Celebrities and booze go together like gin and tonic, tequila and lime and—you get the point. Some famous folks have even inspired a drink named after them, for reasons ranging from the innocent to the notorious. Isn’t it every imbiber’s secret dream to sip his or her eponymous cocktail?
The origin of this sweet drink dates back to the early 20th century at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York City. Made with equal parts sloe gin, lime juice and apricot brandy, it’s named for the silent film-era star who was at the peak of his slapstick comic career at the time of creation.
During the movie star’s meltdown, a bartender at the Oak Room at Manhattan’s Plaza Hotel created a libation honoring both mental illness and Mel Gibson, who had once said that he was diagnosed with manic depression. The Mel Gibson, a bipolar cocktail, is made with vodka, gin, vermouth, club soda and a splash of onion juice. There’s no sweetness here.
A creation of the Prohibition era, the Mary Pickford—made with white rum, pineapple juice, grenadine and maraschino liqueur—is as complex as the silent movie star it was named for. As Hollywood royalty, Pickford and husband Douglas Fairbanks hobnobbed with the likes of Charlie Chaplin, who also had his own drink named for him.
The Bellini is quite possibly the most perfect bubbly cocktail. Most devotees know the cocktail was invented at Harry’s Bar in Venice, Italy by Giuseppe Cipriani. While the exact date of invention ranges from the 1930s to the 40s, the fruity cocktail was named in honor of Italian painter Giovanni Bellini, specifically for a hue in his painting that reminded Cipriani of the drink’s color.
While Arnold Palmer’s refreshing eponymous drink is equal parts iced tea and lemonade, fellow golfer John Daly’s namesake drink is a boozy, adult version of the same. The pro golfer, who used to have a pretty hefty Diet Coke and cigarette (and booze) habit, inspired the name for the drink’s variation. The addition of vodka to the Arnold Palmer was popularized by Daly himself.
As child star who began her career at age three, it’s only fitting that the most famous non-alcoholic drink is named for little Shirley Temple. Made with ginger ale, a splash of grenadine and topped with Maraschino cherries, various establishments have argued over who gets credit for its creation. Kids everywhere thank them anyhow. Adult versions of the mocktail have popped up (the Dirty Shirley anyone?) but the original remains the most famed.
The singer/dancer/actress may have done everything Fred Astaire did—in heels and backwards—but there’s no drink named for him, is there? Made with gin, ginger ale, lemon juice, fresh ginger (or syrup) and mint, bartenders have created variations for years since its invention in the Prohibition years.
Mixing your cocktail