Great Homage Cocktails, Part 1

Great bartenders and mixologists are often inspired to create cocktails that honor the specific tastes and drinking habits of their regulars, especially when they are famous people. Some Hollywood legends—Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley, for example—didn't have habits that were well suited to creating cocktails; Sinatra loved Jack Daniels on the rocks, and that's it. Elvis was a big peanut butter and banana fan; tough ingredients to work with if you want something other than a silly umbrella drink.

In the recent past, bars have created signature cocktails to honor everyone from Taylor Swift to David Bowie to Tom Cruise to Pink Floyd, and the list goes on. Those are fun, but none of them have been around long enough to be considered established "classics." A few, however, like the three that follow, have definitely stood the test of time. They may not be common orders at your local watering hole, but they're worth trying when you're in the mood to sip a little something special from the past.

Charlie Chaplin
In the early years of the 20th century, Charlie Chaplin was the world's most famous funny man.  By 1915, he was an international cultural phenomenon and was earning an unprecedented salary of $10,000 per week. By 1919, he had co-founded his own film distribution company—United Artists—and controlled the creation, production, and marketing of all the films he made. 
This cocktail was first created in 1920, at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York City. This legendary hotel has actually been the home of many great cocktail innovations since it was founded in 1893.

The Charlie Chaplin


  • In a shaker with ice, combine:
    • 1 part Sloe gin
    • 1 part freshly squeezed lime juice
    • 1 part apricot brandy
    • *Optional: 1/4 part simple syrup, if you prefer cocktails on the sweeter side
  • Shake vigorously and strain into a chilled coupe

Winston Churchill
Britain's most famous Prime Minister was a well-known gourmand—he had a voracious appetite for the finer things in life, loved cigars and raw oysters, but he was not a huge fan of cocktails. He did, however,  love his wine, whisky, and his brandy. He often watered his whisky down, which he drank throughout the day (from breakfast—which regularly featured a bottle of Pol Roger champagne—onward) but he never watered down his brandy. 
Legendary Savoy Hotel Barman, Joe Gilmore, created this whisky-lover's cocktail in Churchill's honor. The Savoy today remains London's oldest surviving cocktail bar.


The Winston Churchill
  • In a shaker with ice, combine:
    • 1 1/2 oz. blended scotch whisky 
    • 1/2 oz. Cointreau
    • 1/2 oz. sweet vermouth (preferably Dolin rouge) 
    • 1/2 oz. lime juice, freshly squeezed
  • Shake and strain into a chilled coupe glass. Garnish with orange peel.
Marilyn Monroe
Like Chaplin, Elvis, and James Dean, images of Marilyn Monroe still evoke the grandeur and glamour of old Hollywood. Though she struggled all her life to be taken seriously as an actress, she eventually became a universal sex symbol and the embodiment of the idealized "good life."
This martini variation, created at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York City, is a cocktail homage to the world-famous actress, who had a special penchant for martinis and was also a legendary lover of champagne. 

The Marilyn Monroe
  • Ingredients
    • 3/4 oz. apple brandy
    • 1 teaspoon grenadine
    • 3/4 cup champagne or sparkling wine
    • 2 maraschino cherries
  • Directions
    • Shake the brandy and grenadine over ice and strain into a chilled martini glass. Top with chilled champagne and garnish with cherries.