Five Drinks Your Grandma May Have Tossed Back

Retro drinks have been making a comeback for a while now – they’re usually pretty stiff and likely to have a great name. Whether you’re planning a theme party or just looking for a new favorite, here’s a list of some of my favorite old-timey drinks.

THE MONKEY GLAND (I told you these had great names) –

If you were a man in 1920s who needed a little *coughcough* “help” in the bedroom, you might go visit Dr. Serge Voronoff. Obviously Dr. Voronoff couldn’t offer you a script for Viagra.  Instead (yes, this is a true story!), the good doctor would implant thin slices of a chimp’s testicles into the patient’s scrotum. So popular was this “treatment”, a drink boasting the same “vitality” was born.

(photo courtesy of

1 1/2 ounces gin

1 1/2 ounces fresh orange juice

1 teaspoon grenadine

1 teaspoon absinthe

Since Absinthe may be difficult to find, another anise-flavored liquor, such as Herbsaint, Pernod or Richard,  will do.


Named to poke fun at the 18th Amendment when, alcohol wasn’t just illegal on American soil; it was also a no-no a certain distance off the coast as well. So, if you wanted to throw a party, you got a boat and headed three miles out (the law was later changed to 12 miles and a new cocktail, 12 Mile Limit, was born).

(photo courtesy of

1 ounce white rum

1/2 ounce brandy

1/2 ounce grenadine

1/2 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice

Garnish with a lemon twist


I can’t think of too many drinks named after sporting figures – Harvey Wallbanger maybe, although that drink was around years before the 1982 Milwaukee Brewers picked up the nickname “Harvey’s Wallbanger’s”.  So why someone would chose to name a drink after an early 20th century French Olympic fencer, I have no idea. But they did, and I’m glad.

(photo courtesy of

1 ounce gin

1/2 ounce Campari

1/2 ounce Cointreau

1/2 ounce dry vermouth


A popular actress in the very beginning of Hollywood “scene”, Mary Pickford was a tiny, blonde star of silent movies. This drink has great potential of becoming my favorite summertime beverage.

(photo courtesy of

2 ounces light rum

2 ounces pineapple juice

1 teaspoon grenadine

1 teaspoon maraschino cherry juice


The Moscow Mule was invented in 1941 as a way to drum up business for vodka.  Popular perception at that time was that vodka was mainly a Russian product. If you order this and it’s not served in a copper mug, they’re doing it wrong!

(photo courtesy of me)

1/2 ounce lime juice

2 ounces vodka

4-6 ounces ginger beer

Garnish with a lime wedge

Do you have any favorite drinks from long ago? Let me know. I’m very willing to compile a list, do another tasting and report my results. 🙂

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