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The Quirky World of Unforgettable Cocktail Names

The most bizarre cocktail names since they were first poured

Not all drinks are lucky enough to have simple names like Vodka and Soda or Rum and Coke. Reading a cocktail menu is often a journey through the weird and wacky. These wild monikers aren’t even guaranteed to describe what’s in the glass; the names are either related to something culturally significant or the effects the drink might have on the drinker. And some names are chosen to entice patrons to order a drink with a provocative title just for a sip and a giggle.

A lonely island lost in the middle of a foggy sea

This powerful portable has to be in the running for the longest named cocktail ever. A Lonely Island Lost in the Middle of a Foggy Sea appeared on the menu at Three Dots and a Dash, a famous Chicago tiki bar. The dark name belies the carefree flavors of the ingredients, which are listed as a combination of pineapple and lime juice with cold brew coffee, syrup made from demerara sugar, and three types of rum. With so many elements keeping each other company in the shaker, it’s hard to imagine this drink being lonely.
As for the origins of such a descriptive name, there can be no inspiration other than craft cocktail creativity. Other drink names on the Three Dots and a Dash menu include House Without a Key, Vibe Patrol, Aloha Felicia #2, and Poblano Escobar. No matter where it comes from, it’s fun to imagine customers trying to recite the entire name of A Lonely Island Lost in the Middle of a Foggy Sea without getting the words out of order, especially by the second or third round. Seeing that happen in real life is bound to be a riot.

Death in the Afternoon

It’s not exactly a funeral drink, but with a name like Death in the Afternoon, maybe it should be. This darkly named concoction was created by none other than Papa himself, Ernest Hemingway (via Difford’s Guide). The adventurous writer offered his bold concoction to “So Red the Nose, or Breath in the Afternoon,” a collection of drink recipes from famous writers published in 1935. The combination of a jigger of absinthe in a flute of champagne was a testament to Hemingway’s toughness. Absinthe is a notoriously strong spirit, and the recommendation in the author’s list was to consume three to five of these dastardly drinks in one sitting.
Hemingway didn’t come up with the formula on his own. According to the note on his page in the collection, he and three fellow sailors came up with it after a harrowing seven-hour effort to free a fishing boat stuck on a bank. Anyone brave enough to follow in Papa’s footsteps can try this aptly named glass of danger for themselves now that absinthe has made a resurgence on the craft beverage scene. Any adventures that may occur before or after will be considered coincidental.

Horse Feather

The whimsical term “Horsefeathers” is a nostalgic old slang term meaning nonsense or foolishness, which made it an apt title for the classic 1932 Marx Brothers film. But the term also refers to planks used by roofers to cover wooden roofs before applying asphalt shingles (via World Wide Words). It’s more likely that the Horsefeather cocktail got its name from the popular definition than the building material, though if you drink enough of them, you might be ready to re-shiny your roof.
The drink itself is a mix of ginger fizz, lemon essence, rye whiskey, and Angostura bitters. Apparently, the formula for the Horsefeather is a variation of another funnily named drink – the Horse’s Neck – itself a mix of bourbon, bitters, and club soda that has been around since the 1800s. In modern cocktail culture, the Horsefeather appeared in the 1990s, substituting ginger beer or ginger ale for the club soda, though the mix is similar enough to explain the use of the word “horse” in the name as a tipsy tribute.

Dirty Monkey

If a drink has bananas, pineapple juice, and crème de coco as ingredients, it makes sense to name it after a jungle creature. Calling this drink “dirty” works best when there’s booze in the glass, which there is – a dash of banana and coffee liqueur – along with a dose of rum. Pulse it all in a blender with ice until it’s frothy and smooth, pour it into a hurricane glass, top it off with a generous dollop of whipped cream and a gleaming maraschino cherry, and you have what is known in the cocktail world as a Dirty Monkey.
The Dirty Monkey is a tropical delight that combines creamy flavors with the sweet and tangy notes of banana and pineapple. It’s a popular choice for those who like to indulge in fruity, dessert-like cocktails. The name itself adds a playful touch, evoking images of mischievous monkeys swinging through the jungle.

Other bizarre cocktail names

While the Lonely Island Lost in the Middle of a Foggy Sea, Death in the Afternoon, Horsefeather, and Dirty Monkey are just a few examples of the most bizarre cocktail names, there are countless others that have captivated cocktail enthusiasts with their peculiar monikers. Exploring the world of cocktails often means coming across whimsical and fascinating names that can spark curiosity and intrigue.
Some other notable examples include the Zombie, a potent rum-based cocktail that packs a punch; the Corpse Reviver No. 2, a classic cocktail believed to cure hangovers; and the Monkey Gland, a classic cocktail named after a controversial medical procedure. These names reflect the creativity and imagination of mixologists who strive to create memorable experiences through their craft.

The allure of bizarre cocktail names

So why do bartenders and mixologists choose such unusual and sometimes outrageous names for their creations? One reason is to grab attention and stand out in a crowded marketplace. With countless cocktails competing for recognition, a distinctive name can help a drink make a lasting impression on customers.
Quirky cocktail names also add an element of fun and intrigue to the drinking experience. They invite customers to explore new flavors and step outside their comfort zones. The unexpected nature of these names can spark conversation and create memorable moments shared with friends and fellow cocktail enthusiasts.
In addition, the naming process allows mixologists to showcase their creativity and personality. Creating a unique cocktail is about more than selecting ingredients; it is about telling a story and evoking emotions. Whimsical names provide mixologists with a canvas to express their individuality and create a sense of wonder.

Bottom line

The world of cocktails is full of surprises, and the names of these libations often add an extra layer of intrigue. From the Lonely Island Lost in the Middle of a Foggy Sea to Death in the Afternoon, Horsefeather, and Dirty Monkey, these bizarre cocktail names are a testament to the creativity and imagination of mixologists.
Whether you’re a seasoned cocktail aficionado or a curious newcomer, exploring the world of bizarre cocktail names can be a delightful adventure. So raise your glass and toast to the odd, the whimsical, and the downright bizarre cocktail names that continue to tantalize our taste buds and spark our imaginations. Cheers!


Bizarre cocktail names are those that are unconventional, unexpected, and often unrelated to the drink’s ingredients or flavors. They can be inspired by cultural references, wordplay, or simply designed to grab attention and pique curiosity.

Why do mixologists choose such unusual names for their cocktails?

Mixologists choose unusual names for their cocktails to stand out in a crowded marketplace and capture the attention of customers. These names add an element of fun and intrigue to the drinking experience, encouraging customers to try new flavors and create memorable moments.

Are bizarre cocktail names a new trend?

No, wacky cocktail names have been around for a long time. Ever since cocktails were first poured, mixologists have come up with unique and eccentric names for their creations. Some classic cocktails with unusual names have become staples on drink menus.

Do cocktail names reflect their flavor or their ingredients?

Not always. Bizarre cocktail names often have little to do with the actual taste or ingredients of the drink. Names may be chosen for their cultural significance, the effect the drink may have on the drinker, or simply to attract attention and interest.

Can you give us some other examples of bizarre cocktail names?

Absolutely! Some other examples of bizarre cocktail names include the Zombie, Corpse Reviver No. 2, Monkey Gland, Harvey Wallbanger, and Rusty Nail. These names showcase the creativity and imagination of mixologists in naming their unique concoctions.

What is the appeal of bizarre cocktail names?

Bizarre cocktail names add an element of intrigue, fun and conversation to the drinking experience. They help create a memorable and unique atmosphere, inviting customers to explore new flavors and engage in discussions about the origins and meanings behind the names.

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