Traditional Holiday Cocktails

There has been a revival of traditional cocktails in recent years. This trend has been fueled by the Madmen TV show and renewed popularity of the Sinatra Rat Pack, Humphrey Bogart and film noir, swing and lounge music, James Bond films, and other retro icons.

Social drinking has been the norm since 1920’s Prohibition when everybody drank. After World War Two, in the Fifties, social drinking at home became popular as a form of entertainment. Men and women would often have a drink after work to unwind. To encourage women’s drinking, bartenders invented fruity and sweet cocktails such as the Grasshopper, Pink Squirrel, White Russian, and Sloe Gin Fizz. Sunday brunches also grew in popularity where Mimosas and Bloody Marys would be served. Of course beer, ale, wine, and champagne have always been popular in America.

Rum and whisky were popular in the 1940s and early 1950s since it was hard to obtain gin and vodka during war rationing. Gin and vodka soon became very popular in the Fifties. Tiki restaurants were another popular trend in the 1940s to 1960s. Based on so-called Hawaiian culture, Tiki restaurants expanded across America. Tiki tropical cocktails were popular, such as the Mai Tai, Blue Hawaiian, Singapore Sling, and Rum Runner.


MANHATTAN | Whisky Sir Edward's

A well known fashionable drink which is rich with strong flavors. Manhattans originated in 1870s in New York. Popular with the Sinatra Rat Pack and appeared on the Mad MeTV show.


2 parts rye whisky or bourbon or Canadian whisky

1 part sweet red vermouth

1 dash Angostura bitters

Mix with ice, stir and strain into a chilled martini glass.

Garnish with a cocktail cherry.


Martini cocktail: shaken or stirred? - FreshMAG

The best known and widely popular cocktail that can be made with gin or vodka. Martinis originated in the 1860s. In the 1940s the vodka to vermouth ratio was 4 to 1, by the 1950s it was 6 to 1. The vodka martini was popularized in James Bond films and war a regular drink on the Mad Men TV show.


6 parts gin (or old traditional 4 parts)

1 part dry vermouth

Mix in a shaker with ice, strain into a chilled martini glass.

Garnish with lemon peel oil and olives.

A vodka martini is the same but uses vodka instead of gin.

Old Fashioned

30 Classic Cocktails Everyone Should Drink Once | Eat This Not That

An iconic cocktail that originated in the 1830s. Making a proper old fashioned is considered an art form. This is the Don Draper cocktail of choice on Mad Men.


2 parts bourbon or rye whiskey

1 sugar cube

few dashes Angostura bitters

few dashes of water

Muddle sugar, bitters, and water in an old fashioned glass. Fill with ice and whisky, stir.

Garnish with an orange slice and a cocktail cherry.


Stinger Cocktail - Kitchen Geekery

A ‘society’ cocktail of the upper classes in New York in the 1890s. Billionaire Vanderbilt popularized the drink. The stinger has appeared in many novels and movies.


3 parts cognac or brandy

1 part white crème de menthe

Mix with ice, strain into a chilled martini glass.

Garnish with mint leaves.




Very popular in the 1940s when it was hard to obtain vodka and gin due to rationing. The drink originated in Cuba and was a favorite of Ernest Hemingway who lived in Cuba.


2 parts rum

1 part fresh lime juice

2 teaspoons sugar

Stir, dissolve sugar, add ice, shake, strain into a chilled martini glass.

Tom Collins

5 classic Tom Collins cocktail recipes - Click Americana

The Tom Collins grew in popularity in the U.S., England, France, and Germany in the 1880s


3 parts gin

2 parts lemon juice

1 part sugar syrup

4 parts soda water

Mix in a Tom Collins glass with ice.

Garnish with a lemon slice and a cocktail cherry.



Mojito Cocktail | Culinary Hill

A favorite Cuban drink of Ernest Hemingway.


2 parts rum

1 part fresh lime juice

6 mint sprigs

2 teaspoons of sugar

slash of soda water

Mix and pour into a Tom Collins glass, stir.

Garnish with sprigs of mint and a slice of lime.

Bloody Mary

Bloody Mary cocktail recipes: From classic to creative | HELLO!

Invented in the 1920s in either New York or Paris. Popular as a reputed drink for hangovers and served at Sunday brunches.


3 parts vodka

6 parts tomato juice

2 to 3 dashes of Worcestershire sauce

Add Tabasco, celery salt, black pepper, and horseradish to taste.

Stir, pour over ice into a highball glass.

Garnish with a celery stalk and a lemon wedge.

Whisky Sour

Whisky Sour inspired by I Am Legend - All Roads Lead to the Kitchen

Originates in the 1870s and was popular in North and South America.


3 parts bourbon

2 parts fresh lemon juice

1 part sugar syrup

Shake with ice, strain into an old fashioned glass.

Mint Julep

The Easiest-Ever Mint Julep Recipe | Real Simple

The signature cocktail of the Kentucky Derby since 1932. The drink originated in the 1780s and was a popular drink throughout the southern states.


3 ounces bourbon

4 mint sprigs

1 teaspoon powdered sugar

2 teaspoon water

Muddle mint, sugar, water in a highball glass, fill with cracked ice, add whiskey, stir.

Garnish with a mint sprig.


Side Car

The Sidecar Cocktail probably doesn't have anything to do with motorcycles  | Autoblog

The side car developed in London and Paris after World War One. Often served with Oysters Rockefeller.


2 parts cognac or brandy

1 part orange liquor

1 fresh lemon juice

Shake with ice, strain into a chilled martini glass.

Irish Coffee

Irish Coffee Recipe - Traditional Method | Cuisinevault

Developed in Ireland in the 1940s and popular worldwide.


2 parts Irish whisky

4 parts hot coffee

1.5 parts fresh cream

1 teaspoon brown sugar

Pour Irish coffee into a mug.

Pour cream on the top.


Pina Colada

Classic pina colada cocktail recipe | Mama Loves A Drink

A tropical cocktail that was invented in Puerto Rico in the 1950s.


1 part white rum

1 part coconut cream

3 parts fresh pineapple juice

Blend all ingredients with ice, pour into a hurricane glass.

Garnish with a pineapple slice and cocktail cherry.


Margarita Cocktail | KitchenCraft

A Mexican cocktail popularized in the 1930s. Esquire published the first recipe in 1953.


10 parts tequila

4 parts orange liquor

3 parts fresh lime juice

Shake all ingredients with ice, strain into a chilled margarita glass.

Garnish with salt on the glass rim


Bruce J. Wood
Bruce J. Wood
Bruce J. Wood, founder of AOIDE Bruce J. Wood has worked on Wall Street in business finance and strategy, and has written hundreds of finance business plans, strategic plans, economic feasibility studies, and economic impact studies. Bruce has lectured on creativity and strategic thinking, as well as worked on the development of numerous publishing, film, television, and performing arts projects, along with downtown revitalizations, using the arts as an economic catalyst. As an aficionado of music, art, and dance, Bruce is also a writer and an outdoor enthusiast. He has written poetry, blogs, articles, and many creative project concepts. He lives in the Metro Detroit area and enjoys writing poetry, backpacking, and ballroom dancing.

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