Cocktail History: Shaken, Not Stirred


Cocktail History: Shaken, Not Stirred

Ask anyone and we’re pretty sure they’ll tell you that they believe the cocktail originated overseas in the old US of A but research tells us this isn’t actually the case. We’re sure you’ll be delighted to hear that we can take credit for creating the cocktail concept here in Blighty and it dates all the way back to 18th Century London.

But what about the names and stories behind some of the best known and loved cocktails? This is a cocktail history lesson my friend.. You’ll find no vikings, royalty or wars here – just a couple of fun facts about a few of the most glamorous drinks in town. Store these facts away for your next pub quiz. We’re sure they’ll come in handy.

Tom Collins

The story of the Tom Collins cocktail is probably one of our favourites of all. Allegedly, the mixture of gin, lemon juice, sugar syrup and soda water was created in the US in1874. Around that time, a bunch of hoaxers began telling their comrades high tales of a bloke called Tom Collins spreading vicious rumours about them in specific New York watering holes. Ignited by fury that their honour was being besmirched across the city, these fellas high tailed it to hunt down Tom. When they asked for him at the bar, they were served with a refreshing long drink, much to their confusion.

Harvey Wallbanger

Yet another cocktail named after a gentleman, albeit a real one this time, the Harvey Wallbanger dates back to the 1950’s, despite gaining particular popularity in the 70’s. Allegedly, the Wallbanger was created by barman Donato “Duke” Antone at the Blackwatch Bar on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood, and owes it’s name to one of Duke’s regulars Tom Harvey. According to cocktail folklore, local surfer Harvey was a bit of a clumsy drunk and often found himself banging into tables, chairs, walls and generally making a bit of a mess after drinking Antone’s concoction of vodka, Galliano, and orange juice. Thus the name was born.

The Bellini

A delicate combination of fizz and white peach puree, the Bellini has seen a real rise in popularity over the past few years, but people have been enjoying them since the mid 1930’s. Though the exact date of creation is unknown, it’s said that Giuseppe Cipriani, founder of a famous and much loved bar in Venice named Harry’s Bar, started mixing up the fruity tipples sometime between 1934 and 1948. Giuseppe said that the colour of the cocktail reminded him of the colour of a saint’s toga in a painting by Italian Renaissance artist Giovanni Bellini and decided to name this concoction with a hat tip to the painter.

Long Island Iced Tea

Though there’s not a drop of tea in this, one of the most lethal cocktails of all time, the Long Island part of the name is significantly more accurate. With four spirits, it’s a favourite for when you want to create the mother of all hangovers but the Long Island Iced Tea was created relatively recently. Rosebud Butt, a bartender at the Oak Beach Inn in Hampton Bays, invented the drink in 1976 and with it has left a legacy of drunkenness behind.


As with most cocktails, debate rages over the exact origin of the mojito but it is believed this little tipple probably takes its name from mojo, which is the Spanish name of a Cuban sauce or marinade made with citrus fruit. Directly translated, a mojito is literally a “little mojo,” and we reckon it’s definitely been responsible for giving a few of our patrons a “little mojo” in it’s time, if ya know what we mean.

If this has whet your appetite for a cocktail, our bar staff are on hand to whip you up whatever you want. Talk to us about hosting a cocktail party or any other event at The Chapel Bar.

Our reviews

What a great night. Everything went brill! Your staff were superb. Completely unobtrusive but they managed to be very attentive at the same time. The food was great and the drinks flowed. Having the license for the balcony until 1 am was amazing. Everyone commented on what a great venue we had chosen so I can't recommend it is highly enough. Once again, many, many thanks.

Cheryl Walton

Great Success. Very helpful staff, very friendly security (this isn't very common) and everyone was really accommodating. I would highly recommend.

Chris Topper

We had our Wedding Reception at the Chapel Bar; what a fantastic night. The food was absolutely delicious with plenty for everyone, the bar and door staff were absolutely wonderful and the venue brilliant. We have received loads of excellent feedback about the venue, food and staff. Thank you so much for making our night such a memorable experience.

Mary & Allan Stewart

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