to honour

Bramble cocktail - its inception told by its creator image

Bramble cocktail - its inception told by its creator

Found on many bar menus around the world, this contemporary classic cocktail was created in the mid-80s by Dick Bradsell at Fred's Club in Soho, London,

A brief history of cocktails image

A brief history of cocktails

From early China to laser cocktails via the saloons of the Wild West, mixed drinks have a surprisingly long history. Here's our take on it all.

Bronx cocktail image

Bronx cocktail

One of the classic cocktails named after New York's five boroughs, probably more directly after the then newly opened Bronx Zoo. There are numerous variations

Brooklyn Cocktail image

Brooklyn Cocktail

Named after the New York borough, the Brooklyn Cocktail was inspired by the already established and popular Manhattan and Bronx cocktails of its neighbouring

Buck's Fizz & Mimosa Cocktails – history & recipes image

Buck's Fizz & Mimosa Cocktails – history & recipes

The Buck's Fizz and Mimosa are very similar cocktails, the Buck's Fizz is made with two-parts champagne to one-part orange juice, while the Mimosa is made

Caipirinhas – styles, flavours & how to make image

Caipirinhas – styles, flavours & how to make

Pronounced 'Kai-Pur-Een-Ya', this traditional Brazilian cocktail is made by muddling limes with sugar and then adding cachaça and ice. It's a simple rustic

Classic Champagne Cocktail recipes & history image

Classic Champagne Cocktail recipes & history

One of the oldest cocktails, dating back to at least the mid-1800s, the Champagne Cocktail consists of a sugar cube douched in aromatic bitters dropped

Cobblers image


Cobblers are shaken drinks served with straws in a goblet or Collins glass filled with crushed ice and decorated with fruit and a sprig or two of mint

Cocktail categories/families image

Cocktail categories/families

The world of cocktails comprises numerous different cocktail families, each family having its own surname, distinctive traits, genetics and history. Some

Collins Cocktails image

Collins Cocktails

A Collins is basically a sour cocktail made using a base spirit (usually gin), lemon juice, sugar and carbonated water, served long over ice in the glass

Corpse Reviver cocktails - recipes & history image

Corpse Reviver cocktails - recipes & history

As the name alludes, The Corpse Reviver is one of a category of 'pick-me-up' cocktails that were 'prescribed' by bar keeps of old to revive those souls

Crusta cocktails image

Crusta cocktails

Crustas are drinks containing spirit, lemon juice, sugar and aromatic bitters. They are always served in stemmed glasses with a sugar crust rim and an

Daiquiri history & story of its creation image

Daiquiri history & story of its creation

The Daiquiri cocktail is closely related to the Canchanchara, a 19th-century Cuban blend of aquardiente de caña, lime, honey and water, but the creation

Espresso Martini (aka Vodka Espresso) image

Espresso Martini (aka Vodka Espresso)

Likened to a Vodka & Red Bull for the discerning, the caffeine-loaded Espresso Martini consists of generous shots of vodka and espresso with coffee liqueur.

French 75 cocktail history image

French 75 cocktail history

The French 75 cocktail celebrates the firepower of the WWI French 75-millimetre field gun. In recent decades, this has become a potent gin-based champagne

French Martini image

French Martini

Raspberry and pineapple laced with vodka-easy drinking and very fruity.

The Godfather cocktail and its siblings image

The Godfather cocktail and its siblings

Traditionally equal parts Scotch blended whisky and amaretto, the Godfather is one of the enduring classics to emerge from the 1970s. It's basically an

Highballs image


The term highball appears to have emerged during the 1890s with the first known written mention appearing in a play, My Friend From India by Ha Du Souchet

History of the Margarita cocktail image

History of the Margarita cocktail

Part of the 'sour' cocktail family, the Margarita traditionally consists of three ingredients; tequila, triple sec orange liqueur and lime juice, often

James Bond's Martini & Duke's Hotel image

James Bond's Martini & Duke's Hotel

A Vesper Martini comprises three shots London dry gin, one shot vodka and half a shot dry French wine aperitif. It's James Bond's drink of choice and,

Julep cocktails image

Julep cocktails

Juleps are tall drinks served over crushed ice and based on a spirit, liqueur, wine or fortified wine. They are most often served with fresh mint in julep

Kir and Kir Royale cocktail image

Kir and Kir Royale cocktail

Sometimes called the 'Kir Cocktail' but more properly termed 'Kir aperitif' or simply Kir, this drink consists of just two ingredients, crème de cassis

Mai Tai cocktail & its history image

Mai Tai cocktail & its history

A Mai Tai is basically a Daiquiri based on aged rum with orange curaçao liqueur and orgeat syrup contributing to its flavour and sweetness. The Mai Tai

Martini Cocktail And Its Evolution image

Martini Cocktail And Its Evolution

In its simplest and truest form, a Martini is a mix of gin and vermouth, perhaps with a dash or two of bitters, and garnished with an olive or a twist.

Negroni Cocktail image

Negroni Cocktail

One of, if not the simplest of classic cocktails has formed the base for so many contemporary variations.

Origins of the word cocktail image

Origins of the word cocktail

The Oxford English Dictionary affirms the original use of 'cocktail' was to describe a horse with a tail like a cock's - that is to say, a docked tail,

Pink Gin cocktail image

Pink Gin cocktail

The Pink Gin cocktail is so named due to Angostura Aromatic Bitters giving the main ingredient, gin, a pink tinge. Originally gin at room temperature was

Pisco Punch image

Pisco Punch

Described by Rudyard Kipling as being Compounded of the shavings of cherub's wings, the Pisco Punch was created in or en route to San Francisco. The cocktail

Pisco Sour image

Pisco Sour

The national drink of both Peru and Chile and both countries lay claim to the origins of the Pisco Sour and indeed the spirit it is made from – something

Piña Colada history image

Piña Colada history

The name 'Piña Colada' directly translates from Spanish as 'strained pineapple', a reference to the freshly pressed and strained pineapple juice that

Punch & Punches image

Punch & Punches

Punch is widely considered to be the earliest cocktail – the drink all other cocktails emanate from. A great punch is a fine balance between spirit,

Ramos Gin Fizz cocktail image

Ramos Gin Fizz cocktail

The Ramos Gin Fizz was created in 1888 by Henry Charles Ramos at the Imperial Cabinet Saloon on the corner of Gravier and Carondelet Streets in New Orleans

Sazerac Cocktail image

Sazerac Cocktail

Traditionally based on cognac or rye whiskey, as David A. Embury says of the Sazerac in his seminal 1948 Fine Art of Mixing Drinks, essentially it is merely

Sidecar Cocktail image

Sidecar Cocktail

The Sidecar is a classic cocktail made with cognac, triple sec orange liqueur and lemon juice. Made to be on the slightly sour side of balanced, it is

Singapore Sling image

Singapore Sling

Convention has it that the Singapore Sling was created sometime between 1899 and 1915 by Chinese-born Ngiam Tong Boon at the Long Bar in Raffles Hotel,

Slow Screw family of cocktails image

Slow Screw family of cocktails

Back in the 1970s and 80s sexual innuendo named cocktails were at their height of popularity. Today, in the teenies, at a time when the cocktail world

Sour cocktails image

Sour cocktails

While the Brandy Sour may once have dominated the Sour family of cocktails, it is the Whiskey Sour that thrived during the Prohibition-era and proved the

Spritz image


The Spritz is a drink from northern Italy, particularly Venice and the Veneto region where it is pronounced 'Spriss' (from the German verb Spritzen, meaning

Summer Fruit Cups & Pimm's image

Summer Fruit Cups & Pimm's

Fruit cups, quintessentially English summertime thirst-quenching drinks, were invented by the Victorians and were originally a mixture of fruit, liqueurs

Swizzles & How to swizzle a cocktail image

Swizzles & How to swizzle a cocktail

Swizzles are sour style drinks with a similar composition to a punch that, distinctively, must be churned with a swizzle stick. They are usually served

Ti’ Punch image

Ti’ Punch

Ti' Punch is the national cocktail of the French islands of Martinique and Guadeloupe where Ti is pronounced Tee and crucially is made from rhum agricole.

Turf Club Cocktails - recipes & history image

Turf Club Cocktails - recipes & history

A sibling, or at least cousin, of the Martinez and the Martini, the Turf Club is, or could be, the first cocktail to combine gin and vermouth. It makes

When's a Martini not a Martini image

When's a Martini not a Martini

Neo-Martinis, Altern'atinis and Millennium Martinis are all terms that emerged in the 1990s as the cocktail renaissance started to take hold and any cocktail

Whisky Mac Cocktail image

Whisky Mac Cocktail

When I became a teenage pub goer in the early 1980s the Whisky Mac was my drink of choice – at least it was after I’d had my fill of ale – Courage

White Russian Cocktail image

White Russian Cocktail

One of the best-known cocktails of the modern era the White Russian presents vodka and coffee liqueur served on the rocks, sipped through a silky layer

Welcome to Difford's Guide

All editorial and photography on this website is copyright protected

© Odd Firm of Sin 2024