What’s in it: Scotch, vermouth and bitters
Its namesake: Rob Roy McGregor was an outlaw hero in the Scottish Highlands. After fighting in the rebellion against King William III, he turned to a successful business in trading cattle with the Duke of Montrose as his patron. After Roy failed to repay a loan, the duke declared him a thief and evicted his family from their ancestral lands. Thus Roy began his vendetta against Montrose by raiding the duke’s lands, and his reputation as a Scottish Robin Hood grew.
Long before Liam Neeson played Roy on the big screen, the Scottish hero’s life was a popular subject. He was a lead figure in a historical novel by Scottish writer Walter Scott and appeared in passages written by William Wordsworth. But it was a musical that gave way to the cocktail. Rob Roy was a romantic comic opera by Reginald De Koven that opened on Broadway in 1894. In those days, new drinks were often named after successful shows, hence the invention of the Rob Roy at a hotel near the theater, the original Waldorf Astoria location on Fifth Avenue where the Empire Building stands today.
What’s in it: White peach puree and Prosecco
Its namesake: Fifteenth-century painter
Giovanni Bellini was a leading force in Venice during the Renaissance who experimented with new techniques. The master was known for his religious paintings and his use of color. In his later years, he founded a school where Titian was his student.
In 1948, hotelier and restauranteur Giuseppi Cipriani experimented with the Italian tradition of marinating peaches in wine by mixing sparkling wine with white peach puree. The color of the drink reminded him of a Bellini painting, and so he named the cocktail after the painter. It became the signature drink at Harry’s Bar in Venice, a celebrated landmark opened by Cipriani in 1931 and frequented by celebrities such as Ernest Hemingway, Charlie Chaplin, Orson Welles, Truman Capote and Woody Allen.
What’s in it: Lemonade and iced tea
Its namesake: Arnold Palmer is considered one of golf’s greatest players who dominated the sport in the ’50s and ’60s. His skill and charisma won over thousands of fans and made golf popular, with an assist from the advent of television. “In a sport that was high society,” broadcaster Vin Scully said, “he made it ‘High Noon.’ According to a 1961 Sports Illustrated article naming him Sportsman of the Year, Palmer’s ability to sink winning shots gave way to a new golfing term: “to Palmer.”
Legend has it that Palmer was in the habit of drinking lemonade mixed with iced tea, and when fans, who called themselves Arnie’s Army, overheard his order they followed suit. The drink, also known as half and half, has endured ever since, but it wasn’t until 2000 that Palmer profited from it. That year three friends drew up a business plan to mass produce the drink and presented it to Palmer’s management team. After getting the go-ahead, they partnered with AriZona Beverage Company to make and distribute the product. Arnold Palmer Tee is now sold in stores across the country.
What’s in it: Ginger ale, orange juice, grenadine and a maraschino cherry as a garnish
Its namesake: Shirley Temple was the first child superstar who was earning $50,000 per film by the time she was seven years old. She won audiences over with her trademark curls and dimples, and is known for the film classics Heidi, Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm and The Little Princess. After Hollywood, she moved on to politics and served as a diplomat for the United Nations.
There are competing stories about the invention of the mocktail named after the child actress. Some claim it was created at The Royal Hawaiian Hotel in Honolulu in the 1930s, because Temple was a frequent visitor there with her family. Others say it was created by a bartender at Chasen’s in Beverly Hills, a restaurant frequented by Hollywood types such as Walt Disney, Cary Grant, Marilyn Monroe and, of course, Shirley Temple. A bartender there is said to have whipped up the drink when the child star requested a non-alcoholic cocktail.