Cocktail Road Trip: The Northeast

Pete Capella
(Photo: )

Hop in that Winnebago and fill up the tank (if you can afford it with these gas prices, right guys?) We are ready to head to our next region of the US and explore more local cocktails. Home to the nation’s capital, the business hub of the entire world and Jon Francis Bon Jovi, the Northeast has some of the country’s richest history. It doesn’t hurt that it’s made up of nine of the original 13 colonies. Rich history often indicates a vast food and drink culture, and the Northeast certainly lives up to that indication.

The earliest definition of a cocktail made its way into publication in 1806 in Hudson, New York, and the flow of spirits hasn’t stopped since. Made up of Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware and Maryland, the Northeast was and still continues to be on the forefront of cocktailia.

The Cocktails

Old Fashioned

The definition of a cocktail was first published in The Balance and Columbian Repository of Hudson, New York in 1806 in an editorial that was published in response to the question, “What is a cock-tail?” It read: “Cocktail is a stimulating liquor, composed of spirits of any kind, sugar, water and bitters.” This is essentially the definition of a true Old Fashioned. Now, let’s not take away any credit from the great state of Kentucky, where the moniker “Old Fashioned” is rumored to have spawned. But the cocktail itself has been a New York staple since the 1800s. And if you even try and argue…fuggedaboutit. Check out The Savory’s Old Fashioned recipe:


Though the origin of this fantastic concoction’s name is easy to figure out, its history is a bit convoluted. A popular theory is that the cocktail was named in the 1870s after the hotel it was made in, The Manhattan Club, at a banquet thrown by Winston Churchill’s mother. But there are earlier written references from the decade prior that mention a cocktail called the Manhattan that was served up in bars in the borough. No matter what the history, we love the simple recipe with the complex flavor. The Manhattan, like the people of the island, is a bit of sophistication mixed with a bit of attitude. Check out how to make a Manhattan with The Savory bartender, Pete Capella:


Let’s start by giving mad props to the elusive Miami bartender Cheryl Cook, who is the supposed first inventor of the Cosmopolitan. This mid-1980s martini took the country by storm, but nowhere more so than in New York City. As a matter of fact, it took its most well-known form there, but New York bartenders, like any good bartenders, refused to make a drink with Rose’s Lime Juice and instead used fresh squeezed limes. The Cosmopolitan really came into its own when an up- and-coming New York socialite and her three friends decided to partake in the cocktail in almost every single episode of the HBO hit show, Sex and the City. Whether you’re a Carrie or a Samantha, the Savory bartender will teach you how to make the perfect Cosmo:


Gin Rickey

Our road trip makes its way down to our nation’s capital, Washington D.C., where on a hot and muggy summer day in 1883, politician “Colonel Joe” Rickey needed a refreshing gin cocktail. The bartender went to work and Mr. Rickey enjoyed his drink so much that he called for another. The drink was quickly named after “Colonel Joe” and the rest is history. The drink enjoyed much popularity and ended up becoming a favorite of author F. Scott Fitzgerald’s. He favored the drink so much (purportedly for the fact that he believed you couldn’t smell gin on one’s breath) that it also became the favorite cocktail of his most popular fictional character, Jay Gatsby. Take a gander at The Savory’s Gin Rickey recipe here

Ward 8

Our final stop puts us right in the heart of “Beantown”. In 1898, North Boston political boss Martin “The Mahatma” Lomasney was running for office, hoping to win a seat in the state’s legislature, the General Court of Massachusetts. The Ward 8 cocktail was said to have been created at the Winter Place Hotel in honor of his election and the city’s Ward 8, the area that historically delivered him a winning margin. The cocktail itself is a beautiful mix of rye whiskey, fresh citrus and a homemade grenadine, which you can find the recipe for here.

Buckle up as we continue our road trip exploring cocktails by region throughout the United States. No falling asleep if you’re riding shotgun, and please turn off the Celine Dion.

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