Can You Match Modern Cocktails to Their Boozy Ancestors?
A cocktail doesn’t always leap fully formed from the mind of a bartender like Athena from Zeus’ head. Recipes often take time to develop and evolve as new bartenders tweak and remix the formula. Some modern classics, which we now consider set in stone, even began as entirely different cocktails. As we excavate through cocktail history, it’s hard to believe how some of our favorite modern standards came to be.
If you consider yourself an expert on the origins of your favorite libations, flex your boozy knowledge with our cocktail ancestors quiz. Simply match the original cocktail in bold with its modern day descendent. If you answer all of them correctly, you get a degree in cocktail history (not really, but we’ll be very proud of you). Write down your answers, then check your score at the bottom.
2. Red Snapper
3. Brandy Crusta
7. Rattle Skull
1. B (Martinez = Martini)
As the Supercall recipe for the Martinez explains, the drink was invented in San Francisco in honor of a gold miner who had just struck paydirt. Distracted by all the excitement, the bartender accidentally made a Manhattan with Old Tom gin instead of whiskey. From there, it was a hop, skip and a few ingredient swaps to a Martini.
2. C (Red Snapper = Bloody Mary)
A tomato juice-based drink called the Bloody Mary did technically precede the Red Snapper, but the Bloody as we know it today is a Snapper through and through. When French barman Fernand “Pete” Petiot invented the original Bloody at Harry’s Bar in Paris, the drink was just a 50/50 mix of vodka and tomato juice. Only when Petiot left Paris to work at the King Cole Bar in New York did he add the sauces and spices that now indoctrinate many hungover brunchers into the savory cocktail club.
3. D (Brandy Crusta = Daiquiri, Sidecar and Gimlet)
We’ll admit this is a bit of a trick question. Invented in New Orleans in the mid-19th century, the Crusta is likely the earliest version of the Sour, which makes it an evolutionary leap forward of sorts for the cocktailing world. You could argue, as David Wondrich does, that the Sidecar evolved not from the Crusta but another drink (we’ll get to that in a moment), but we’re giving cred here for all it has done to pucker our palates.
4. C (Sangaree = Sangria)
The evolution of Sangaree into Sangria is pretty spotty, but there is enough information to connect the dots. Spiked with fortified wine and Batavia Arrack, Sangaree resembled punches of its time and had considerably more oomph than the modern wine-based classic. The recipe kept expanding to include both vino and fortified wine, but Prohibition narrowed the field down harshly. The version that later re-emerged at the 1964 New York World’s Fair would look pretty familiar to us under its new name, Sangria.
5. B (Daisy = Margarita)
The Daisy came around just after the Crusta, and their build is pretty similar: Liquor, citrus and sweetener. While the Daisy may have inspired some branches of the Sour family like the Sidecar (there’s the murky cocktail chronology we promised back in the third question), it definitely gave birth to the Margarita (which means ‘daisy’ in Spanish, btw). With the influx of tequila into the United States during Prohibition, it was inevitable that a bartender would swap in the agave spirit for the base of a Daisy, but he probably didn’t know the groundbreaking cocktail history he’d make in the process.
6. B (Americano = Negroni)
After the recent Negroni explosion at American bars, the Americano (simply Campari, sweet vermouth and soda) has ridden the drink’s coattails into the standard summer drinking playbook. But the two cocktails were actually born in the exact opposite way. While we can imagine nothing more refreshing than an Americano on the patio of our (dream) Italian villa, old Count Negroni himself in the early 20th century wanted a drink with a bit more zip, so he asked for an extra strong Americano. So he received the gin-punched, equal-parts classic we know and ‘gram today.
7. D (Rattle Skull = Depth Charge)
You may think things get raucous when you and your friends drop Irish Car Bombs or slam Jägerbombs at the bar, but these drinks have nothing on the colonial Boilermaker of choice. Trouncing the 1.5-ounce shot glass we consider standard now, 18th-century imbibers would drop four full ounces of rum and brandy into a beer, spritz a little lime over top for flavor, dust it with nutmeg because they fancy, and slam it back until their brain was rocking around in their skulls.