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COCKTAILS from the 60's???

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Would love ideas to go along with all the input on the 60's Potluck thread.....
(can you tell I was not of cooking or drinking age in the 60's.....lol)

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  1. Dry martinis, probably of the 4:1 variant. Mai tai. Old fashioned whiskey cocktail. Tom Collins. Prebyterian. You're pretty much good with anything that doesn't call for tequila or vodka.

    25 Replies
    1. re: jaykayen

      Actually - I was of drinking age then, and I did - martinis were creeping towards the swish-vermouth-around-then-discard abominations they soon became; I learned early on to ask for a WET martini. I was introduced to tequila in 1960 at my first USAF posting, a radar site in Oklahoma, and decided I liked it. Met vodka too, didn't hit it off …

      Brown liquor was most popular among the older people I knew, though the gin or vodka Collins generally appeared more often than Tom. Scotch and soda, Old Fashioneds, Manhattans, Gin Rickys and rum & Coke were what the table drank at night in the NCO and Officers' clubs, and at most bars in town as well. In Alaska, there was a practice of making the rounds of friends' houses on or around Christmas, and one became adept at driving on slippery roads while looking through a fog of Tom & Jerry or hot buttered rum. One charming gent, an airline pilot and the husband of my wife's boss, had as his signature drink the Rusty Nail (equal parts Scotch and Drambuie, on the rocks), of which he insisted on pouring me three …

      1. re: Will Owen

        I enjoy a rusty nail now and then, but would NOT want a 1:1 ratio; more like 4 or 5:1 scotch to Drambuie. Even if you like your drinks really sweet, 3:1 would be about as sweet as you'd want it.

        1. re: guilty

          I agree. I was not however mixing them that day. Had a major inner battle going between alcohol haze and sugar jag. Really glad I was driving on dry, non-slippery snow …

        2. re: Will Owen

          I'm 8.5 months pregnant and Rusty Nails are my absolute faaavorite cocktail. Thanks for the insane craving! ;). Only a few weeks to go...

          1. re: Will Owen

            Three, but how big were the glasses? Remember when a martini glass was a small glass? A highball glass was tiny then, too, comparatively speaking. A rocks glass was a little smaller than they are now. How do I know this? A friend from France was here and appalled at the size of our red wine glasses. We went antiquing together and she made a point of showing me sets of glasses from back in the day. They were probably older than the 60's, but I do remember the small martini glasses.

            1. re: sancan

              Cocktail glasses were much smaller in the 1960s than they are now. It was also fairly common to mix a pitcher of martinis to fill the glasses multiple times, thus keeping the drinks cold but with increasing dilution.

              What we now call a rocks glass was called an old fashioned glass in the 1960s. I still have a bunch of them from that period. They hold around 8 ounces. This is a nice size for a shot of whiskey over two ice cubes, which were generally larger back then. There was a larger (12-14 ounce) version called a double old fashioned glass, which was closer in size to today's rocks glasses but still smaller.

              Highball glasses ran about 8 to 10 ounces. Rickey glasses were around 6 ounces. In addition to gin rickeys, they were often used for Scotch and water or gin and tonic. The amount of ice per glass was a lot less than is used today. As the larger glasses became popular, so did dumping in a scoop of crushed ice or small cubes.

              1. re: Eldon Kreider

                "It was also fairly common to mix a pitcher of martinis to fill the glasses multiple times, thus keeping the drinks cold but with increasing dilution."
                Here's my martini pitcher, 'assembled' and 'disassembled'. I picked it up at an antique mall.

                The insert is filled with ice. The cover is for the insert. The insert sits snugly on the "seat"/ledge of the opening of the pitcher but the fit of the insert is such that when you hold down the knob of the cap and push backwards you can tilt the insert back slightly while tilting the pitcher forwards. You then pour the good stuff out with maximal "final" contact with the cold insert. Of course, you can pre-chill the whole thing (with martini already in the jug) in the fridge before adding the ice to the insert and bringing the pitcher out. :-)

              2. re: sancan

                I miss the small martini glass, not too keen on 4+ oz of liquor at a go as a cocktail.

                1. re: buttertart

                  I on the other hand consider a 4 oz cocktail to be the epitome of moderation; besides, if I'm making just ONE martini (as I usually do, always if it's just for me) it's so much easier to measure the components. If I were going to have several martinis of course I'd want smaller glasses …

                  1. re: Will Owen

                    I prefer the smaller glasses because I like to have a couple and the drink is colder because consumed faster.

                    1. re: buttertart

                      I have never had a problem drinking a jumbo martini before it gets warm. ;)

                      1. re: invinotheresverde

                        Some people are just blessed with talent... :)

                        1. re: Gail

                          My liver might disagree on the "blessed" part. ;)

                          1. re: invinotheresverde

                            nothing wrong with a small, but there IS a fine line between 3 and 8

                  2. re: buttertart

                    I still have a set of 4 small martini glasses that my parents used to use when they had parties back in the late 60's. I never use them, but just seeing them in the kitchen cabinet makes me nostalgic.
                    My mother used them for her grasshoppers and daiquiris at those parties. I can't picture them with anything but green stuff in them!

                    1. re: jmcarthur8

                      I was taken out for my 18th birthday (you could drink at that age) and had 8 of those suckers over the course of a long evening. 8 of today's and I'd be in hospital.

                      1. re: buttertart

                        Yep, I have grandma's circa 1900 cocktail glasses and a few vintage ones friends have picked up at antique stores for me. If they can hold 3-4 ounces I'd be surprised.. Then again, cocktails back then didn't have juices, sodas, etc--they were pure alcohol.

                        1. re: gaffk

                          Love this tangent--just happened in on this thread (again), and I happen to be drinking a martini from a cocktail glass I got from my grandmother--unfortunately I only have the one, but I'd say it holds about 4 ounces. It's where I turn when I'd like a drink but it's still light out . . .

                          1. re: guilty

                            Funny. A grandmother's cocktail glass can be used any time of day ;)

                            1. re: guilty

                              I love your grandmother!! Feel no guilt, we're back to early darkness.

                                1. re: Gail

                                  True that. I guess in darkness I feel more comfortable drinking a large goblet of alcohol. Plus I've been known to break glasses, and I'd like to keep this one as long as possible . . .

                    2. re: Will Owen

                      Your post has me chuckling Will Owen. ;-)

                      Though I was not around in the 60's I do love a good Manhattan on a cold winter evening after coming home from a long day of work.

                      1. re: marsprincess

                        Mrs. O became enamoured of the Sidecar a couple of years ago, and that got her started on old-fashioned-style cocktails, which is to say things with more complexity than a Cosmopolitan. This is why we have such things on the liquor table as Crème de Violette and elderflower water.

                        1. re: Will Owen

                          will owen - elderflower water?? I just bought a bottle of st. germaine elderflower liquore - what is elderflower water and how do you use it?

                  3. Side Cars, Harvey Wallbangers, Roy Roys, Grasshoppers, Pink Ladies, etc.

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: Linda VH

                      I could be wrong, but I recall that Harvey Wallbangers didn't really become popular until the early 1970s. However, a Wikipedia entry pegs the cocktail as having been invented in 1952. Anyone recall the HW as being popular in the 1960s?

                      1. re: Tripeler

                        Yes, I thought they were something from the 70s, too. it has vodka, after all..

                        1. re: Tripeler

                          My ex wife was working for Smith-Corona in L.A. during 1964. I remember her telling me then about discovering a great new drink called a Harvey Wallbanger that the bartender was making at a place near her work. By about 1966 the drink had become so popular that several inexpensive knock-offs of Galliano were being sold in liquor stores for the benefit of home bartenders.

                          And I don't remember a time in L.A. that vodka drinks were not popular. In the '50s & '60s people here were drinking Greyhounds and Screwdrivers while out on Catalina Island they were drinking Buffalo Milk.

                          1. re: Sam D.

                            I was thinking the same thing, we always had vodka at home at the time (in Ontario). Tequila, no.

                        2. re: Linda VH

                          I believe the Sidecar (my favorite) originated in the 1920's and didn't have a real resurgence until a few years ago.

                        3. Whisky Sour ... not many people order them anymore

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: redfish62

                            Definitely Whiskey Sours..

                            7 and 7s and daiquiris too

                          2. In So Cal late 60s it was all about big bottles of jug wine....throughout his life, even when he could afford better, my father did not understand why anyone would pay even $10 for a bottle of wine when you could get so much more for less money!

                            1. I remember being at family parties during the '60's when all the adults would have "highballs". Since I was too young to know what a "highball" was--I'm still intrigued by just WHAT GOES INTO A HIGHBALL??? I've always wanted to make these retro concoctions, but don't know what they are. I remember my mom and my aunts drinking "Brandy Alexanders" during these parties and other relatives walking around with Wiskey Sours. My uncles all got wasted on Scotch and waters. We're Irish.

                              5 Replies
                              1. re: jarona

                                In my world of NY/Conn/Louisiana of the 196o's, highballs were usually scotch and some soda or rye whiskey and same. Rye was still the Drink Of Choice of the Brooks Brothers suits in Manhattan in the late 50's/early '60's, along with a Beefeater martini. Highballs were always served in a tall glass in my world. And Ballatine's scotch wsa popular..it was called "a ladies' scotch."

                                1. re: hazelhurst

                                  Thank you for that info on the highballs. I am actually going to make one when I go home. My 16 year old yellow lab has been put to rest this afternoon. I'm feelin' kind of low right now and a highball will suffice.

                                  1. re: jarona

                                    So sorry jarona. Yes, a cocktail (or two) is in order. Later, when you feel up to it, read Recuing Sprite by Mark Levin. You may not care for his politics, but he is to dogs what Paula Dean is to butter.

                                    1. re: Gail

                                      aw sorry jarona another book (for later) is A Big Little Life by Dean Koontz, it's a sweet memoir of his Lab.

                                      and a highball is really just the glass, you just go and put whatever in it you care to.

                                2. re: jarona

                                  Being old enough to drink legally for almost all of the 1960s, my experience is that highball was a generic term for a drink using some spirits, ice and a mixer in a tallish glass that was commonly referred to as a highball glass. The glass was smaller than a collins glass. Simply calling a drink a highball is hopelessly vague although some type of whiskey was most commonly used. Brandy was common in Wisconsin. The type of whiskey and/or brand needed to be specified unless one was in circles where a narrower choice was common. Blended whiskey was common although what it was called had regional variations for the same brand. In the Midwest the base was assumed to be bourbon while rye was assumed in the North East. Blended whiskey ranged from 40 to 80 percent neutral spirits, had much less flavor intensity than a straight bourbon or rye and usually had both corn and rye in the mash.

                                  Mixers varied from tap water to club soda to various soft drinks with ginger ale and lemon-lime sodas being popular. The Seven and Seven used Seagram's 7 Crown blended whiskey and 7 UP and is an example of a well-specified highball but one that I thought was too sweet with a blah taste.

                                3. The Zombie. A wondrous drink made with 151 proof rum that instantly transported the imbiber to either Coleridge's Xanadu, or downtown Peoria.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. Manhattans and Singapore Slings! I still love a good Singapore Sling on a hot summer day.

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: SherBel

                                      Manhattan's have made a comeback. People order them all the time.

                                      1. re: reatard

                                        I've been drinking Manhattans for years and years. 30 years or so. ;-) Two cherries, up. Stirred, not shaken. I've sent back Manhattans that have been shaken.

                                        Back in the 80's there was a piano bar in Boston I used to frequent. It used to be the hangout of lots of aspiring singers who sang to the accompaniment of the long-time pianist there, as well as of some folks from the Boston Lyric Opera. The waitress there would bring me my Manhattan within a couple of minutes or so from when I walked in without more than a smile from me at them. I once had a very merry time - with (I think) 6 of 'em in maybe an hour-half or two. Fortunately I lived within a short walking distance of the place at the time.

                                    2. I didn't come along until the 70's, but I'm pretty sure I've seen photos of my parent's drinking Tom Collins'

                                      1. Manhattans, Old Fashions, Tom and John Collins. Bourbon was the thing too with water, ginger, 7up, coke. Martinis, as mentioned. Of course beer...towards the end of the month.

                                          1. re: jaykayen

                                            I am a big fan of the Stinger. I like to order them in bars and see how it goes. I once got one strained into a martini glass. Sad...

                                            1. re: NanH

                                              Stinger on the rocks was my standard drink back then. They were tasty, and after two of them, you had creme de menthe buildup and didn't want any more. They sort of enforced their own moderation.

                                            2. re: jaykayen

                                              Our go-to late evening "nightcap". Then, to bed.

                                            3. How about slo gin fizz? I think that was around way back when.

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: conniemcd

                                                I remember drinking them in college in the mid 70s, so it's likely they were around.

                                              2. My parents' favorites are Manhattens, Tom Collins, and whiskey/seven up - they called it a high ball, but we called it a 7 & 7....

                                                5 Replies
                                                1. re: jeanmarieok

                                                  A 7&7 is Seagram's 7 and 7-Up.

                                                  A highball is pretty much liquor + mixer in a tallish glass. I think of (club) soda as being the default mixer, but I'm sure others will have differing opinions.

                                                  1. re: guilty

                                                    More Alaskan reminiscences: the local sports car club had a large contingent of members 19 and 20 years old, who were the serious part crowd. I hung with them mostly. Their drink of choice was Jim Beam and Collins mix. As I was often the only one old enough to buy booze, once or twice in the course of a gathering they would take up a collection and I'd go out and buy however much of these ingredients I could with the pile of coins and dollar bills I'd been handed. The good part was that I got a free ride, spending only my trouble and gas …

                                                    1. re: guilty

                                                      I was a teen in the late 60's and I remember the 7&7. I would not drink it now on a bet, but it was the go to drink for those of us who weren't really drinkers.

                                                      1. re: lucyis

                                                        I remember Collinses filling that same function. Of course the ones they poured at our base NCO club were pretty light; I could drink those all night long and still function as a designated driver!

                                                        1. re: lucyis

                                                          I can't even hear the name without thinking of DeNiro in Mean Streets: "Give dese gurls a seven an' seven."

                                                    2. When my parents had parties, my mother always had a Grasshopper or a Daiquiri. My father drank martinis with a twist.

                                                      1. I wasn't drinking in the 60s, but weren't tiki drinks still sort of popular? At least in the early part of the decade? Or did they peak in the 50s, and not return until the 90s?

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: guilty

                                                          Tiki drinks were popular in Tiki bars, mostly, but the Zombie and a few other rum drinks - most notably the simple rum & Coke and its cousin the Cuba Libre (the same, but with some Rose's lime juice) - were frequently ordered at bars I attended. The bar at the Alyeska ski lodge was a good place to find what was current, as it was a hangout for airline employees from all over the world. Swissair, Air France, Lufthansa, Sabena and BOAC were well represented just about any weekend.

                                                        2. Whiskey sours and scotch sours were "the" thing "back in the day".

                                                          1. boone's farm strawberry wine

                                                            3 Replies
                                                            1. re: thew

                                                              Boones Farm, almaden and straw chianti bottles

                                                              1. re: few

                                                                and mateus rose - for special occasions

                                                                1. re: thew

                                                                  yes yes ! it all comes back to me,,,,,lol

                                                            2. OK - so we went with: Whiskey sours, Harvey Wallbanger, Screwdriver, Manhattans...+.chianti in straw bottles and 6-packs of heinis

                                                              1 Reply
                                                              1. re: few

                                                                I was into Jim Beam and Squirt in those days. Now we're back to
                                                                having Manhattans and Rob Roy's for guests. James Bond got
                                                                me onto vodka martinis and never looked back.

                                                                My mom liked Fuzzy Navels. ???

                                                              2. Does anyone remember slow gin fiz?

                                                                5 Replies
                                                                1. re: maryanne06

                                                                  Try sloe gin fizz. Sloe gin uses a fruit called sloes.

                                                                  1. re: maryanne06

                                                                    It has been over 30 years since I have even seen a sloe gin fizz, back then they were very popular.

                                                                    When I was in high school in the 70's and we found an establishment that would serve us despite our youth, we would scramble to think up the names of adult cocktails ("do you know the names of any drinks?" "nope, do you?") the sloe gin fizz was one of our standards, it made us seem sophisticated.

                                                                    1. re: redfish62

                                                                      I remember being in a Howard Johnson's on Broadway when a friend ordered a sloe gin fizz. I'm thinking 1967 or 1968. Back then, you only had to be 18 to drink in New York.

                                                                    2. re: maryanne06

                                                                      And in the 80s, the sloe comfortable screw? A sloe is a type of plum, isn't it?

                                                                      1. re: gaffk

                                                                        In the same family the sloe berry is from the Blackthorn bush a smallish blueberry size fruit. Very tart and very ruby red once used as a dye for linen. Berries are used as a flavouring for gin thus sloe gin. A very english product my parents make their own as the commercial variants are too sweet.

                                                                    3. I suspect drink preferences were a regional thing. For the early '60s, my husband was stationed at Wright Patterson AFB, and I remember peach (and other flavor) daqueries being an in thing. We also had a favofrite watering hole that had black lights in the bar, so that made gin and tonic mandatory for me. It's downright etherial under black lights. In the middish to late '60s, I was living in the SF bay area, and working in a hospital and my coworkers and I had a favorite tiki bar, "The Lanai," that was a bit south of us. they had FANTASTIC "tropical" drinks, including a Gardenia Cocktail that was my personal favorite, made with rum and a "Spanish comb" formed from ice in the shape of the Hollywood Bowl that sheltered a live gardenia. Loved that drink! From there, I moved to Las Vegas, and tiki bars were a big thing there too. Trader Vic's, Aku Aku, at least two or three others I don't recall any more. Lots of rum, lots of flowers, some dry ice for the "volcanos," and very flavorful drinks made with about every kind of rum known to man! Ah, yes. The 60's!

                                                                      6 Replies
                                                                      1. re: Caroline1

                                                                        Love the G&Ts looking good under black lights...so evocative.

                                                                        1. re: buttertart

                                                                          My mom made me my first G&T when I came home from the Air Force. Middle of summer in Evansville, Indiana, and it tasted awfully good! It was after I went back up to Anchorage (where black-light bars were ubiquitous) that I discovered how swell they glowed.

                                                                          1. re: Will Owen

                                                                            How fun. I like it 1 part tonic:2 parts seltzer:1 part gin (Tanqueray, was a Plymouth drinker, like the T botanicals more). Lime. Was reintroduced to them by an English friend, converted me from Scotch.

                                                                            1. re: Will Owen

                                                                              Gin and tonic under black lights was the molecular gastronomy of the 60's! Cool rules!

                                                                              1. re: Caroline1

                                                                                It was startling the first time I saw a G&T (mine) GLOW like that. Many many years ago.

                                                                                I dunno about "strict" proportions when I make it myself. Minimal tonic (plus a splash more) might be apt. Mainly gin. :-)

                                                                                I tend to get G&Ts rather than Manhattans nowadays when at a bar or restaurant; I tip well when the bartender makes me a good stiff one with an, uh, generous pour.

                                                                          2. re: Caroline1

                                                                            Tiki bars and like drinks are making a comeback .... I was just out of diapers in the 60's....but love the umbrella drinks when we are in the caribbean.....so guess I will have to come up with a list of Tiki drinks as a theme for my next soiree

                                                                          3. Forgive my total ignorance, but what's the timeframe for the gin & tonic? Nothing more refreshing on a hot summer day.

                                                                            6 Replies
                                                                            1. re: pine time

                                                                              18th century. quinine water (tonic) was much stronger in those days - it was used to prevent malaria. the gin was added to make it drinkable.

                                                                              1. re: thew

                                                                                is quinine truly effective? I wonder if maybe it was an excuse.

                                                                                1. re: hill food

                                                                                  they certainly believed it was effective. it was much more quinined than the tonic we have today

                                                                                  1. re: hill food

                                                                                    Cinchona bark, from which natural quinine was extracted, was the first real drug that treated and prevented malaria. Of course nowadays it's a synthetic chemical. Quinine interferes with the reproduction of the malaria causing protozoa. It also reduces fevers, inflammation, and is a painkiller, similar to aspirin. (The chemical in aspirin, acetylsalicylic acid, originally was found in the bark of willow trees.) Quinine was the drug of choice for malaria right up to the 1940's. It is also used for lupus and arthritis. I use the bark to make my own tonic water, which has a reddish brown color and when made right, a great flavor.

                                                                                    1. re: JMF

                                                                                      interesting (I DO learn something everyday, retention is a different issue of course) bottoms up! and thanks

                                                                                      1. re: JMF

                                                                                        Quinine *was* also used for lupus and arthritis, but no more. New drugs based on quinine's structure are much better. Sometimes synthetic chemicals are superior. That said, I'll bet your home made tonic is fabulous. I've also heard they are returning to the real deal quinine for malaria treatment in parts of Africa. Plants - gotta love them. We eat 'em, we use them to brew teas and elixirs to heal ourselves.

                                                                                2. I'm surprised no one mentioned the whiskey sour - one of the first cocktails I ever had in a bar (underage...).
                                                                                  Another sideline to this is the "ladies' drink" - at least where and when I grew up (SW Ontario, '60's-'70s) a woman (not a teenager, that was open season - drinking age was 18 but not terribly rigorously enforced) might have a gin (sloe or regular) or vodka cocktail or mixed drink, a whiskey sour or a tropical cocktail, but beer was considered distinctly unfeminine and I know only one woman who would drink whiskey in mixed company. Beer parlors were sex segregated!
                                                                                  A bit later but check out the sex roles in this ad for my old favorite beer...

                                                                                  4 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: buttertart

                                                                                    Love the old ad, BT! (the guy at the end is kind of cute!)

                                                                                    Back in '78,'79 my coworkers and I used to order take out burgers and a cocktail from the pub down the street at lunchtime. I think I have only ever drank a Tom Collins from a styrofoam cup that had a white plastic lid, never a real glass. I loved that drink! It sure made the afternoon go by nicely.

                                                                                    1. re: jmcarthur8

                                                                                      It kills me with him on the bus, that'd never go in a commercial these days.
                                                                                      (The Tom Collins story is fun, we had a bar we used to take occasional breaks in by our office when I worked in SF in the 80s.)

                                                                                        1. re: jmcarthur8

                                                                                          That song made me nostalgc when it first came out and I was a kid!

                                                                                  2. So just who is the "Harvey",
                                                                                    who, when sufficiently liquored,
                                                                                    gave pound with his head to the wall?

                                                                                    Were it I been that Harvey
                                                                                    I'd have been deep embarrassed
                                                                                    that they caught me in act
                                                                                    of such defiance of gravity
                                                                                    and then awoke with a mixed drink name after me?

                                                                                    I submit a scenario much simpler....
                                                                                    that original Harvey was a sheet-rock hanger,
                                                                                    who occasionally tippled then tumbled
                                                                                    and banged to the wall

                                                                                    with such regularity that his buds went the bar
                                                                                    and demanded new cocktail that was named for him.

                                                                                    thereafter named "Wallbanger"