Drink 10 Classic Cocktails in the Hotels That Invented Them

Drink 10 Classic Cocktails in the Hotels That Invented Them

A buzz with a historic twist.

By Karen Gardiner

Maybe its the liberating feeling of being away from home or the timelessly elegant surroundings, but the hotel bar has provided inspiration for many things: romances, affairs, novels or, in the case of the following hotel bars, inventive cocktail creations. Here's where you can drink classic concoctions in the very places they were first made.

1. Singapore Sling: Raffles Hotel, Singapore

Paying a visit to the Raffles Hotels' Long Bar and sipping a Singapore Sling from a tall branded glass has been a classic first stop on travelers' Singapore itineraries for decades. We have Hainese bartender Ngiam Tong Boon to thank for the creation of the city-state's national drink. He invented it in 1915 while working at Long Bar, mixing gin with cherry brandy, grenadine, orange, Cointreau, Dom Benedictine, and lime juice. Sip the sweet pink-hued libation and imagine yourself in a more glamorous era when your Raffles drinking companions may have included Elizabeth Taylor, Ava Gardner, and Charlie Chaplin.

2. Bloody Mary: St. Regis, New York

While the classic day-after cocktail traces its roots back to Paris in the 1920s, the recipe for what we now know as the Bloody Mary was perfected at the St Regis' King Cole Bar. In 1934, bartender Fernand Petiot spiced up a vodka and tomato juice with salt, pepper, lemon, and Worcestershire and named it the Bloody Mary. Deemed too risqué a name for the hotel’s genteel clientele, it was temporarily rechristened the Red Snapper.

3. Martini: Knickerbocker, New York

While its origins are somewhat murky, the martini is said by some to have been invented in the Knickerbocker Hotel in 1912, which recently reopened in Times Square after a major renovation. Shaken or stirred, the best place to sip the hotel's famous creation is in its inviting rooftop bar St. Cloud.

4. Piña Colada: Hilton Caribe, San Juan

The origins of this creamy beach break staple are subject to dispute but San Juan's Hilton Caribe is adamant that its Caribar was the site of the Piña Colada's creation, in 1954 by bartender Ramón “Monchito” Marrero who continued to serve the drink at the resort until his retirement in 1989.

5. Sidecar: Hôtel Ritz Paris

A potent combination of cognac, lemon, and triple sec, served straight up, the Sidecar is thought to have originated at the Hôtel Ritz Paris in the early 1920s, but others insist it was first served at Harry's Bar in the same city. Nevertheless, there are few better places to enjoy a glass than in the timelessly elegant Bar Hemingway at the newly reopened Ritz.

6. Mimosa: Hôtel Ritz Paris

What would a brunch date be without a few glasses of orange juice-topped bubbly? Again we can thank the Ritz Paris for this one. The simple but perfect mimosa was invented at the hotel around 1925 by bartender Frank Meier. Enjoy a glass with breakfast in the Art Deco surroundings of The Ritz Bar.

7. Corpse Reviver #2: The Savoy London

Fleeing the restrictions of prohibition in the U.S., American bartender Harry Craddock settled at The Savoy's American Bar where he invented several cocktails including the Corpse Reviver #2, a hair-of-the-dog style hangover cure made with gin, absinthe, Cointreau, Lillet, and lemon juice. The American Bar is London's longest-running cocktail bar and consistently ranked one of the best in the world.

8. Vieux Carré: Hotel Monteleone, New Orleans

Named after the Big Easy's French Quarter, the Vieux Carré, made with rye whiskey, Cognac, sweet vermouth, Bénédictine, and bitters, has a potency befitting this fun-loving city. The cocktail was born in the 1930s in the (now rotating) Carousel Bar at Hotel Monteleone.

9. Rob Roy: Waldorf Astoria, New York

A heady whisky-based concoction named in honor of the premiere of an opera depicting the life of Scottish hero Rob Roy MacGregor, this cocktail was first mixed in 1894 by a bartender at New York's Waldorf Astoria. Similar to a Manhattan, but with Scotch, you can try for yourself in the clubby surroundings of Sir Harry's.

10. Black Russian: Hotel Metropole, Brussels

The Black Russian is said to have been invented in 1949, at the Hotel Metropole when bartender Gustave Tops mixed it in honor of U.S. ambassador Pearl Mesta. We're no diplomats but we're fairly certain this simple, and eye-widening, mixture of vodka and coffee liqueur would get anyone through the toughest of international negotiations.

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