You can make these cocktails. Start right now.

What was your first cocktail?

Kangaroo Cocktail, photo © 2011 Douglas M. Ford. All rights reserved.

Do you remember the first cocktail you made?

I’m thinking about shaken or stirred creations, the ones that make us go that step beyond highballs or Rums-and-Coke.

Mine was a martini. The “Vodka Martini,” as we called it then. I even remember why I wanted to make it.

It was sometime in the mid-80s. (Yes, I’m that old. I’m even older than that.) My Bride and I were just starting to have some success in our careers, so we celebrated one day at a particularly fine restaurant. Putting on the Ritz was something new for us. As part of “doing it up right,” we stopped for cocktails in the restaurant’s bar before dinner. My idea of spirits drinks at the time was gins-and-tonic on particularly hot afternoons. But this evening we were the elite, so martinis it had to be.

Well, it was a very good bar, and that was memorable fun. And one day the back cover of Food and Wine had this gorgeous photo of a Waterford cocktail glass— “Lismore” —in all its V-shaped crystal glory. It seemed just the right thing. Affordable luxury. We bought a pair.

Absolut vodka, a little splash of M&R dry vermouth, lots of shaking, strained into the frosted Lismores, two olives. We had made our first martinis. They tasted… delicious.

Thus, the Vodkatini became our standard evening libation. Easy to buy, easy to make. It goes to show you how small and simple a satisfying bar can be.

And that’s why I have a soft spot in my heart for the Vodka Martini. And it turns out that this drink actually has a proper name. Not “Vodka Martini,” —a name derided as an oxymoron by the “martinis-are-made-with-gin” cocktail aficionados, but rather the “Kangaroo” (or the “Kangaroo Kicker,” as Lucius Beebe referred to it in his 1946 Stork Club Bar Book.) I doubt I would have discovered this bit of lore if Imbibe hadn’t identified it as one of the 25 most influential cocktails of the past century. Imbibe credits the Kangaroo and the Moscow Mule for leading the rise of vodka in the United States, for better or for worse.

The Kangaroo Cocktail, Waterford Lismore, photo Copyright © 2011 Douglas M. Ford. All rights reserved.

The Kangaroo Cocktail

Over time I drifted toward other cocktails, and forgot about this one until recently, when my Bride began requesting it again. I learned in the process that though she enjoys this drink as a work-night refreshment, I no longer do—there isn’t enough flavor to keep me interested. I’m not ready to dismiss it out of hand, though. The Kangaroo is as legitimate a cocktail as any other. But it’s vodka-built, so its main stylistic attribute is a very light flavor, quite contrarian in an age of strongly flavored cocktails.

That light flavor is the drink’s main point of controversy and condemnation; I believe it is also its greatest selling point. The fact that I no longer enjoy the Kangaroo means nothing, except that my tastes have changed—I’m such a slave to fashion—while other’s tastes are looking for just this kind of drink. I believe the Kangaroo’s strength and importance is that it is the gateway to a larger universe of cocktails. This is the cocktail that led us to enjoyment of a much larger repertoire; it makes little sense to think that if we had started with, say, the Sazerac or the Negroni, that we would have had as fun an experience. I love those drinks now; then, I would have dumped them without a second sip.

Yes, the Kangaroo stays in the repertoire:

The Kangaroo Cocktail

  • 3 oz Vodka (Prairie, Vox)
  • 1 oz Dry Vermouth (M&R Extra Dry, Noilly Prat French Dry)
  • 1 dash orange bitters (optional)

Stir (shake if you prefer) with ice until very cold, strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with olive or lemon twist.

Such a simple drink, but there’s lots of room for improvisation.

The vermouth is important here, since it’s the biggest flavor in the drink. Find and stick to your favorite—it’s more important than the vodka in the final result. My Bride enjoys this drink at 3:1 or dryer. With the Prairie vodka she prefers the fairly dry, almost sere, M&R Extra Dry; with the Vox, she prefers the Noilly Prat French Dry, and a much smaller proportion, 6:1. That latter combination works for me, too.

The vodka should of course be your favorite. We started with Absolut, and used it for years. Recently we’ve shifted to Vox and the locally produced Prairie Organic.

In our house, this drink is more likely to be shaken than stirred—it runs counter to my normal rule,  but it’s my Bride’s drink, and she places more value on the extra coldness of the shaken version, and on the look of all the little ice shards (the “raft”) on top when it’s freshly served. (Have you ever noticed how, on a hot day, that does look really, really cold?)

And if you can, indulge in great glass. The better it looks, the better it tastes. (Alas! that one of those original Lismores hit the floor during a Millenium celebration. I still hear that dead thunk of lead crystal crushing against the oak of the kitchen floor. (And the sucking in of breath and momentary silence among the witnesses…) Well, it did its crystal duty well. And its partner still stands, a regular at cocktail hour, and gathering its celebrity moment in the photo above.)

I’m interested in how others started their cocktail careers. What’s the story that goes with your first cocktail?


121 Responses to “What was your first cocktail?”

  1. Nick

    I think the transition for me to making serious cocktails began with the Margarita. The mix-based ones never tasted that great. Then there was the limeade and beer margaritas with some actual limes squeezed in for a party. Then one day I used the recipe in How to Cook Everything to make a Margarita on the rocks with leftover tequila from the parties, an old bottle of Cointreau that I got from my parents when they moved, and fresh lime juice.

    That was the beginning for me, spurring me to buy books, tools, cocktail glasses and all the rest. Haven’t looked back since.

    Reply
  2. Doug Ford

    Oh, there’s something I hadn’t thought of for awhile—wow, I do remember the moment of astonishment the first time I made a Margarita “the hard way.” The flavors opened up into that bright and delightful lime freshness. I think my experience was similar to yours—that may be the moment when I really understood the bottled mixes. I don’t think I’ve ever used one since.

    Reply
  3. Frederic

    I think my transition from crappy drinks to cocktails happened shortly after one night at a dance club in the mid 90s. That night I met one of the sales reps who used to visit our lab in grad school and he offered to buy me a drink. Not a beer, but a drink, so I blabbered out “A Red Death” which was one of the bartenders specialties. He gave me such a strange look and said that he’d get it but he wanted to know WTF it was. I tried to explain “well, it’s red, and strong, but doesn’t taste like booze, and uh…”

    After that, I decided that I needed a businessman’s drink (which was strange since I was still a student) and started ordering Manhattans around town. Although what I was getting was pretty much just cold, shaken Bourbon with a cherry. Perhaps bitters were used in one of them, so that would have to be my first cocktail proper.

    Reply
    • Doug Ford

      Red Death. That does not sound like a friendly sort of thing. Perhaps it’s just as well that he didn’t know what it was.

      Do you recall what was the first thing you tried making yourself? (I’m hoping it was a proper Manhattan!)

      Reply
      • Frederic

        Just checked my drink journal for the first entry. It seems that I made the proto-wife and myself a pair of Cosmopolitans (given how poor our bar was as well as our book collection, I did well. And I think we only had a set of 4 cocktail glasses back then). Well, I bet Dale Degroff would smile upon that. Many years later, we returned to the Cosmopolitan, but the 1903-1933 recipe that contains gin, lemon, raspberry syrup, and Cointreau.

        Reply
        • Doug Ford

          I love it that you’ve journaled everything. Nothing like hard data.

          I missed your entry on the Cosmo the first time around, so I’m glad you’ve relinked it here–your info from Pioneers of Mixing is fascinating.

  4. Jim Krouskop

    You cannot go wrong with a vodka martini. I prefer mine extra dry with very little M&R Dry vermouth. A friend once introduced me to a technique for introducing the vermouth: pour some into the glass (chilled), swirl it around so it coats the inner surface, and then pour out the excess. Just the right amount for me. I also prefer extra-cold martinis and the only way to achieve this is by shaking…vigorously for 20 seconds. I don’t buy into preserving the visual clarity of a cocktail. I drink mine, not look at them all night. Like revenge in Star Trek’s Wrath of Khan, this cocktail is best served cold! Add a couple of plump olives and a splash of olive juice and you have a wonderful cocktail, IMO.

    The very first cocktail I made was a Manhattan. Unlike a vodka martini (Kangaroo…BTW, I have a difficult time calling it that), making a proper-tasting Manhattan requires much finer and controlled inputs in terms of ingredients and quantity: whiskey (I typically use Maker’s Mark), vermouth (dry), bitters, and a cherry garnish (preferably the finer dark and reconstituted dry cherry, not a Maraschino). If done right, this is one of the best-tasting cocktails around and hearkens back to earlier days when cocktails were king.

    Anyway, nice post, Doug.

    Reply
    • Doug Ford

      I’m with you in a preference for the very light portion of vermouth in the Kangaroo; in fact, I’ve often used the same glass-wash or ice-wash technique when I’ve made these for myself. Less vermouth equals a better drink in this case, in my opinion. There seems to be an incompatibility of flavors at work for some people. I wonder sometimes if this is part of the widespread acceptance of vanishingly small amounts of vermouth in martinis in general during the ’70s and ’80s—people preferred very dry “vodka martinis,” and it just spread through the cocktail neighborhood. It would be interesting track that history.

      Reply
  5. Bettie Gonzalez

    One of my first attempts at making a real cocktail was a Mojito. I love anything lime and mint. I’ve had the stuff from the mixes, but what I always hated was the mixes packed on the sugar. I would always have a drink that is overwhelmingly sweet. What a waste, so I decided to try and make the concoction myself. Luckily at the time I new a friend going through bar tending school, she gave me a few pointers and I tried it. I think I put more lime then mint, but it had such a nice tart flavor I didn’t care the proportion came out right. As I became more used to it, I stuck to the right proportions of mint and limes. Less tart and just as tasty.

    Reply
    • Doug Ford

      That’s one of the toughest problems for me, getting that proper sour-sweet balance. The “right” answer is elusive, and seems to change with time, and for each individual.

      Reply
  6. Anne McPherson

    My first cocktail I made was for my grandmother: a Presbyterian; I’d watched my father make one for her every time she visited our home, so I made her one. She declared it delicious and I’m sure she lied to preserve a little girl’s feelings. It was 1974 and I was eleven years old.

    My first grown-up cocktail was a Manhattan (rye, angostura, sweet vermouth stirred w/ice, no cherry) in 1995 for friends. Lovely. They, I’m sure, did not lie.

    Reply
    • Doug Ford

      That’s a charming story. I’m delighted that your grandmother had a preference for something as rarely encountered as the Presbyterian—you hardly ever hear of it these days. Do you happen to recall, after all this time, your grandmother’s preferred whiskey?

      And congratulations to you for stirring, not shaking, your first Manhattan. I like that. And what a great choice for your first cocktail for friends!

      Reply
  7. B.C. Young

    The first cocktail I made was a Manhattan. I made it correctly, but didn’t realize the measurements were in ounces (I was young and inexperienced with alcohol at the time). Needless to say, it didn’t end well.

    Reply
  8. christinadugan

    Such a cute blog! My first one was a tequila sunrise…wasn’t that great. But I’ve learned to master it, it helps living with bartenders :)

    Reply
  9. Jennifer Avventura

    I’ve been a bartender for years, I can’t even remember the first cocktail I made. The first I ever drank was a vodka and soda. Great post. Congrats on being Freshly Pressed.

    Reply
  10. countoncross

    I was for sure Rum and Coke, and then transformed into Rum and Pinapple Juice…I have always prefered a bottle of beer.

    Reply
  11. Jocelyn Wilhelm

    I’m reading this at 9am and this looks very yummy! My husband makes me a dirty martini with olives stuffed with bleu cheese and gorgonzola. Is it happy hour yet??! :)

    Congrats on being featured in WP. You have a very nice blog! I’ll be back to visit….

    Reply
    • Doug Ford

      Ah, blue cheese olives, yes, they’re a delight. It’s a funny thing about dirty martinis—I used to have them all the time, but I’ve gone off them. Perhaps I just can’t get properly brined olives lately. Whatever it is, they just don’t seem to taste right to me anymore. I hadn’t really noticed they were “missing” until you mentioned it. Something to ponder.

      I do hope you’ll be back. (Subscribe!)

      Reply
      • Jocelyn Wilhelm

        The ones I’ve found to be best were stuffed fresh, not in a jar. Binny’s used to have a mini-deli where the girl there would make them for me. Unfortunately, they’ve discontinued that service. Such a shame. You can also try getting olives from The Fresh Market, if you have them by you. Then you can stuff them yourself? 50/50 of bleu cheese and gorgonzola.

        I will subscribe. :)

        Reply
  12. howardf99

    Well, the Hoi Polloi do not and did not drink martinis, they drink and drank beer or cheap wine. The soi-disant elitists drink martinis; therefore, you wished to elevate yourselves above the hoi polloi. Bravo!

    Reply
    • Doug Ford

      Ouch, you got me on that one. I’m so busted. Hoi polloi, indeed—I hate it when I do that. I keep trying to write faster; I forgot that means I have to edit slower…

      Reply
  13. wovenstrands

    My first virgin cocktail (which counts cause it took a couple of tries before it was a success) was a Pinacolada. Yumm <3

    Reply
  14. mammalfish

    This is actually a great post for me, because I’m a young person in college, and this has JUST happened to me! (Fueling, for a large part, my new interest in mixology.)

    A few weeks ago, an acquaintance and I made Whiskey Sours in his dorm room. Forget the brand of whiskey, but he microwaved up some simple syrup and we juiced some limes–despite the nonexistent kitchen facilities, we did it right–and he even has a Boston shaker. It was delicious and sweet and tasted like cold whiskey lemonade. I’ll never be a heavy drinker, but I’m hooked on this cocktailian bartender thing now!

    Reply
    • Doug Ford

      Milk and Coke, never thought of that. On first reading, I was having trouble getting my head around the concept. Then I recalled just how much I love root beer floats. Not really very different.

      Reply
  15. Erik Winther Paisley

    Hmm, I think the first cocktail I ever ordered was a tequila sunrise; first one I learnt how to appreciate was a sidecar, and the first to cherish a (gin) martini.

    Reply
  16. abbyrex2323

    Ha. You said beyond rum and coke, but that literally was my first drink ever. The first cocktail I made and loooved was simply vodka and cranberry. It is still typically my drink of choice.

    Reply
  17. achilliad

    As a freshman in college and coming from a family that didn’t drink, I couldn’t wait to try concoctions! I remember the fashionable cocktail was a sloe gin fizz! It was sweet and a “sneaky Pete” (effect sneaks-up on you). Try one!

    2 ounces sloe gin
    1/2 ounce lemon juice
    1 teaspoon superfine sugar
    club soda
    Shake well over crushed ice, pour fast into collins glass using ice strainer so you get a foamy head.
    “Viola!” Enjoy!
    Kudos on getting Pressed like a fresh cool drink.

    Reply
  18. oliviajohnson94

    The first cocktail that I made was a whiskey sour, which was well recieved and the first cocktail which I personally had was a cosmopolitan, also made by myself. I’ve made many since, very interesting to create your own as well!

    Reply
  19. The Compulsive Writer

    I don’t remember my first cocktail… I would imagine it was a 7/7 at Shermers bar in Pullman Washington – its a Coug thing. I was never one for the cocktails…except a good bloody mary! I have to blame it on Black Velvet…it was the first hard liq I had and I commented on it tasting like a sparkler. Needless to say…I am still teased about that, sum 15 years later. This post makes me want to give cocktails another shot…. Perhaps…I was too hard on the hard liquor idea? Perhaps…I need to try something new!

    Reply
  20. johnhauge

    half of my roots are italian the other half are norwegian. i grew up living around the italian half in southern california. my first taste of alcohol was some watered down red wine my grandfather make in his root cellar. i sure for most italians that would be their first taste of alcohol. as for a mixed drink, it would be a Manhattan made with 4 Roses whiskey, no bitters but with maraschino cherry juice instead. it was the drink of choice for my parents and their friends for many years.

    Reply
  21. guiseeves

    I made Jonnie walker black and coke from my fathers liqour cabinet when we were 16, but my first real bar bought cocktail was an apple martini in Cancun, still haven’t found an apple martini to compare to that first sip!!

    Reply
  22. spbroad

    It was screwdriver…and it was 6 years ago.
    Somehow I outgrew vodka (I know!)… these days it’s gimlet (or for that matter, any thing with gin…)

    Reply
  23. Taylor

    The Sidecar was the first cocktail that I have made. Squeezing the fresh lemon (at a party) was a bit annoying — but the end result was delicious. I still enjoy Sidecars immensely, but my interests have turned to beer and wine as of late. When I do spring for a cocktail it’s usually an Old Fashioned or Rusty Nail. I’ve never been a fan of the Vodka Martini though. Gin is just so delicious.

    Reply
  24. Eclecticandmiscellaneous

    I went to Chile two years ago and went to the brithday party of a friend of mine. There were home-made pisco sours. They were SO good!
    When I came back to Buenos Aires, I went to this pretty fancy jazz club with a friend, and when looking at the drinks menu I decided to indulge myself and order a Pisco Sour … ugh, horrible. The bartender actually came over to me and asked why I wasn’t drinking it (as he felt guilty and was trying to flirt at the same time), he asked if there was something wrong, I tried to hide my discontempt but he saw right through it and made me a new one. it was just as awful. The poor guy.
    Anyway, a few weeks ago a friend of mine came home with a bottle of Peruvian Pisco and we decided to make Pisco Sour.
    I must say, we rocked it!!!! It was sooooo good! Felt very proud of myself :)
    I have a picture of it, I’ll upload it tomorrow
    Bottoms up!

    Reply
  25. Young1

    I had my first cocktail on a family holiday many years ago – A long island iced tea – now whilst i still wait to make it over to Long Island well the states somewhere i have had many english versions which are pretty cool. I then bought all the vitals and started making and shaking them at home. To this day it is the one cocktail i know will taste good when i am at home or out. A reliable sturdy and strong cocktail.

    :D

    Reply
  26. notesfromrumbleycottage

    I never make mixed drinks at home. The most I might do is a sangria every now and again. I prefer messing with wine and good German-style beers. Loved your post. Might inspire me to at least try something different.

    Reply
  27. Claus Gurumeta

    The first time I grew apart from making simple mixed drinks, I think I made a Bellini: Frozen peach juice blended with Rum & Triple Sec into a slush, topped with red wine. It’s not only beautiful looking, but easy to make and simply delicious!

    As for martinis, my all time favourite and something I always ask for at a bar when I need a stiff one, I prefer a dirty martini made with Gin.

    Reply
  28. Ascentive

    The first time I made a Martini it was horrible (mostly because I messed up the amounts). I’m always super nurvous to make my own. But just maybe I need to go back and actually make a martin the right way.

    Reply
    • Doug Ford

      You just hit on one of my favorite things about cocktails—you can keep practicing until you get it right, and have a good time to boot.

      Reply
  29. sillybb

    Long Island Iced Tea :) I thought it was the best thing on earth! lol.. Oh to be yound and stupid again!

    Reply
  30. Service Jockey

    The first one I ever had was a mint julep that I sneaked at my sister’s wedding. The first one I ever mixed myself was a White Russian.

    Reply
  31. thelifeofjamie

    I don’t know if Boone’s Farm Strawberry Hill counts as a cocktail…but it was the best my 16 year old self could come up with! That and the Wild Turkey shots from my parent’s liquor cabinet!

    Reply
  32. Angela

    I really enjoyed this question. It’s fun to remember. Czech Republic. 2006. Some friends took me around Prague to have my first Mojito. The ingredients sounded so fresh and yummy that I wanted this to be my first. We spent over an hour literally running around Prague in the middle of the night to over 5 different bars, my friend asking in Czech if they could make a Mojito. It turns out that while absinthe is popular in CZR, Mojitos are not. Wow, was it good. Fresh, hard and delicious. I’ve been pregnant or nursing ever since and haven’t started mixing drinks on my own. Looking forward to it.

    Reply
  33. bandsmoke

    What a fun blog – dont think i have ever made a cocktail before (an oversight to immediately be remedied) but the first one i ever drank was called sex on the beach!

    Reply
  34. ryoko861

    My first cocktail was a Whiskey Sour. My parents enjoyed making them in our blender when I was little, so to shut my bratty little mouth from nagging “I want some, I want some!” They would take some of the froth from the top and put it into a shot glass for me. I’m sure it shut me up after a while.

    If DYFS or Child Services only knew.

    Reply
  35. J Roycroft

    Mine was Gin and Coke. I was seven years old. Dad was entertaining his soldier buddies at our home in Berlin. He left his drink on the living room end table, and well, I took a sip… Ok, so I drank the whole thing! It was also the first night I was forced to drink black coffee. That is probably why I don’t drink alcohol or coffee today.

    Reply
  36. beyondanomie

    Well done on getting Freshly Pressed again Doug! Hope you get another cohort of new readers this time round.

    The first proper cocktail I ever made was a Martini (classic gin variety). I make a far better one these days, that’s for sure!

    More amusing is the first cocktail I ever DRANK: to my eternal shame (and leaving aside things like G&Ts or Rum&Cokes), it was either a Harvey Wallbanger or a Pina Colada! I know I had both the same night, but can’t remember which came first. I think it was the Pina Colada. Tragic, I know…

    Reply
    • Doug Ford

      Thanks, Chris.

      What a great starting point, the Martini. Nicely chosen.

      As for H. Wallbanger, well, I can’t recall that I’ve ever had one. Seems strange, considering its fame–after all, it did make Imbibe’s list of 25 Most Influential Cocktails. So I guess I’d better try one someday. Secretly.

      Reply
      • beyondanomie

        I don’t think I’ve had one since. Not a favorite. I like orange juice a lot, but the only heavily orange juice based cocktail I’m really fond of is a Buck’s Fizz. Largely because it neatly compensates for the poor quality of the champagne to be found at many receptions and the like. ;)

        Reply
  37. educlaytion

    I remember turning 21 and being at Applebees. For some reason I decided to order a Bloody Mary even though I hate tomato juice and celery. That was the first and last of those.

    Reply
  38. bodyharmonychiro

    The first one I ever drank was a tequila sunrise.
    The first one I ever made…Mojito on a hot summer day…

    Made the simple syrup
    Mortar and pestled fresh mint from the Farmer’s market
    Hand squeezed the lime juice
    Nice clear white rum (although can I remember for the life of me what brand it was? No)
    A drink made with love!

    Reply
  39. Posky

    The screwdriver. It was purchased for me by a friend and remains among my least favorite drinks.

    The second was the gimlet- done properly with a hint of sweet lime and loads of aromatic gin. I found that many reputable bars do a poor and overly tangy or sour version of the classic gimlet. I began to use the drink as a way to gauge a bartender’s skill level until it eventually became my favorite.

    The dirty martini, bloody mary and an array of vodka or gin centric drinks followed but the gimlet remains a summertime favorite of mine. It was the first drink I ever really enjoyed and led to me trying and creating a great many cocktails of my own.

    Reply
  40. dearliv

    My first cocktail was made by my (much) older sister and her friends who wanted to get me drunk. I was fourteen and puked my guts out. Unfortunately the vomit is the only taste I remember. To this day, I stick to wine. Even then, half a glass and I’m dancing on the table. Makes me a cheap date but no fun for Mardi Gras.

    Reply
  41. gmomj

    I remember sneaking sips of my mother’s Raspberry Long Island Ice Tea back in the day, but while still at an age when I should have kept out of the liquor my friends and I were drinking White Russians at The Ground Round. A seedy chain of New England bar and snack joints where the highlight of the evening was throwing the peanut shells on the floor and watching guys fight in the parking lot.
    White Russian was Vodka, cream and vanilla liqueur I think.

    Reply
  42. thefengshuidiva

    Lemontini is a my or a Long Island Ice tea..hmm, I love citrus!

    Reply
  43. Melanie

    A Manhattan was mine! I thought a Manhattan seemed so very grown-up and sophisticated (yes, I was actually legal, but barely) and so simple even I couldn’t make it improperly.

    Well, almost. *blushes* Actually, I used the wrong kind of vermouth the first time. Boy, did I feel dumb! But I choked the whole thing down, and then made one right and proper.

    Reply
  44. aplaceforgracie

    If you don’t count the slugs right out of a bottle of Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey stolen from the parents of a friend back in high school, then it was a Brandy Old Fashioned with seltzer–still a favorite, although we’ve learned not to order them outside of Wisconsin because they’re never made correctly. My dad makes the best ones.

    Reply
    • Doug Ford

      I have heard that Wisconsin has its own dialect of Brandy Old-Fashioned, but I’ve never encountered one. How does your dad make them?

      Reply
  45. huffygirl

    FP’d again, so soon? Good for you.
    I don’t drink cocktails – too intimidating to know what to order and I can never finish it anyway.

    Reply
  46. jareb

    My First was Mad Dog 20 20 PUUUUUUKE, after that I went for 151 straight, I would have to say not a good way to start me now

    Reply
  47. Leah Dotten

    I think my first cocktail was a chocolate and vanilla martini. But my most interesting cocktail was the one I mixed purely for colour. It was a delightful shade of amethyst and wow, it was awful.

    Reply
  48. ssahagian89

    I honestly can’t think back to my first “cocktail.” I am a fan of vodka myself and agree that you can’t really go wrong with a vodka cocktail.

    Reply
  49. WorstProfEver

    It was a white Russian made from the cheap vodka we used to deodorize the costumes in the costume shop (theater tech geek, don’t ask). And I was underage, and when I was drunk for the first time, all my co-workers said was, “Wow, you look really relaxed.” After this Lebowski-like beginning, Black Russians and Screwdrivers soon followed.

    As for my first real cocktail, probably the first time I had a real margarita, with aged tequila and fresh lime juice. Or maybe it was my first Old Fashioned with good bourbon. Aaaah, nice walk down memory lane.

    Reply
  50. Astley Henry

    I snuck a relative’s drink at some family gathering. I was a young teen and it was rum. I loved it. I’m that Caribbean.

    Reply
    • Doug Ford

      It’s only in the last year or so that I’ve paid much attention to rum drinks. Can’t explain that. But I’ll tell you, I was missing out on a good thing.

      Reply
  51. John

    I’m guessing that all of the awkward cocktail-making attempts that one makes while half in the bag in college don’t really count. The first cocktail I ever really mastered was the caucasian in the months after first seeing The Big Lebowski. Of course, I’d made every half-baked cocktail under the sun before that, including a ton of gin martinis, screwdrivers, tequila sunrises, rum n’ cokes, jack n’ cokes (and other whiskey variants)… But like I said, I tend to think that those don’t count because I was still on my learner’s permit.

    Reply
  52. mybakingempire

    I was in high school, and in chemistry class every year the exciting project was to “silver” bottles. You use some liquids that react in someway (all long gone from my memory now) and the effect is a silver coating on the inside of the bottle. Absolut bottles were all the rage for this process, and we had one at home with some vodka still in it. So as not to dump it all down the sink to take it in to school, my mom made me my first Screwdriver. I don’t drink them anymore, but I definitely have a soft spot for them!

    Reply
  53. bealitao

    Oh! Cocktails! My first cocktail was a Tequila Sunrise. Ever since then, I’ve been trying almost everything I could find my hands on! And it’s very easy to make too – orange juice, grenadine syrup, and of course, tequila. Add a little salt to the glass and tada! Oh, I forgot the cherries – those are awesome.

    Reply
  54. Miss Rose Rose

    I honestly can’t remember what my first cocktail was – how lame is that? I was recently thinking over my first time in a liquor store, though, at age 21 (parents were teetotalers), and I do remember the simultaneous combination of ferret-shock and intimidation that came from looking at all those fancy bottles (and their prices!). I joke that my mixology habit came from wanting to buy all of the shiny pretty bottles and then needing something to do with their contents. :)

    Also, I seem to remember reading somewhere that the term for a shaken vodka martini is a “Vesper” – after Bond’s girlfriend in Casino Royale – but Wikipedia tells me that a Vesper Martini is generally agreed to be a particular variant he outlines in that book, consisting of both gin and vodka (and Kina Lillet in place of vermouth). Who says drink titles don’t make sense?

    Reply
  55. Kate's Bookshelf

    I’m afraid I haven’t attempted too much in the realm of cocktails, but I have started slowly. Recently my actual first ‘drink’ was Black Velvet over ice with a splash of water. I know it isn’t much, but still, it’s good. One day I will attempt the martini, though a Vesper sounds more flavorful.

    Thank you for sharing your experiences. It makes me want to get out and experiment.

    Reply
  56. thiesya

    hmmm…my first cocktail…
    when I was in college…GRASSHOPER….
    I want to make that cocktail again but I’ve lost my recipe and I can’t made that again cz my husband told me not to drink any alcoholic drink anymore…..='(
    I still want some more…someday I wil..whuahahahahhahaa….

    Reply
  57. guiltygoodness

    My first cocktail would have been Gin and Tonic. Till this day, I enjoy it as a light alcoholic beverage, and I have it when I’m feeling like a good girl. I’ve even come up with my signature Gin and Tonic. Your typical Gin and Tonic, but with an added twist of strawberry. You’d be surprised to discover that the little slice of strawberry can add so much complexity into this simple cocktail. Of all the cocktails, this describes my personality best. Simple, yet complex at the same time. Simple, but not that simple to create.

    Reply
  58. Evie Garone

    This was an interesting blog…my first cocktail was a Tanquery & Tonic with a twist of lime and I though I was quite the connoisseur…thank you for sharing!
    Cheers!

    Reply
  59. Mac

    My first cocktail was a Vodka martini, shaken not stirred. It was delightful and to this day I love the drink for a home from work refreshment before bed after dinner.

    Reply
  60. p3charmed

    WOW!!! My first cocktail was an Apple Martini from Applebees.
    It was my Birthday and some friends and I wennt to Applebees to eat and drink. My now fiance’ (we were just friends then) picked me up and off we went. Once we got into Applebees we were seated and the waiter asked what would we like. I asked him if my friend Lu as working and he said yes. He called her over and she wished me a Happy Birthday and she asked me if I ever had a Martini and I said no. She asked the guys if they wanted something and they placed their orders. The waiter took our order of a 20pc buffallo wings and the nachos. Lu can back with the drinks and the Apple Martini. At first I was a little nervous seeing as how im only 4ft 9in tall 120lbs. This is vodka based and why is it green. But what the hell its my birthday. So i tasted it and that was it. I WAS HOOKED. I must have drank 3 Apple Martini’s that night. (1 too many!!)
    Everytime I go to Applebees I get a Apple Martini with my meal (if im not with the kids). My favorite an first cocktail.

    Reply
  61. theamberlight

    First cocktail was a Cosmo at a very nice seafood grill in Indianapolis. I can still taste it, and the atmosphere. I had never been in such a nice place for lunch! It was dry and lovely. It was the first of many lunches there with my dear friend until they closed the restaurant. I have never even tried to make that or Mojitos (which were also AWE-SOME) at home….perhaps now I shall….my birthday is Saturday…45…calls for something new I think! Thanks again for the inspiration :)

    Reply
  62. newsy1

    I remember it well. It was in the 1970’s and called a Bacardi cocktail. It was rum, simple syrup and grenadine in a cocktail shaker with some ice for straight up or you could have it on the rocks. If you asked for a “Bacardi” that is what you got. Now if you walk into a bar and ask for a Bacardi, they give you a shot of rum.

    Reply
  63. littlejl

    Frank Sinatra opened my heart to the classic Martini. It was after watching a Frank movie, that I thought –I just love the look of the martini; it is classy and very fashionable! And the whole set up; tumbler, glasses, nice bottle of vodka…looked divine. I thought, what is this all about? After some experimentation, I found I liked a vodka martini, extra dry, shaken, with a couple of blue cheese stuff olives in a stunning martini glass. Still my favorite cocktail.

    There is a joke I heard once about martini’s that is so true! Martini’s are like breast. One just isn’t quite right, two is perfect and three is just plain WRONG! ;-)

    Enjoyed your post; congrats on being freshly pressed!

    Reply
  64. reyesryanmjaube

    It was actually in the 18th birthday of my classmate back in college. There was a bar there that served unlimited drinks of any kind. I was only drinking beer back then. If I remember it right… It was Blue Devil or probably Tequila Sunrise. There was a lot of dancing that night, too bad I can’t remember most of them! Don’t mark me as a law breaker though, 18 is the legal age for drinking here in out country.

    Please visit my blog! I’m new here and I would like to be a part of this great community!

    Reply
  65. Manami

    Although I can’t remember my first cocktail, I will always remember that the first cocktail that made me feel like a grown-up was a Sazerac in New Orleans.

    Reply
  66. crashsuit

    Vodka martinis? Gin only please.

    My first? Rum and coke.

    Nowadays? I’m a gimlet man. Gin, lime juice, serve.

    Reply
  67. Alfrodull

    hmm… I think the first one I attempted was a mojito… oh, all that pounding of the sugar and the mint leaves… and I couldn2t get it to taste as good as the ones you get when there is a professional behind the bar…

    but my personal favorite is a dry martini, no olives, with a twist…

    Reply
  68. TweeCo

    Nice photo! My first cocktail was blue hawaii. I still can’t drink straight vodka…even though I think that martini is more classy

    Reply
  69. jessicaber

    I love green olives. Later on I enjoyed Rum & Cokes, Strawberry Daquerries, Bloody Marys and Screwdrivers, but I quit drinking January 1999 and became a LDS. I never really was a drinker after that, been pretty much sober for about 11 years.

    Reply
  70. tooboots

    My first cocktail was a manhatten. I was 21, out to dinner with my parents and their office staff, and feeling very grown up. I had no idea what was in a manhatten (I believe a character from Catcher in the Rye ordered one, and I had just finished the book) nor how strong it tasted. I was tipsy after a few sips. My second drink was a Diet Coke.

    Reply
  71. jessicaber

    Tooboots…I think that I vaguely remember what you are talking about with the Manhattan drink in The Catcher in the Rye.

    Reply
  72. Carlos R.

    The very first cocktail was a Rum and Coke. My dad made it for me when I was 16. But the very first cocktail I made for myself was a Cointreau Tonic. thats probably my most favorite cocktail right now. My brother first introduced it to me last year when I was 18 and I never stopped loving it. Now that I’m 19 though (I’m Canadian), Im looking forward to trying out a lot more cocktails like a Manhattan, or a Bamboo, or a No Name

    Reply
  73. My Cocktail Making Attemps « It is What it Is

    […] My first real cocktail making attempt was in college, at a friends party. There was a drink making contest, I don’t think there was a prize other than that you would be able to drink the alcoholic beverage of choice (there was plenty to choose from that day). […]

    Reply

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