Food History Friday Night Fever Podcasts

Cheers! The Stories of Four Fabulous Cocktails

EPISODE 348 It’s the happiest of hours! The tales of four fabulous cocktails invented or made famous in New York City’s saloons, cocktail lounges, restaurants and hotels.

Cocktails are more than alcoholic beverages; over the decades, they’ve been status signifiers, indulgences that show off exotic ingredients or elixars displaying a bit of showmanship behind the bar. 

In this podcast, we recount the beginning days of four iconic alcoholic drinks:

The Manhattan: How an elite Gilded Age social club may have invented the cocktail for a new governor of New York;

The Bloody Mary: A Parisian delight, enjoyed by the leading lights of the Jazz Age, makes it way to one of New York’s most famous hotels;

The Martini: A drink of mysterious origin and potency becomes New York City’s most popular drink — and a curious lunchtime companion;

The Cosmopolitan: Tracing the history of a new cocktail classic from Provincetown to San Francisco — and into two of New York’s most famous 1980s hangouts


Professor Jerry Thomas, serving fire drinks to New York patrons.

From Jerry Thomas’ bartender guide (1887 edition). Read the whole guide here.


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3 replies on “Cheers! The Stories of Four Fabulous Cocktails”

Some claim that the phrase “cocktail” originated in New Orleans, where the creator of a well-known bitters by the name of Peychaud was known to serve a mixed brandy drink in a French egg cup called a ‘coquetier. ‘ Over time, fans of the beverage would westernize the pronunciation, eventually landing on ‘cocktail. ‘ from Google True or not True???? I love your podcasts, They help me plan sites to see on trips to NYC for five boros bike rides yearly

Hey guys, great podcast.
I just listened to your engaging podcast about cocktails. As a veteran bartender in NYC (I’m a native) at a number of restaurants, I’d like to share with you my version of the Cosmopolitan.
First of all, ditch the Citron. Fresh lime juice will give the drink all the citrus flavor it needs. Artificially flavored vodkas generally taste like lighter fluid anyway. A smooth tasting vodka like Grey Goose works well in this incarnation. It also jives well with the other French liqueur ingredient, St. Jermain, an Elderflower liqueur substituting for Cointreau. The St. Jermain complements the other ingredients with a subtle taste redolent of pink grapefruit. Extremely refreshing. Of course the recipe is rounded out with freshly squeezed lime and cranberry juice. Try one. You’ll like it.
As far as vodka goes, I’ll still take Stoli straight from the freezer. Old school, I guess.

Old joke: Guy walks into a bar and says to the bartender, “I’ll have a martinus.” Bartender says, “You mean a martini.” Guy says, “No, if I want two, I’ll ask for two.”

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