5 Most Popular Traditional Cocktails

Here is a list of the 5 most popular traditional cocktails for your enjoyment. What is a cocktail? Originally, a cocktail was a mixture of spirts, sugar, water and bitters. In simple terms, it's any drink that contains alcohol. Cocktails became popular in the 1920s during prohibition. It was said that the taste of illegally made alcohol was so bad, mixing it into cocktails was a way to disguise the bad taste. Today, modern cocktails usually contain more than one kind of alcohol, one or more mixers and additional ingredients such as ice, cream, milk and honey to name a few.  

  1. The Sazerac This popular traditional cocktail is said to be the original cocktail invented in 1830 in New Orleans. Ingredients are three ounces rye whiskey, three-fourths ounces of simple syrup, Peychaud's bitters to taste, absinthe or absinthe substitute and a lemon twist for flavor. Directions start with chilling an old-fashion glass with ice while preparing the rest of the cocktail. In a separate glass, muddle the simple syrup and Peychaud's bitters together. Add the rye whiskey and ice to the bitter mixture and stir. Discard the ice in the chilled glass and rinse it with a small amount of absinthe, swirling it around the glass and discarding the liquid. Strain the whiskey mixture into the old-fashioned glass and serve with a lemon twist.
  2. Manhattan This popular traditional cocktail is said to be invented at The Manhattan Club in New York in the 1870s. It was invented for a special event to honor the presidential candidate of the time. It was so popular it prompted people to order it by referring it to the club it originated from. Ingredients include rye whiskey, sweet vermouth and Angostura bitters. Mix five ounces rye whiskey, two ounces sweet vermouth and a dash of Angostura bitters and add a maraschino cherry as garnish.
  3. Martini Here we have one of the most famous traditional cocktails that is shrouded in mystery when it comes to its origins. Traditionally, martinis were made with gin and dry, white vermouth. However, today vodka martinis have become more popular. Gin is the main ingredient and the less dry, white vermouth used makes the cocktail more dry. Then there is the famous "shaken" or "stirred" options. If you are looking for a traditional martini, stirred is the correct option. 
  4. Mint Julep This  traditional cocktail is very popular at the Kentucky Derby and is named in the Derby Museum as Churchill Downs favorite drink. Ingredients include four to six mint leaves, half an ounce of Bourbon whiskey, one teaspoon of sugar and two teaspoons of water. Muddle mint leaves, powdered sugar, and water in a Collins glass.  Fill the glass with shaved or crushed ice and add the bourbon. Top with more ice and garnish with a mint sprig. Serve with a straw.
  5. Old Fashion This traditional cocktail is supposed to be the oldest cocktail in the world, if that is what you choose to believe. The name "Old Fashion" comes from the type of glass the cocktail is served. Ingredients include two ounces of blended whiskey, one cube of sugar, one dash of bitters, one dash of cherry, one slice of lemon and one slice of orange. Directions for this traditional cocktail is to combined sugar cube, bitters and one teaspoon of water in an old-fashioned glass. Muddle well, add blended whiskey and stir. Add a twist of lemon peel and ice cubes. Add slices of orange, lemon and top with a cherry. Serve with a swizzle stick.
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