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History Behind the Drinks

Take a quick lesson on the potted history of all the fantastic cocktails you'll be making at The Cocktail Experiments.

DAIQUIRI – A potted history
A drink that is often cited as the classic Cuban cocktail, and like many enduring classic cocktails it has beauty in its simplicity of only three parts: rum, lime and sugar.

Drink folklore tells us that the cocktail was first made when an American engineer, stationed in Cuba while working for the Spanish-American Iron company, ran out of gin while making cocktails for some guests and had to resort to using a bottle of Cuban rum to make his sours. The cocktails, being well received, became a fixture, and gained the name of the village he stayed in, Daiquirí. In any case, the mixture of rum and lime and sugar was nothing new, and there are those who would argue that the cocktail had existed as a Cuban drink long before the American’s took the credit!

NEGRONI – A potted history
The Negroni is a classic Italian cocktail and it’s creator was a chap called Count Camilo Negroni, born in 1868 as the heir of an aristocratic family. This badly-behaved Italian, who after a disastrous military career had spent his youth as a cowboy adventuring through North America, eventually had to return home and this locally famous lush was regarded as something of a sensation, propping up the bar and telling wild stories of his time in the States.
His peculiar bar order of choice began a fashion, and not knowing how to order it, the drink became ‘that drink Count Negroni drinks’. A bit of a mouthful - it ended up ‘A Negroni’.

OLD FASHIONED – A potted history
Early cocktails set out to soften spirits with ice while adding a little of something sweet and balanced by something bitter - simple and yet so effective. This basic method is still the basis of the Old Fashioned, which became recognised throughout the 1800s as American Whiskey improved in quality and found its way into mixed drinks. As bartenders began experimenting and creating ‘improved cocktails’ our hero drink gained its name from cocktail purists as a nostalgic look back to those ‘Old Fashioned Whiskey Cocktails’.

ESPRESSO MARTINI – A potted history
The Espresso Martini didn’t happen overnight, it’s had a few names over the years, three of which belong to the drink’s creator Dick Bradsell. It started life in the Mid-80s as the Vodka Espresso when an unnamed model (not Kate Moss) walked in to his bar, The Soho Brasserie, and asked for a drink to ‘wake her up and f**k her up’. With a newly installed espresso machine and coffee grinds all over his ice, well he knew exactly what to make. He threw vodka, fresh espresso, Kahlua and some sugar in to the boston, gave it a quick shake then poured it out over rocks. He then added the three coffee beans to symbolize the old Italian saying ‘Alla salute, alla felicita', alla prosperita'!’ or ‘to health, wealth and happiness.’

The drink then got developed over time with changes being made to the balance, another liqueur added (Tia Maria), and changing the serve to a martini glass. It became the (almost) final Espresso Martini we all know and love today at Match EC1 in the late 90s. Dick’s final twist on the drink was at Damien Hirst’s Pharmacy but the only change was to the name The Pharmaceutical Stimulant.