You’ll definitely want to try the many cosmic-themed cocktails on special this Cocktail Week, but why not explore drinks you might want to add to your happy hour repertoire? Try one of these oft-overlooked classics to boldly sip something you might not have tried before. Who knows? You might even discover a new favorite…
Taste the drinks associated with your Sun, Moon, and Rising sign– or just pick what sounds good! I certainly won’t judge.
In 1923, a Massachusetts prohibitionist offered a $200 prize to whoever could come up with a term teetotalers could use to shame those who still drank despite the law. The prize was split between two people who submitted the same word: Scofflaw. The word was meant to deride those drinkers who scoffed at the puritanical law, but it was quickly co-opted by the drinking public as a badge of pride. By the end of 1924, Harry’s Bar in Paris had created this eponymous cocktail to taunt those in America who were drinking bootleg whiskey in blind pigs and speakeasies. Try this combination of whiskey (Canadian or rye), dry vermouth, lemon juice, grenadine and orange bitters and toast to your rebellious side, dear Aries. Your personal new year is just around the corner, and it’s time to embrace your fire.
Embrace your love of the finer things with this jewel of a cocktail. Harry Johnson– often dubbed the father of professional bartending– was inspired by precious gems when he created this stunner in the late 1800s: Gin represents diamonds, sweet vermouth represents rubies, and chartreuse represents emeralds. Though other drinks from the same time period survived Prohibition, the Bijou was all but forgotten until the 1980s when it was rediscovered and adjusted for modern palate. Order this classic and toast to your own ability to stand the test of time.
Gemini: Vieux Carre
The Vieux Carre (pronounced voh care-eh) is a 1930’s-era New Orleans classic inspired by the French Quarter (its name means “old square” in French). Developed by Walter Bergeron of the Hotel Monteleone, this slow-sipper combines rye whiskey, cognac, sweet vermouth, benedictine, both Angostura & Peychaud’s bitters, and a cherry. This American classic is herbalescent, potent and best enjoyed luxuriously with good food and good conversation. Try a Vieux Carre and savor your friendships this Cocktail Week, Gemini.
Joe Gilmore, the head bartender of the Savoy Hotel’s American Bar, created this cocktail to commemorate the Apollo 11 moon landing in 1969. This effervescent combination of grapefruit juice, orange liqueur, bubbly and just a touch of rosewater was the very first thing Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin imbibed upon returning to their home planet. The Moon is the heavenly body that rules your sign, so it’s only fitting that you should raise a glass to your own obscure or forgotten gifts this Cocktail Week.
Leo: The Seelbach
This drink (named after the Seelbach Hotel in Louisville, Kentucky) may look delicate, but don’t be deceived: This combination of bourbon, Cointreau, both Angostura & Peaychaud’s bitters, and bubbly means that this baby packs a punch. While legend had it that the Seelbach was devised when a bartender had to improvise to catch overflow champagne in the glass of a Manhattan, the bartender responsible for the tale admitted that the vintage backstory was a lie. “I was nobody,” Adam Seger recounted when he came clean. “I had no previous accolades in the bar world… And I felt the hotel needed a signature cocktail.” His story was never fact-checked by the writers hungry for a newly found classic cocktail, and the legend quickly spun out of control. This Cocktail Week, I recommend you try a Seelbach and toast to your own authentic swagger, dear Leo. Remember: You don’t need to fib to be a legend.
Virgo: New York Sour
The sour cocktail category dates back as far as the mid-1800s, but this particular variant arrived on-scene a few decades later. Originally known as the Continental Sour, this classic combines whiskey (usually rye) shaken with sugar or simple syrup and lemon juice (and sometimes an egg white, as shown), strained over ice and topped with a float of red wine. The resulting cocktail is a beautiful, well-balanced sipper sure to satisfy after tackling your to-dos. Grab this overlooked classic and toast to your own staying power this Cocktail Week, indomitable Virgo.
Libra: Harvey Wallbanger
Galliano L’Autentico is an Italian liqueur that uses a blend of around 30 Mediterranean herbs and spices including anise, juniper, lavender, yarrow, and vanilla, and is reportedly yellow in color to honor Italians who emigrated to the United States during the California Gold Rush. The Harvey Wallbanger was developed in the 1950s but really hit its stride during the 1970s. This disco-era classic is essentially a screwdriver with a float of Galliano on top. The result? A cocktail reminiscent of a creamsicle that pairs perfectly with a good beat. Get out of your head and raise a glass to lighthearted fun this Cocktail Week, dear Libra. Whether you’re doing The Hustle or catching up with friends, this unpretentious concoction is the perfect way to celebrate.
Scorpio: Singapore Sling
While the earliest reference to this cocktail is from 1897, the Singapore Sling as it’s known today was created by Ngiam Tong Boon at the Long Bar at Raffles Hotel in Singapore in the early 1900s. The original recipe was lost in the 1930s, so there’s great dispute over what ingredients actually belong in this drink. The Raffles classic is often said to be a combination of gin, lime juice, cherry brandy, Bénédictine, pineapple juice, Cointreau, grenadine, seltzer, and bitters. However, there’s a good chance that, if you order this drink at three different bars, you’ll end up with three different versions. It’s like this mystery of a cocktail was tailor-made for you, amiright? Try a Singapore Sling and toast to the lesson inherent in this conundrum of a drink: If there’s no single correct way to do something, why not do it the way that makes the most sense for you?
Ada “Coley” Coleman was head bartender at the American Bar at the Savoy Hotel in London for 23 years– one of only two women to hold that position. In an interview in 1925, Ada explained that she developed this drink because a regular customer– comedic actor, Charles Hawtrey– came into the bar one day asking for something with a bit of punch. The next time he came into the bar, Ada told him she had a new drink for him to try. Her riff on on a sweet martini includes dry gin, sweet vermouth, two dashes of Fernet-Branca (a bitter Italian digestivo), and an orange peel garnish squeezed over the top. After he drained the entire glass he exclaimed, “By Jove! That is the real hanky-panky!” Order a Hanky-Panky and raise a glass to your own ingenuity, creative Sagittarius. Don’t forget to let the people around you spark your inspiration.
I know that the name of this cocktail is a little on the nose, but bear with me, dear Capricorn. Your personal new year is just getting under way, and I imagine you’re starting to get a clearer picture of where 2020 is going, but we can all use a little motivation to set things in motion. This quiet classic– from Harry Craddock in the 1930 Savoy Cocktail Book— is a deft combination of gin, Lillet, apricot liqueur, and an absinthe rinse, and is the perfect way to reward your hard work. Put your plans in motion and raise a glass to your own self-starter nature!
Aquarius: The 20th Century
This forgotten classic is named after the 20th Century Limited express passenger train than ran between New York City and Chicago from 1902 to 1967. Each night after final dinner service, the train’s dining car would be converted into a nightclub. Try this delicious concoction of gin, Lillet Blanc and white crème de cacao and toast to your own transformation, Aquarius.
Pisces: Rusty Nail
This straightforward cocktail made its debut in 1937 at the British Industries Fair in New York, and then reappeared as part of America’s post-war cocktail culture in the 1950s and 60s. The go-to drink of the Rat Pack, this combination of blended scotch whisky and Drambuie– a scotch-based herbal honey liqueur– is refined in its simplicity. Slip into something sophisticated and raise a Rusty Nail to your strong imagination, dreamy Pisces. The world needs your knack to envision possible futures more than ever– and who says you can’t change the world over cocktails?
Ready to venture into the cosmos?
Visit any of our participating venues to sample your horoscope cocktail this weekend!
This article was written by Sara Galactica, one of the organizers of Bellingham Cocktail Week.