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Retro cocktails

Retro Cocktails Deserve a Spot at Today’s Catered Events

Two-Martini lunches. Mint Juleps on Derby Day. Mai Tais on the beach. These iconic cocktails conjure up a simple and often more indulgent experience. (Tramadol) But they are making a comeback at many catered events and for a good reason. They were good back then, and they are just as satisfying today.

The Originals

As mixology trends tend to become more and more complex, a return to these tried-and-true cocktails is an excellent way for caterers to set the mood at any event. For instance, an Old Fashioned makes for an impressive New Orleans Cocktail to prepare, display, and serve. Made with bourbon, bitters, , simple syrup, muddled cherries oranges, Old Fashioneds are sweet and tart at the same time and pair well with heavier passed hors d’ourvres. Tom Collins is another throwback favorite that can please a crowd and is made with lemon juice, sugar, and gin (or vodka). These simple ingredients blend well and are perfect for a signature drink at your next event. Serving an Americano is a natural choice if you’re having an event with a Speakeasy theme. This retro cocktail dates back to prohibition and is a delicious blend of Campari, sweet vermouth, chilled club soda, and an orange and lemon twist.

Many Famous Retro Cocktails Were Born in New Orleans

Retro cocktails are nothing new in the Big Easy. Many were created and are still celebrated here. At Messina’s Catering and Events, we incorporate these classics into beverage service whenever possible, and they pair well with many types of catering menu items. The grasshopper is a perfect after-dinner drink, which gets its hue and flavor from crème de menthe. It was created in New Orleans in 1918 and became very popular throughout the South during the ’50s and ’60s.

The Sazerac was declared the official cocktail of New Orleans in 2008 and is credited as being one of the first authentic cocktails in America when apothecary Antoine Peychaud first created it at his shop at 437 Royal Street in 1828. It’s a stiff tribute made of rye whiskey, absinthe, and his famous Peychaud’s bitters. It’s so famous that New Orleans features a 3-story interactive museum featuring the cocktail called the Sazerac House where Messina’s Catering and Events is a preferred caterer.

The Sazerac

In 1888, Henry C. Ramos invented the Ramos Gin Fizz at the Imperial Cabinet Saloon on Gravier Street. It’s an indulgent mix of Gin, heavy cream, lemon juice, lime juice, simple syrup, egg white, and orange flower water.

More recently, the Hurricane Cocktail first blew into town at Pat O’Brien’s bar in the French Quarter in the 40s, where it’s still served to this day. According to the story, there was a glut of rum post-prohibition, and Pat and Charlie’s liquor distributor would only sell them other booze if they agreed to take 50 cases of rum they didn’t want. So, they concocted a mixture using a large amount of rum, passion fruit syrup, and lemon juice, and the rest is history. Still a French Quarter favorite!

In the 1940s, the Napoleon House in the French Quarter was the first to serve Pimm’s Cup, a concoction of mint, chopped fruit, lemonade, and a British gin-based liqueur called Pimm’s. Folklore has it that the owner of the Napoleon House was looking for a cocktail that was lower in alcohol so his patrons could pace themselves and stay and drink longer. Pimm’s Cup wasn’t invented in New Orleans; it’s a colonial inheritance from Great Britain.

A Perennial Favorite: The Martini

Legend has it that the world-famous Martini got its name from a bartender named Martini in New York in the early 1900s. Others say it was created by Martini & Rossi vermouth. Yet another bit of folklore says it was invented in California during the Gold Rush when a miner who had just struck it rich wanted to celebrate with champagne, but none was available. So, the bartender concocted a mix of gin and vermouth and served it chilled in a fancy glass. No matter who came up with this delectable concoction, it can be a superstar when served at your next catered event.

The original martini was a mix of five parts gin to one part dry vermouth. Later, vodka replaced gin in some martinis, and a myriad of flavors elevated this simple combination. There’s a dirty martini, which is the original concoction with some olive brine. (musicmundial) The other popular takes on the martini are the grapefruit martini, pomegranate Martini, espresso martini, chocolate martini, and just about any flavor component that you can attach a “tini” to its name.


No Matter the Retro Cocktail, New Orleans Caterer Messina’s Catering & Events Will Serve It in Style

A full-service caterer like Messina’s Catering and Events can help you plan the perfect cocktail(s) to complement your event’s catering menu. We can even suggest some modern twists on these classics to make them stand out even more. Learn more by visiting

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