6 Classic Cocktails and the Hotel Bars That Invented Them

Hotels bars have a timeless appeal, particularly because they have been the site of creation for many classic cocktails. Here are six iconic libations and the hotel bars that put them on the map.

1. The Bloody Mary at the St. Regis Hotel, New York City (pictured above) 

The Bloody Mary came to life as a simple vodka and tomato juice beverage, prepared by Fernand Petiot at Harry’s Bar in Paris in 1921. Petiot then moved to New York and started working at the King Cole Bar at the St. Regis where, in 1934, he perfected the cocktail by spicing it up with salt, pepper, lemon and Worcestershire Sauce. “Bloody Mary” was deemed too vulgar a name for the hotel’s elegant King Cole Bar, however, so it was rechristened the “Red Snapper.” The original recipe is still served in the King Cole Bar today.

2. The Martini at the Knickerbocker, New York City

While there is some debate over the origin of the martini, The Knickerbocker hotel, which reopens this fall, is sticking with the long-standing rumor that it was the cocktail’s birthplace. When it opens, the hotel will be rolling out a martini program with a special ‘Martini Cart’ that will prepare martinis table side in the restaurant and lounge. Ingredients and preparation, we are told, will be just as they were when head barman Martini di Arma di Taggia invented his namesake cocktail here in 1912.

The Martini at the Knickerbocker

3. The Black Russian at the Metropole, Brussels

Bartender Gustave Tops is credited with creating this vodka and coffee liquor cocktail while working at the Hotel Metropole in 1949. The story goes that Tops came up with his creation in honor of American socialite Perle Mesta, who was serving as the ambassador to Luxembourg at the time. You can still enjoy a tipple in the hotel’s lobby bar Bar Le 31.

The Black Russian at the Metropole

4. The Corpse Reviver #2 at The Savoy, London

Harry Craddock (who had also worked at The Knickerbocker) fled prohibition-era America for the American Bar at London’s Savoy. While tending bar, he wrote the bartenders’ bible, The Savoy Cocktail Book, which, still in print today, contains 750 original recipes including the Corpse Reviver #2. The note accompanying the recipe in the book warns: “Four of these taken in swift succession will unrevive the corpse again.”

The Corpse Reviver

5. The Sidecar at The Ritz, Paris

As well as claiming the origin of the Sidecar cocktail (first published in Harry MacElhone’s Harry’s ABC of Mixing Cocktails in 1922) the Paris Ritz is also home to the most expensive Sidecar in the world. At the hotel’s Bar Hemingway, you can sip on a Sidecar that is made with a rare Champagne cognac that was bottled in the mid-1800s and carries a $1,670 price tag.

The Sidecar at The Ritz

6. The Singapore Sling at Raffles, Singapore

The Singapore Sling was created by Ngiam Tong Boon at the Raffles Hotel’s Long Bar in Singapore sometime between 1910 and 1915. The bartenders at the Long Bar get so many orders for Singapore Slings, however, that what is served nowadays is a modified version of Boon’s original recipe that called for eight ingredients; and is often pre-mixed.

The Singapore Sling at Raffles

Images via Shutterstock/Aviation Gin

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