Maybe it's because my parents force fed me a steady diet of Jimmy Buffet tunes growing up.
Or perhaps it has something to do with watching Cocktail as an impressionable 10-year-old (you know, back when Tom Cruise was still really cool). But I've always associated vacation with cocktails. There is just something so right about sipping a fruity spiked beverage after a sea-soaked boating adventure or a long day under the hot sun. But cocktail consumption doesn't have to be an afterthought to an otherwise sober day of vacation. Oh no. Cocktails can be the modus operandi, the launch pad into a new anthropological realm rimmed in salt and topped with a maraschino cherry. After all, history doesn't have to be dry.
Given the cocktail's natural compatibility with vacations, it should come as no surprise that quite a few hotels and popular stops for travelers boast ties to the birth of famous cocktails. Just be careful pace yourself. We want you to make it to the end of the list.
1. London: The Dry Martini. Strong and sophisticated, this classic cocktail owes much of its popularity to Harry Craddock, a bartender at The American Bar at London's Savoy Hotel. During the 1920s, Craddock mixed this no-fuss tipple for many of its patrons and, in so doing, helped establish the cocktail as one of the world's most famous drinks.
2. Singapore: The Singapore Sling. Sometime around 1910, bartender Ngiam Tong Boon came up with his sugary concoction of gin and cherry brandy that has since gotten many a hotel visitor completely sloshed. Variations on the original abound - so much so that not even the hotel itself is 100 percent sure of the exact ingredients first used by its bartender - but this destination nonetheless remains a key stop on any cocktail enthusiast's itinerary.
3. New Orleans: Hurricane, Sazerac and the Ramos Gin Fizz. It should come as no surprise that party hardy New Orleans is responsible for not one, but at least three famous cocktails. While the original bars that served both the absinthe-laced Sazerac and the tangy Ramos Gin Fizz are no more, wasted travelers the world over can still sample the Hurricane, a frosty pink killer of a rum cocktail, at the ever-popular Pat O'Brien's bar in the French Quarter.
4. Havana: Daiquiri. Much like the forbidden fruit for U.S. cocktail enthusiasts due to restrictions on traveling to and from Cuba, Havana's El Floridita bar and restaurant (a.k.a. The Cradle of the Daiquiri) is one few holding U.S. passports will get to experience. That said, anyone who has the chance should not pass up a chance to sip this famous blended beverage at the bar that was once a favorite of Hemingway's.
5. Kentucky and Washington, DC: The Mint Julep. Sampling this Southern specialty at the Kentucky Derby, which has been serving the drink for over a century, is obviously the creme de la creme of among cocktail experiences. But should you not be able to make it to this annual horse racing extravaganza, the Willard Intercontinental Washington Hotel is a runner-up with its own historic claim to this summery cocktail. Legend has it that Henry Clay first introduced the drink to Washingtonians at the hotel's Round Robin Bar.
6. Paris: Bloody Mary. Harry's New York Bar, a longtime European landmark for cocktail lovers, is widely considered to be the birthplace of this tomato-based vodka drink. Some sources also say the Sidecar and White Lady were invented here, too.
7. Venice: The Bellini. This fizzy feminine thirst-quencher that goes just as well with brunch as with pre-dinner drinks hails from Giuseppe Cipriani's Harry's Bar in Venice, Italy. Many mistakenly call this peach-flavored drink a Champagne cocktail. In fact, the classic version is made with prosecco, an Italian sparking wine. Ordering one up at this vaunted bar may cost you more than you'd find at other watering holes, but you'll be imbibing where famous folks from Orson Welles to Nicole Kidman have
8. New York: Rob Roy. So the story goes, this whiskey-based cocktail was invented in1894 by a bartender at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel on the opening night of the opera of the same name. You won't find this old school cocktail on the menu at the hotel's famous Bull and Bear Steakhouse and Bar, but you can try equally as satisfying concoctions like the The Bronx, Green Iguana and the Bull and Bear Coffee.