Many of the cocktails we love today were actually created 100 or even 300 years ago. While it’s often difficult to trace the origins of a drink — or verify that story that’s going around — New York has certainly given us a number of iconic cocktails over the years. Here’s the story behind four of them.

1. The Manhattan

The Manhattan

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When you think of sitting a cocktail in New York City, a Manhattan may come to mind. This drink is often considered the best-tasting cocktail ever created and most likely originated, appropriately, at the Manhattan Club of NYC sometime in the 1870’s. It goes by many names, including the King of Cocktails, and it is considered on of the six classic cocktails according to The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks by Embury. The story goes that the drink was first made for an event hosted by Winston Churchill’s mother, Lady Randolph, to honor the presidential nominee Tilden. The party was so successful that the drink became popular through the elite in the city and may people began ordering it by the name of the Manhattan Club where it was first served.

How to make it: 2 ounces of rye whiskey, 1/2 ounce of sweet vermouth, 2 to 3 dashes of Angostura bitters stirred in a mixing glass with ice then strained into a chilled glass and garnished with a cherry.

2. The Tom Collins

Tom Collins

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The Tom Collins actually has a really fun history and dates back to a large hoax that occurred in 1874 in New York City. During the hoax, people throughout the city kept hearing that a man named Tom Collins was speaking ill of them about town. While no one knew who Tom Collins was, exactly, they were all upset and set out to find him. While Tom Collins never existed, hundreds of New Yorkers spent their time trying to track down the scamp. The hoax went even further when bartenders began serving the Tom Collins cocktail to unsuspecting citizens when they stopped in looking for Mr. Collins.

3. The Cosmopolitan


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While it can’t be confirmed that New York is actually the birthplace of this iconic drink, it certainly gained much of its popularity from the hit show Sex and the City, which followed Carry Bradshaw and her friends on their misadventures in the Big Apple. Due to its popularity, many fans of the show visiting the city order the famous “Cosmo” drink, which can be easily ordered in restaurants, New York bars and even hotels in New York.

How to make it: Shake 1-1/2 ounces of vodka, 1 ounce of Cointreau orange liqueur, 1/2 ounce of fresh lime juice and 1/4 ounce of cranberry juice with ice in a shaker, then strain into a chilled glass. Garnish with a fresh orange peel.

4. The Long Island Iced Tea

Long Island Iced Tea

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The Long Island Iced Tea wasn’t actually born in New York, but it was first served in the state. It seems it first appeared in the 1930’s in Tennessee, when a man passed down his recipe for the cocktail to his son. Evidence does show the Long Island Iced Tea was first served by a bartender named Robert in Long Island, New York at an establishment known as the Oak Beach Inn.