Shaken & Stirred: Behind the Origins of Famous Cocktails

Some of the world’s most famous cocktails were developed at these tony hotel bars. 


Caribe Hilton

pina colada
Photo: Caribe Hilton

There’s just something about a perfectly blended, ice-cold frozen drink (with or without a tiny umbrella) that screams "vacation o'clock." And the piña colada, which was invented at this long celeb-favored beach resort on Puerto Rico in 1954, is the definition of tropical-paradise-holiday in an oversize cup. The official cocktail of the island, a fruity delight of mixed rum, coconut cream and pineapple juice blended with ice, somehow tastes even better when served poolside at its birthplace. In addition to the multi-tiered splash complex, the hotel boasts a golden strand and 10 food-and-beverage outposts (room rates start at $450 a night).

The Knickerbocker

New York The Knickerbocker
Photo: The Knockerbocker Hotel

Shaken or stirred, dirty or with a twist, the martini is the ultimate vintage-chic, sophisticated cocktail that is all weather-, season- and occasion-appropriate. New York City’s landmark The Knickerbocker — where the iconic drink was rst served in 1912 — exudes that same throwback yet modern feel that comes with ordering a martini. Guest rooms within the Beaux-Arts facade are sleek and chic with oak furniture, subdued décor tones and Dyptique bath amenities. Gathering places are scenes-to-be-seen à la F. Scott Fitzgerald and Zelda (they were once regulars), and include the St. Cloud Rooftop (room rates start at $400 a night).

Belmond Hotel Cipriani

Photo: Belmond

Few places on the planet are as synonymous with glamour and romance as this storied hotel positioned on one of Venice's islands. Accessible by a private — and super-chic — wooden boat, the coral-facade, 96-room hideaway welcomes guests to its elegant terraced restaurants to linger over superior cuisine, unbeatable views and the hotel’s other hallmark — the Bellini. Served in a chilled champagne glass, the prosecco-and-puréed-peach delight was invented by Giuseppe Cipriani, founder of the property’s famed Harry’s Bar. Early on, the cocktail (named for an image created by the 15th-century Venetian artist Giovanni Bellini) was only served seasonally (room rates start at $760 a night).

Raffles Hotel Singapore

Singapore Sling
Photo: Raffles Hotel Singapore

Chances are there’s not much you can do IRL to live like the ultra-tony class in Crazy Rich Asians. But a stay at the Raffles Hotel, a grande dame that’s been welcoming discerning visitors for more than 130 years, is an awesome lodging option for your trip of a lifetime. The all-suite property is also home to Singapore’s national cocktail — the Singapore sling. First crafted in 1915 at the Long Bar, the refreshing blend of gin, liqueurs, bitters and pineapple juice served straight up with a maraschino cherry was created to look like pink fruit juice for the ladies. Why? It was frowned upon for women to consume alcohol in public (room rates start at about $705 a night and include a limo transfer).