You’ve probably seen lists of what song was most popular the year you were born or seen round-ups of fashion trends through the decades, but cocktails have their moments in the spotlight too! We’ve compiled a list of which drinks were the toast of the town over the last century.
The 1920s — Singapore Sling
The roaring 20s were known for both abolition and the raging underground parties that resulted from it, with the (speakeasy) drinks of choice being Singapore Sling and Negronis. A Singapore Sling accurately reflects the decadence of the age. It’s an elaborate cocktail made up of gin, club soda, Grand Marnier, cherry liqueur, herbal liqueur, pineapple, lime, and bitters.
The 1930s — Bloody Mary
Often used as hair of the dog, it makes sense that the hangover from the 1920s focused on the Bloody Mary. The well-known classic was invented in the 1920s and gained major popularity by the 1930s. The drink is a perhaps unexpected combination of tomato juice and vodka, classically paired with celery stalks that is still a mainstay of brunches today.
The 1940s — Daiquiri & Mai Tai
The 1940s leaned tropical in their preferences, with the immense rise of popularity in drinking Mai Tais and Daiquiris. Both are rum-based drinks, so this is easily attributed to Roosevelt’s Good Neighbor Policy, which opened Caribbean trade relations and made rum much easier to come by.
The 1950s — Martini & Black Russian
Ah the 1950s, when the economy was booming after WWII and Martinis and Black Russians were sipped in front of newly acquired home television sets. Black Russians were first documented in 1949 with key ingredients of vodka and coffee liqueur, perhaps a nod towards both the productivity and leisure of the decade.
The 1960s — Whiskey Sour
The classic Whiskey Sour is a drink that has its origins way before the 1960s. Some records indicate its inception as far back as 100 years prior! Regardless, the beverage has remained a steadfast classic, and really picked up steam in the 1960s. Made with whiskey, lemon juice, sugar, and a dash of egg white (if that’s your style), it’s still a solid choice today.
The 1970s — Harvey Wallbanger
The Harvey Wallbanger is a derivative of the ubiquitous screwdriver, composed of vodka and orange juice, but was coined in 1969 through a marketing campaign for Galliano, the Italian liqueur that separates it from the original recipe.
The 1980s — Piña Colada
The 1980s gave us shoulder pads, perms, and Rupert Holmes Escape (The Piña Colada Song). Made of rum, coconut milk, pineapple juice, and blended with ice, this cocktail can thank the catchy pop song for its popularity as well as Puerto Rico’s proclamation of the Piña Colada as its official drink.
The 1990s — Boozy Milkshake
The 90s elicit memories of Cap’n Crunch, Ring Pops, Fruit Roll-Ups and neon orange soda. Lots of crazy new sweets were on the rise and it wasn’t just for the kids. Boozy milkshakes began to soar in popularity – and why not? Adults can have a sweet tooth too.
The 2000s – Cosmopolitan or Red Bull Vodka (oh no!)
The 2000s have many moments that cause a slight cringe, one of which is Red Bull Vodka. Combining caffeine and alcohol might not have made for the savviest of sips, but it did let everyone keep the party going. For those not in their best forgotten party stage, the Cosmopolitan cocktail had come on the scene as a sexy drink popularized in TV shows and movies.
The 2010s – Old Fashioned
An Old Fashioned came into its name for a reason – it’s a tried and true classic. Whiskey on the rocks with orange zest, its popularity only increased from the slew of Bond movies starring Daniel Craig. And, as he says, “shaken, not stirred”.