Mixology's Lost Gems: Reviving Dead Cocktails
Image Credit: Cocktail | Image Credit: Pexels.com

In the ever-evolving landscape of mixology, it is not uncommon for certain beverages to fall by the wayside. These forgotten drinks, however, possess a rich history and a timeless appeal that should not be overlooked. From old-school juleps to simple gin fusions, these lost gems deserve to be rediscovered and appreciated once more. This article will take you on a trip down memory lane as it delves into the history of mixology and the modern renaissance of these old favorites, all while offering helpful tips on how to enjoy them to their fullest.

Mint Julep

First up, we have the mint julep. This iconic Southern cocktail has been around since the 18th century and is most commonly associated with the Kentucky Derby. The cocktail is traditionally made with bourbon or rye whisky, simple syrup, and a sprig of mint to finish. The drink is typically served in a silver or pewter cup to add to the drink’s vintage appeal. The Mint Julep's refreshing and minty flavor makes it a great alternative to summertime staples like the margarita or the mojito.

The Ward 8

Next, we have "The Ward 8 Cocktail." This classic drink can be traced back to the 19th century Boston, and is named after the city's 8th ward. The bevergae is a variation of the whisky sour, with the addition of orange juice and the substitution of simple syrup with grenadine. The cocktail employs maraschino cherries for the garnish in place of the twist of orange used in the whisky sour in order to allow for greater textural contrast and visual appeal. The beverage is best served in a coupe glass, which makes it the ideal aperitif for an elegant dinner.

The Martinez 

This potent drink is considered by many to be the precursor to the martini, inspired by the Manhattans of yore. The Martinez is more similar to a Manhattan than it is to a martini, but it is easy to see how the latter drew inspiration from this drink, with its liberal use of gin and dry vermouth. The inclusion of two different types of bitters, namely Luxardo and Angostura, enhances the botanical notes of the gin, making for a distinct and memorable experience that is sure to satisfy any palate.

The Moonwalk

Joe Gilmore of The American Bar in the legendary Savoy Hotel created this one-of-a-kind cocktail in the late 1960s in order to celebrate the first moon landing. Legend says that Gilmore mailed a flask of the drink to NASA headquarters, asking for it to be served to the astronauts on their return. The drink itself is a potent mix of Old Mariner, orange juice, rose water, and champagne, perfect for a night of stargazing.

The Adonis

This simple mix of fino sherry and sweet vermouth was a popular drink in the late 19th century and early 20th century. It is said that the drink was first mixed at the original Waldorf-Astoria hotel in New York City and named after a popular musical that was trending at the time. This cocktail is the perfect addition to any party bar, owing to its ease of preparation and fruity palate.

Gin Rickey 

This gin cocktail is probably one of the most underrated drinks that features the spirit. The drink started off as a variation on the famous bourbon rickey, which was said to have been the favorite drink of the late NYC lobbyist Joe Rickey. To make your own Gin Rickey, add ice to a highball glass and pour in your choice of gin, followed by a generous squeeze of lime. Top with carbonated water and garnish with a lime wheel to finish. The Gin Rickey is a perfect summer cocktail, owing to its accessible and refreshing flavors. 


The bijou is yet another classic gin cocktail that is often disregarded in favor of simpler alternatives. The Bijou is a complex and elegant drink that's a mix of gin, green Chartreuse, sweet vermouth, and orange bitters. It was first mixed in the late 1800s and is considered a classic "pre-Prohibition" cocktail. The beverage may be a bit harder to find on a menu, but it's a true gem for those who appreciate a more complex and nuanced flavor profile.

New York Sour

This classic variation on the whisky sour is one that is definitely worth revisiting. The drink is a simple combination of bourbon, lemon juice, and simple syrup, topped with a dash of red wine to finish. The red wine adds a layer of complexity to the drink by enhancing the perception of sweet notes that are characteristic of bourbon, making it a great alternative to traditional bourbon or rye-based sours. 

These are only a handful of the numerous overlooked cocktails that merit a second chance. The next time you're at a bar, order one of these time-honored beverages and show them the respect they truly deserve. Plus, who knows? You might just come across your next favorite cocktail in the process.