Americans haven’t invented a lot of alcohols, nor have they invented the process of mixing drinks, but we believe that America is the place that perfected the cocktail. There are certain cocktails which have become timeless classics of cocktail culture, even if they weren’t invented in America. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can travel and try out one of these 7 Unusual Cocktails You Never Thought Existed. For now, though, we’ve got some easy American cocktail recipes here that you can make at home.
This drink wasn’t invented in America, but American expats popularized the drink. It is a mix of Campari, a bitter liqueur, with a sweet vermouth. Ideally, the Campari should be from Milan and the vermouth should be Punt e Mes from Turin or another red vermouth. Pour equal parts Campari and red vermouth over ice, add a splash of soda water, and garnish with an orange or lemon slice.
Long Island Iced Tea
What can be more American than Long Island, or a cocktail more potent than the Long Island Iced Tea? This complex drink clears the shelf of your liquor cabinet to produce something which looks like an innocuous iced tea, but looks can be deceiving! The high alcohol content really packs a punch. A good home version mixes equal parts vodka, gin, rum, tequila, and triple sec with 1 ½ parts sour mix and a splash of cola.
H.L. Mencken called the Martini “the only American invention as perfect as the sonnet.” There are several variations on the martini, each calling for slightly different parts of gin and vermouth, let’s start from the classic recipe. Two parts dry gin and one part vermouth, stirred in a mixing glass with ice cubes, and strained. The olive is actually optional!
When you think about the South, you think about the mint julep. It is made from bourbon, one of the few alcohols invented here in America. The history of the mint julep is murky and there are many variations, but the International Bartender’s Association suggests the following recipe as a standard. Take four mint leaves, a teaspoon of powdered sugar, and two teaspoons of water in a glass and mash them gently (muddle). Fill the glass with cracked ice, then pour in two ounces of bourbon. Stir until the glass is frosty and garnish with a mint sprig.
Finally we come to an unusual drink that is the cocktail of choice for the city of New Orleans. Some say that it is the oldest American cocktail. Part of the secret of this drink is the way that is made. Chill two old-fashioned glasses. Swish a small amount of absinthe in one glass, pour it out, and fill it with crushed ice. In the other glass, stir 1.5 oz of Cognac, a sugar cube, and two dashes of Peychaud’s Bitters. Pour out the ice and any remaining absinthe from the first glass, then strain the second glass into the first one. Add a lemon peel for garnish.
There are plenty of cocktails that you can create, but these five are sure to be hits at your next party. Going upscale? Try the Martini. Feeling a little crazy? Time to make the Sazerac. We’d love to hear what you think. What’s your favorite cocktail?