Cocktail Quiz

Kelly Scott

Image: DIBYANGSHU SARKAR / Stringer

About This Quiz

Most folks have a favorite cocktail, whether it's a fruity Cape Codder or a stiff Sidecar. Cocktails have evolved from a simple combination of sugar, spirits and juice to complex blends of flavored syrups and infused liquors. Do you know what's in the mix? Test your boozy knowledge with this 35-question quiz!

What is the difference between a Black Russian cocktail and a White Russian cocktail?

The Black Russian is a cocktail of vodka and coffee liqueur. It contains five parts vodka to two parts coffee liqueur, per IBA specified ingredients. Traditionally the drink is made by pouring the vodka over ice cubes or cracked ice in an old-fashioned glass, followed by the coffee liqueur. A White Russian has milk or cream added to it. Neither drink is Russian in origin, but both are so named due to vodka being the primary ingredient. Like the chicken and the egg, it is unclear which came first.

What are the ingredients in a classic Old Fashioned?

The Old Fashioned is a strong performer in pop culture, making appearances in everything from John Updike's Rabbit, Run novel (where the title character resents the job he works at to "earn a living to buy sugar for [his wife Janice] to put into her rotten old Old-Fashioneds") to being Don Draper's drink of choice in the TV series Mad Men.

Which of the following is a key ingredient in a Dark 'N Stormy cocktail?

A Dark 'N Stormy is a highball cocktail made with dark rum (the dark) and ginger beer (the stormy), served over ice and garnished with a slice of lime. In the US, the name "Dark 'N Stormy" is a trademark of Gosling Brothers Ltd of Bermuda, makers of rum.

Which of the following is NOT in a classic gimlet, a drink which requires two specific ingredients?

The description in the 1953 Raymond Chandler novel The Long Goodbye stated that "a real gimlet is half gin and half Rose's lime juice and nothing else". A similar lime juice cocktail using rum instead of vodka or gin is called a daiquiri.

What turns a plain martini into a dirty martini?

Over the years, the Martini has become one of the best-known mixed alcoholic beverages. Notable Baltimore Sun writer H. L. Mencken called the Martini "the only American invention as perfect as the sonnet" and E. B. White called it "the elixir of quietude".

Which of the following cocktails is usually served in a copper mug?

The Moscow Mule is almost always served in a copper mug. The popularity of this drinking vessel is attributable to the cocktail's creator, who went around the country to sell Smirnoff vodka and popularize the Moscow Mule. Martin asked bartenders to pose with a specialty copper mug and a bottle of Smirnoff vodka, and photographed a Polaroid picture of them. He took two photos, leaving one with the bartender for display. The other photo would be put into a collection and used as proof of the popularity of the Moscow mule.

Which beverage consists of wine, chopped fruit, sweetener, and brandy?

Sangria has existed in various forms for over 2,000 years. It is believed that the Romans mixed wine with water to sanitize the drinking water of their expanding empire as it reached the Iberian Peninsula, where Spain and Portugal now are. By the early 18th century, Sangria had spread to Latin America. It did not become a widely consumed drink in the US until it was showcased at the 1964 World's Fair in New York. Sangria can come in a lot of shapes and sizes: the type of fruit used, the kind of spirits added (if any), and the presence or lack of carbonation can all vary. What rarely changes is its deliciousness!

Which of the following alcoholic beverages was banned in the US for allegedly being a hallucinogen?

Absinthe was banned in the US, but any hallucinations were probably caused by its high alcohol content, which can be over 50 percent alcohol by volume, not its other ingredients like wormwood.

Which drink did Ernest Hemingway call his favorite?

The basic recipe for a daiquiri is similar to the grog British sailors drank aboard ship from the 1740s onwards. By 1795 the Royal Navy daily grog ration contained rum, water, ¾ ounce of lemon or lime juice, and 2 ounces of sugar. This was a common drink across the Caribbean, and as soon as ice became available this was included instead of water.

Where does the "Irish" in Irish coffee come from?

The Irish coffee cocktail was conceived after a group of American passengers disembarked in County Limerick from a Pan Am flying boat on a miserable winter evening in the 1940s. Joe Sheridan, the local head chef, added whiskey to the coffee to warm the passengers. After the passengers asked if they were being served Brazilian coffee, Sheridan told them it was "Irish coffee".

What is the proper term for liquor served over ice cubes?

In bartending, the term "straight up" (or "up") refers to an alcoholic drink that is shaken or stirred with ice and then strained and served without ice in a stemmed glass. This is contrasted with a drink served "neat" – a single, unmixed liquor served without being chilled and without any water, ice, or other mixer. "On the rocks" refers to liquor poured over ice cubes and typically served in a rocks glass, highball glass, or Collins glass, all of which refer to a relatively straight-walled, flat-bottomed glass.

According to famed mixologist Dale DeGroff, what is the maximum size a cocktail should be?

Master Mixologist Dale DeGroff, aka King Cocktail, developed his extraordinary techniques and talent tending bar at the legendary Rainbow Room, where, in the 1980s, he pioneered a gourmet approach to recreating classic cocktails. DeGroff says it should take 15 to 20 sips to finish a cocktail -- that's about 5 ounces of liquid.

What are the ingredients in a traditional Appletini?

This drink, properly called an Adam's Apple Martini, was created in 1997 at Lola's in West Hollywood, California, by bar owner Loren Dunsworth and bartender Adam Karsten. This cocktail, which he stipulates should be "easy on the tini", is the favorite alcoholic drink of John "J.D." Dorian in the sitcom Scrubs, and is often characterized as being somewhat effeminate.

Despite the cocktail sharing its name with a brand of whiskey, what alcohol is often used instead of whiskey in a Sazerac?

Technically, the IBA defines a Sazerac as being made with cognac. In the late 19th century, rye whiskey became a popular substitution, and today both variations are common.

Which of the following is NOT a common variation of the Julep cocktail?

A Julep is any base spirit, sugar, and mint over ice. The most common is the delicious Mint Julep, which is made with bourbon. Its origins may never be definitively known beyond that it came from the southern United States, probably during the eighteenth century.

What is the name of a cocktail containing vodka, cranberry juice, and grapefruit juice?

The drink follows the classic cocktail principle of balancing strong (alcohol) with weak (fruit juice) and sweet and sour. A Bay Breeze, or a Hawaiian Sea Breeze, is similar to a Sea Breeze except for the substitution of pineapple juice for grapefruit juice. It is also closely related to the Cape Codder (which doesn't have the grapefruit juice) and the Salty Dog (which doesn't have the cranberry juice but is made with a salted rim).

What is the literal translation of "piña colada"?

The piña colada has been the national drink of Puerto Rico since 1978, but the drink gained widespread fame after Rupert Holmes released his 1979 song, "Escape (The Piña Colada Song)", which became a popular hit around the world.

Where did the Sidecar get its start?

The exact origin of the Sidecar is unclear, but it is thought to have been invented around the end of World War I, in Paris, at the Ritz Hotel. The drink was named after the motorcycle seating attachment. The first recipes for the Sidecar appear in 1922, in Harry MacElhone's Harry's ABC of Mixing Cocktails and Robert Vermeire's Cocktails and How to Mix Them. It is one of six basic drinks listed in David A. Embury's The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks (1948).

Who starred in the 1988 film "Cocktail," which featured "flair bartending" and won the '89 Razzie Award for Worst Picture?

Okay, so this question isn't strictly about cocktail/alcoholic beverage trivia, but everyone knows this movie, right? "Cocktail" tells the story of a young New York City business student, Brian Flanagan, played by Tom Cruise, who takes up bartending in order to make ends meet. The film also stars Bryan Brown as Doug Coughlin and Elisabeth Shue as Jordan Mooney. Tom Cruise's character Brian recites this poem in the movie as a tribute to bartenders: I am the last barman poet / I see America drinking the fabulous cocktails I make / Americans getting stinky on something I stir or shake / The sex on the beach / The schnapps made from peach / The velvet hammer / The Alabama slammer. / I make things with juice and froth / The pink squirrel / The three-toed sloth. / I make drinks so sweet and snazzy / The iced tea / The kamakazi / The orgasm / The death spasm / The Singapore sling / The dingaling. / America you've just been devoted to every flavor I got / But if you want to got loaded / Why don't you just order a shot? / Bar is open.

What is the name of a cocktail made from cola, lime, and rum?

According to Havana Club, one of the best-selling rum brands in the world, the Cuba Libre has a mysterious origin: "The only certainty is that this cocktail was first sipped in Cuba. The year? 1900. 1900 is generally said to be the year that cola first came to Cuba, introduced to the island by American troops. But "Cuba Libre!" was the battle cry of the Cuba Liberation Army during the war of independence that ended in 1898." The drink's name has evolved somewhat in both Cuba and the United States, where some choose to refer to it as a Mentirita ("a little lie"), in an opinionated reference to Cuban politics.

Which of the following is NOT a cocktail that should be served in a highball glass?

A highball is a straight-sided glass, often an elegant way to serve many types of mixed drinks, like those served on the rocks, shots, and mixer-combined liquor drinks. (Author's note: we won't judge you for using whatever glassware you like. In fact, we'll cop to occasionally using a pint glass for wine because sometimes you just gotta do what you gotta do.)

What are the ingredients in a Planter's Punch cocktail?

This cocktail is said to have originated at the Planters Hotel in Charleston, SC, but the recipe originates in Jamaica. Humphrey Bogart's and Mary Astor's characters both order a Planter's Punch at a bar in Panama in the 1942 spy thriller Across the Pacific, set on the eve of World War II.

What is the name of a mixed drink made with vodka, Galliano, and orange juice?

McKesson executive George Bednar was instrumental in promoting the drink as a means of selling Galliano liqueur, and Bednar claimed to have penned a popular tagline for the drink: "Harvey Wallbanger is the name. And I can be made!" In CB "Citizens Band radio" lingo used among truck drivers, a Harvey Wallbanger is a drunk driver; specifically, one who continually drifts across the road from one shoulder to the other and back.

Which of the following cocktails should NOT traditionally be garnished with a pineapple wedge?

A Sazerac combines cognac or rye, absinthe, Peychaud's Bitters, and sugar, although bourbon whiskey and/or Herbsaint are sometimes substituted. The defining feature of the Sazerac is its method of preparation, which commonly involves two chilled old-fashioned glasses. The first glass is swirled with a wash of absinthe for its flavor and strong scent. The second glass is used to combine the remaining ingredients, which are stirred with ice, then strained into the first glass.

What are the ingredients in a Rusty Nail?

A Rusty Nail can be served in an old-fashioned glass on the rocks, neat, or "up" in a stemmed glass. It is most commonly served over ice. A Rusty Nail served without ice is sometimes called a Straight Up Nail. In the early 1960s the Rat Pack was enamored of the drink, which may have been responsible for its wide appeal in those years. It's also commonly poured and drunk by character Saul Goodman of the AMC series "Breaking Bad," and "Better Call Saul."

Which ingredients did the original cocktail combine?

The first definition of an alcoholic beverage cocktail appeared in The Balance and Columbian Repository on May 13, 1806 when editor Harry Croswell answered the question, "What is a cocktail?" with this answer: "Cock-tail is a stimulating liquor, composed of spirits of any kind, sugar, water, and bitters—it is vulgarly called bittered sling, and is supposed to be an excellent electioneering potion, in as much as it renders the heart stout and bold, at the same time that it fuddles the head. It is said, also to be of great use to a democratic candidate: because a person, having swallowed a glass of it, is ready to swallow any thing else."

What ingredients are in a true Bellini?

The Bellini was invented sometime between 1934 and 1948 by Giuseppe Cipriani, founder of Harry's Bar, a favorite haunt of Ernest Hemingway, Sinclair Lewis and Orson Welles, in Venice. He named the drink the Bellini because its unique pink color reminded him of the toga of a saint in a painting by 15th-century Venetian artist Giovanni Bellini. After an entrepreneurial Frenchman set up a business to ship fresh white peach purée to both Venice and New York Harry's Bar locations, the drink became a year-round favorite.

Which of the following is NOT a beer cocktail?

A beer cocktail is a cocktail that is made by mixing (duh) beer with a distilled beverage or another style of beer. A mixture of beer with a beverage that contains a soft drink is usually called a shandy. A lime rickey, on the other hand, is a highball drink made with bourbon or gin, half a lime squeezed and dropped in the glass, and carbonated water.

What is the name of a standard-size, 1.5 US fluid ounce shot glass?

In short, a "pony" is slang for one US fluid ounce (30 ml) of spirit, while the standard-size "shot" of alcohol is a 1.5-US-fluid-ounce (44 ml) "jigger", with a "double" being three US fluid ounces (89 ml). Rather than use measuring equipment, professional bartenders usually use a pour spout inserted into the mouth of the bottle, which restricts the flow of liquid to a standard rate, allowing for accurate time-based pours.

What is the name of a cocktail consisting of white rum, cognac, triple sec, and lemon juice?

The creation of this cocktail is usually credited to Harry MacElhone at Harry's New York Bar in Paris in the 1930s as a derivative of the Sidecar; however, others claim the cocktail was created at The Berkeley in approximately 1921, or in French brothels as an apéritif for consumption by the prostitutes. The drink is similar to the Sidecar, differing only by using less cognac and adding rum. The Maiden's Prayer is variously known as an alternate name for the Between the Sheets, and as a different drink using gin instead of rum and cognac, and adding orange juice to the lemon juice.

What is the name of the IBA official cocktail that combines brandy, ginger ale, and a long spiral of lemon peel as garnish over the edge of an old fashioned glass?

The Horse’s Neck gets its name from its long coiled lemon peel that snakes around the inside of the glass. Believed to be in rotation as early as 1895, this cocktail is further proof that the simplest combinations can often be the most satisfying.

Which of the following is NOT a typical ingredient in a Long Island Iced Tea?

Careful knocking back those Long Island Iced Teas: they have a much higher alcohol concentration (about 22%) than most highball drinks due to the relatively small amount of mixer. Long Islands can be ordered "extra long", which further increases the alcohol-to-mixer ratio.

Which cocktail combines Baileys Irish Cream and Sambuca?

When prepared properly, the Baileys and the Sambuca remain in two distinct visible layers due to the relative densities of the ingredients. Serve it straight from the shot glass!

Which cocktail is traditionally garnished with a Maraschino cherry on a stem?

A Manhattan is made with whiskey, sweet vermouth, and bitters. It's often stirred and strained into a cocktail glass, but it can also be served on the rocks in a lowball glass. The whiskey-based Manhattan is one of five cocktails named for each of New York City's five boroughs.

Which cocktail has a name associated with both a former queen of England and a former Hollywood starlet?

In the United States, the Bloody Mary is a common "hair of the dog" drink, reputed by some to cure hangovers due to its combination of a heavy vegetable base (to settle the stomach), salt (to replenish lost electrolytes) and alcohol (to relieve head and body aches). However, according to others, the alcohol only numbs the discomfort, and only rest, water, and electrolyte replacement can cure a hangover, with the amount of salt traditionally in a Bloody Mary being insufficient to have any real effect.

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