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Usually born from a combination ingenuity and inebriation, nearly every cocktail known to man has a back-story that’s as interesting as the drink is delectable. That Gin and Tonic you’re sipping on? Concocted by British soldiers in the early 19th century to take the edge off the impossibly bitter flavour of quinine – a chemical used to prevent malaria. A side of music history with your booze, perhaps? While the Stones were rolling through The States back in the ‘70s, Mick Jagger threw back a Tequila Sunrise and loved it so much he ordered them at every stop, eventually proclaiming their American sojourn the “Tequila Sunrise tour”. Meaning the next time you order one, you’re basically following in the footsteps of rock royalty. Time for a booze-inspired adventure? Take note of these seven infamous cocktails and where in the world you should drink them.
While the tequila-based beverage has been inebriating punters since the late ‘30s and can be traced back to a little Mexican town halfway between Tijiuana and Rosarito, the margarita gained a serious consumption boost after a Texan entrepreneur tweaked a soft serve machine in the ‘70s, creating the world’s first frozen marg dispenser. The best place to score an ice-cold marg? Where it’s needed most – as reprieve from the hot Texan sun at Dallas’ La Hacienda. As for a non-frozen option, you’ll find a mean margarita at Chicago’s Masa Azul.
Where: Duke’s Bar, London
There are several variations of the cocktail widely touted as the go-to for the sharp-dressing, sophisticated set looking to whet their whistle. But the most widely known is the vodka martini, courtesy of James Bond and his propensity for one that’s “shaken, not stirred”. You’ll find a spy-worthy version at Duke’s Bar: it’s where Ian Fleming, author of the 007 series, allegedly coined Bond’s infamous martini phrase.
3. Singapore Sling
Where: Raffles, Singapore
The best defence against humid weather? A cold, sweet, tall drink. No surprise the Sling is known as Singapore’s national drink – born in the early 20th century behind the long, mahogany bar housed within Raffles Singapore, one of the country’s oldest and most prestigious hotels.
4. Old Fashioned
Where: Waldorf Astoria, New York City
It’s said that the Old Fashioned was first brought to New York City in the 1890s and served at the infamous Waldorf Astoria hotel in Manhattan. Today, you can sit back and enjoy a quality Old Fashioned at one of the hotel’s three bars, made to the original recipe of whiskey, bitters, sugar and lemon peel. Delightful.
Where: La Bodeguita, Havana, Cuba
Originally concocted to stave of scurvy in the 16th century, the mojito is now a staple for minty, sugary good times. Acclaimed writer and infamous booze-hound Ernest Hemingway once said, “My mojito in La Bodeguita, my daiquiri in El Floridata”. Thankfully, Havana’s La Bodeguita bar is still alive and kicking, so head there on good recommendation from Hemingway.
6. Bloody Mary
Where: Chef Point, Watauga, Texas
It’s predominately used to cure what ails you – so long as that’s a tremendous hangover. A concoction that blends nearly everything in the kitchen cupboard, the savoury Bloody Mary has, over time, been upgraded to the point of it being a substitute for brunch. Case in point, Chef Point’s ‘Bloody Best Bloody Mary’, featuring a half chicken, a slider, waffle fries and much more skewered into the one-glass hangover cure. Dig in.
7. Pina Colada
Where: Barrachina, San Juan, Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico’s Barrachina claims to have invented the drink in the ‘60s (you’re welcome, Jimmy Buffet), and to this day the bar still pumps out the ultimate rum-based frozen thirst quencher around. Head there on 10 July when the entire country celebrates National Pina Colada Day for maximum effect.