A-Z of Cocktails [M]

A-Z of Cocktails

From fact to legend, here are some of the (mostly) true tales behind your favourite tipples uncovered in the 'M' chapter of the Shorty's Liquor Book of Cocktails!


Carlos Herrera, a Tijuana restaurant owner in the 1930’s, supposedly crafted the world’s first Margarita for an aspiring actress by the name of Marjorie King. She was, it was rumoured, allergic to almost all alcoholic spirits except tequila, which she hated the harsh taste of! Looking to mask the flavour Herrera mixed it up with lime juice and Cointreau into a salty glass and said cheers!


From desperate beginnings come delicious drinks! The Mojito was supposedly invented as a solution to combat the horrific flavour of rotgut rum. Cuban farmers would add loads of fresh mint, sugarcane juice and lime to mask the poor base spirit used. It was popularized by Americans traveling to Cuba throughout prohibition and by author Ernest Hemingway from his time in Havana.

Moscow Mule

Believe it or not, the Moscow Mule has American roots. Owner of the Smirnoff brand, John Martin, was struggling to move his newly acquired spirit, so he teamed up with
friend and Sunset Boulevard restaurant owner Jack Morgan to come up with a vodka based cocktail to market to Americans, as well as helping to move Morgan’s own brand of ginger beer. It proved a successful marketing ploy and rode the vodka wave of the 40’s and 50’s to success.


There are as many variations on a classic martini (gin and vermouth with a lemon twist) as there are origin stories. In all likelihood it started out very much like a cocktail we call the Martinez (named after the town in California) which contains gin, vermouth, bitters and a maraschino cherry. The Martini is a stripped back version of the Martinez and is more about the gin and the technique (shaken or stirred, olive or twist).