Cocktails of Public Interest

There’s a small subset of cocktails whose histories are a matter of public interest. These are the drinks whose histories, usually heavily-mythologized, resonate beyond the small circle of cocktail history-obsessed geeks who buy books on the topic. They are the drinks about which general-interest journalists write articles whenever a new hook surfaces. I’m trying to draw up an accurate list of them. Here’s what I’ve got so far, in rough chronological order; I’ve marked the ones in which I’ve seen the greatest public interest in bold:

Cock-Tail (original)
Manhattan
Martini
Old-Fashioned
Highball
Sazerac
Daiquiri
Negroni
French 75
Bloody Mary
Zombie
Margarita
Irish Coffee

What am I missing? What shouldn’t be here? What have I wrongly bolded or not bolded?

Edited to add:
Here’s an amended running list based on the comments:
Mint Julep
Fish House Punch
Cock-Tail (original)
Manhattan
Martini
Old-Fashioned
Highball
Sazerac
Daiquiri
Negroni
French 75
Bloody Mary
Zombie
Margarita
Mai Tai
Irish Coffee
Piña Colada
Long Island Iced Tea

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Maybe the Zombie, in part by design?
Maybe the Piña Colada?

Edit: Whoops… you already had Zombie on there!

It’s interesting that none of our contemporary drinks probably make the list, despite the huge amount of media attention on cocktails over the last twenty years.

I’m not sure any of these quite rise to the same level, but in the interest of brainstorming:

  • Hurricane
  • Mimosa
  • Rum & Coke / Cuba Libre
  • Long Island Iced Tea
  • Tequila Sunrise
  • Whiskey Sour
  • Mai Tai

Oh, and the Gin & Tonic—obviously this and the Rum & Coke both are Highballs, but I don’t think the general public has a solid grasp on what a Highball is.

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I think the main reason that contemporary drinks don’t draw this sort of interest is that it requires an element of mystery; otherwise, there’s no story. The basis of the press interest is usually “here’s something that you didn’t know.”

The first modern drinks writers (unless you count Edward Spencer Mott, aka “Nathaniel Gubbins”) didn’t appear until the 1930s, which is also when bartenders began to get named in full by newspapers (before that, with small exception, it was first names only, if any). But even then, it wasn’t until the 1970s and 1980s that you see ample coverage of the new drinks, and until the social media age that that coverage becomes universal.

That means that it has become less and less common for drinks to have any mystery attached to their origin. The combination that the listed drinks have of universal popularity and mysterious origins is a hook that even the most ignorant reporter can hang a story on.

As for the added drinks:
I agree with Martin’s Piña Colada
I agree with Evan’s Mai Tai (in fact it was in my notebook; my eye skipped over it when I was typing them in).
I don’t think the Mimosa can really drive coverage.
Hurricane, Cuba Libre and Tequila Sunrise I think are borderline.
Long Island Iced Tea definitely belongs.
Whiskey Sour has been around since the 1850s and I’ve never seen one of these articles about it; I’d say the same about the Gin & Tonic although that one might be borderline.

For now I’ll amend the list to include the Piña Colada, Mai Tai and Long Island Iced Tea.

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I think Fish House Punch is another one.

Because the Kentucky Derby gives it an annual goose in public awareness, maybe the mint julep deserves a spot.

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What about the Cosmopolitan and the Singapore Sling? I suspect they belong on the list, if not in boldface.

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