7 Iconic American Cocktails for the Fourth of July
These American-born cocktails are historic and delicious.
This Fourth of July, don’t just toast the birth of the nation with any old cocktail. Do it with an iconic American invention. Here, seven delicious drinks that are American to the core, from a classic Sazerac to a "Fish House Punch" from the 18th century.
The stiff mix of rye whiskey or, as it was originally made, Cognac, Peychaud’s bitters, sugar and absinthe is the official cocktail of New Orleans. It was first created at the Sazerac Coffee House in the mid 1800s.
The history of the Mint Julep is murky, but what we do know is that it originated in the South sometime in the 1700s and gained massive popularity in 1938 when it first became the signature drink of the Kentucky Derby. Fun fact: Juleps used to be drunk as breakfast beverages because they were believed to protect farmers against malaria.
Though pisco originates in Peru, Pisco Punch was first made at a bar called Bank Exchange in San Francisco near the end of the 19th century. Among the punches fans were Mark Twain, Rudyard Kipling and The New Yorker founder Harold Ross who described it as, “like lemonade but had a kick like vodka, or worse.”
Known as the fist true cocktail, the Old-Fashioned has gone through many incarnations since it first emerged in the early 1800s, from extra-fruity to kicked up with liqueurs. But the basic mix of whiskey, Angostura bitters, sugar and a few dashes of water has outlasted all of the trends.
It’s rumored that the Manhattan was first stirred up at the Manhattan Club in New York City in 1874. Legend has it, the drink was designed for a party thrown there by Jennie Jerome (Winston Churchill’s mother).
Fish House Punch
The earliest record of the fruity punch appears in a 1744 note from the secretary of an embassy of Virginia Commissioners in reference to his visit to a Philadelphia fishing club known commonly as the Fish House. In it, the secretary says he was served a “bowl of fine lemon punch big enough to have swimmed half a dozen of young geese.”
Born in 1883 during a particularly hot and sticky Washington D.C. summer, the Gin Rickey is credited to a lobbyist named Joe Rickey. The first Rickey was purportedly made with whiskey, lime juice and seltzer, but since then the gin version has eclipsed its originator.