A classic cocktail’s name is almost as important as its recipe; because without a cool, catchy name, many of the delicious recipes we’ve come to know and love would never have caught on. Here, 17 classic cocktails with the coolest names. Order one and immediately impress everyone within earshot.
The 17 Coolest Classic Cocktail Names
This oddly delicious mix of gin, crème de violette and Maraschino liqueur may not be as well known a gin cocktail as the Martini or Gin & Tonic, but it can still be found on many a cocktail menu, thanks in part to its “fly” name―and it’s seductive purple hue doesn’t hurt.
Crème de Violette
It doesn’t get much cooler than a cocktail named by Mr. James Bond, himself―even if he had no idea how to make a Martini. Named after the only woman he ever loved, Agent 007’s gin concoction can’t technically be replicated since Kina Lillet no longer exists, but you can get pretty close by swapping in some Cocchi Americano.
If you manage to become a priest, and then a soldier in WWII, and then mayor of a French city like Felix Kir, then you deserve to have a drink named after you. The Kir Royale, a simple combination of Champagne and crème de cassis, is not only a refreshing aperitif, but the cocktail equivalent of ordering a royale with cheese at a Parisian McDonald’s, which is to say, pretty cool.
Crème de Cassis
The origins of the Fog Cutter are as thick the proverbial fog in question, as both fathers of tiki, Don the Beachcomber and Trader Vic, claim ownership over the rum cocktail. Jam-packed with all things tiki―rum, fruit juices, orgeat, cocktail umbrella and all―the Fog Cutter even has its own signature mug.
Heed to the warning of this cocktail’s dangerous name: The Cobra’s Fang packs a venomous punch in the form of 151-proof rum and absinthe. The danger is only magnified by the fact that the booze is hidden under sweet fruit juices.
In an argument, everyone wants the Last Word, which may or may not have been the inspiration for the name of this lean, green, Prohibition-era machine. With its signature minty color and bright, tart flavor, this gin drink earns its definitive name.
The cold hard truth is that some classics are merely just the birth of successful marketing ploys. The Moscow Mule, the Bay Breeze and, yes, the Harvey Wallbanger, are examples of good PR, but don’t let its money-making past take away from the fact that the Wallbanger is a delicious cocktail worthy of your vote.
Ward 8 sounds like a modern day sci-fi flick, but it was actually named for the district in Boston that helped beloved politician Martin M. Lomasney clinch his political race. Either way, it’s still a sweet name.
One can only speculate how the Mind Eraser got its name; maybe it was the fact that it’s mostly straight liquor or because it’s an easy way to throw back glass after glass of vodka. However it came to be, the Mind Eraser deserves praise for not burying the lede.
In the drinking world, a “bomb” involves dropping something boozy into something else boozy. That also applies to a Depth Charge. While it can be made with whatever beer and whatever shot you want, we like ours with a shot of Ramazzotti and a hefty wheat beer. It’s a friendly but deadly version of a cocktail that sounds less like a drink and more like a weapon.
Don and Trader Vic were as skilled at naming cocktails as they were at making them. The Missionary’s Downfall is an easy-drinking pineapple cocktail—so easy drinking, it might even convince a missionary to leave his mission and set up permanent camp on the beach.
The cocktail so nice, they named it twice, the Corpse Reviver (#1) combines Cognac with Calvados―a French apple brandy. Typically overshadowed by its revived Reviver rival (say that 10 times fast), the original Corpse Reviver deserves to be revived permanently.
Death in the Afternoon doesn’t do any favors for absinthe’s sketchy reputation. Since its inception, it’s been outlawed, ridiculously depicted in TV and movies as a hallucinogenic, and blamed for past murders. This reputation, however, wasn’t enough to keep the likes of Ernest Hemingway away, for he was known to indulge on this absinthe cocktail on more than one occasion.
If you missed out on third grade Spanish, El Diablo translates to “The Devil.” The drink’s dark red complexion could have inspired its name, or perhaps it was the combination of tequila and crème de cassis, cloaked in tart lime juice and spicy ginger beer. It’s deceiving enough to lure you into a drink that’s boozier than you might’ve thought.
Crème de cassis
The Kalimotxo was originally thrown together as a poor man’s Cuba Libre before people caught on to how delicious this wine cocktail truly was. An odd-sounding combo at first, the Kalimotxo dares to show you how harmoniously red wine, Coke and a squirt of lemon can live in one glass. It also dares you to pronounce it correctly in front of a bartender. Say it with us, “cali-mocho,”
Popularized during President William McKinley’s campaign, the McKinley’s Delight is basically a Manhattan on steroids. With 100-proof bourbon, sweet vermouth, cherry liqueur and a dash of absinthe, this classic drink is one of the strongest cocktails around. Order one if you dare.
It’s hard to say if the Widow’s Kiss was conjured by New York bartender George J. Kappeler in memoriam of his late spouse, or if it was inspired by the deadly black widow spider’s poisonous bite. (The skewered cherries garnishing the drink resemble the spider’s telltale markings.) The drink hits hard with a boozy combination of apple brandy, Bénédictine, Chartreuse and bitters.