Signature drinks often incorporate local ingredients and culture. They can be fashioned or designed to represent a theme or color. Many cultures, states, cities, restaurants, bars, etc. have Signature drinks that represent the customs and prides of the people who live in the area or near the establishments boasting the unique beverage.
Signature drinks have a long and colorful history and were being invented well before the 21st century. Signature cocktails are most often designed after the spirit produced in the country where the drink is coming from. Stories exist for many alcoholic beverages including vodka, gin, tequila, bourbon, and liqueurs of all kinds.
An example of a Signature drink being concocted with a particular liquor is rum and the Mojito. Historians suggest that the Mojito came about when slaves working in the fields in the late 19th century invented it, using guarapo, rum and lime juice. Although this story seems to be related to, or more likely, confused with the origin of the daiquiri, another popular Cuban drink. Another popular legend is that an English pirate, an associate of Sir Francis Drake, concocted a beverage similar to the Mojito whilst in Havana by mixing aguardiente, sugar, lime, and mint as a cure for the scurvy and dysentery plaguing the ship's crew. Shortly after, a cocktail known as “El Draque,” which was made with similar ingredients, became popular in Cuba.
An example of a Signature drink designed for an establishment is the Bellini. It was concocted by Giuseppe Cipriani, the bartender and owner of Harry’s Bar in Venice, Italy. Italian white peaches were one of Cipriani’s favorite fruits, but were only available from June to September. In a moment of inspiration he created this refreshing summer beverage by combining the fresh white peaches with prosecco. He named his cocktail after Giovanni Bellini, a famous Italian painter from the late 15th century.
Signature drinks have become increasingly popular in today’s social climate. As various individuals, restaurants, etc. strive to create a distinction from others or their competitors, the signature drink has taken hold as a new opportunity to enhance the experience a patron might have when visiting an establishment that has created a signature drink.
In the special events industry, the signature drinks phenomenon has taken quite a hold. An original concoction introduces the opportunity to spread a color theme into the bar area. At wedding receptions and events of all kinds, it is possible to serve a signature drink in lieu of offering an entire bar, thus saving money. In particular with wedding receptions, couples are choosing a Signature drink designed especially for them. The drink reflects their personal tastes and also helps spread their theme and color throughout the room matching the reception décor. Many companies, such as Wedding Ideas Now, assist couples with the formulation of signature drinks.
The idea of flavored spirits has really caught on. Many liquor companies are coming out with all sorts of versions (different flavors) of their original spirit. With signature drinks it is customary to infuse the liquor yourself, therefore creating a truly remarkable and unique concoction. The use of fruit infused liquors is probably the most widely recognized having such a wide range of fruits to choose from. Also the vibrant colors of individual fruits add to the drink’s personality.
The use of herbs to infuse spirits has created an entirely different line of cocktails. These herb-infused drinks tend to be more savory then sweet and lend a very different taste to the occasion. The use of Basil, Rosemary, Sage, Tarragon, Thyme and Mint are becoming delightfully commonplace in the drink arena. Edible flowers, floral extracts, and floral-based spirits are occasionally incorporated. Edible flowers like Anise Hyssop, Carnation petals, Lavender, Rose petals and Violets will add complex floral or vegetative elements to mixed drinks. Syrups and extracts infused with petals and stems incorporate a more concentrated flavor of the blossoms to cocktails. Floral garnishes infuse the cocktail aroma with a stronger floral note and add beauty to the presentation.
The purpose of the United States Bartenders’ Guild (USBG) is to improve customer-bartender relations and increase the prestige and knowledge of practicing bartenders. They host an annual bartending competition where bartenders are given the task of creating unique drinks. USBG members also participate in many other events and competitions during the year.
The World Barista Championship is a premier competition that consists of the winners of the National Barista Championship. These contestants are challenged to make twelve coffee beverages, four of which are signature drinks.
Tales of the Cocktail is the largest festival of its kind and is dedicated to the advancement of the craft of the cocktail through education, networking and promotion. The festival is held annually in New Orleans, LA. Dale DeGroff, King Cocktail, is a master mixologist and has been a presenter at this event.
- Miron, A.; Brown, D.R. (2006). The Professional Bar & Beverage Manager's Handbook: How to Open and Operate a Financially Successful Bar, Tavern, and Nightclub. Atlantic Publishing Group. p. 333. ISBN 978-0-910627-59-7.
- Rathbun, A.J. (2007). Good Spirits: Recipes, Revelations, Refreshments, and Romance, Shaken and Served with a Twist. Non Series. Harvard Common Press. p. 324. ISBN 978-1-55832-336-0.
- Who Really Invented the Mojito?. theculturetrip.com. Retrieved 29 November 2019.
- “Bellini, Giovanni” Encyclopædia Britannica, 1958, vol. 2, pp. 76-78
- Personal Interview with Patrice, Arranged by Patrice Wedding and Event Design
- Wedding Ideas Now, Signature drinks Book Archived 2011-08-25 at the Wayback Machine
- Team Vida
- Shelley Waugh. "Signature Wedding Drinks" Archived 2011-10-21 at the Wayback Machine
- United States Bartenders' Guild
- Tales of the Cocktail