I’m always conflicted about naming new cocktails. Some days, I worry that I’m going to choose something that someone’s used before and that my cocktail will lose any comparison between them and disappear into the long evening of forgotten drinks. Some days, I don’t.
The naming of things is important, especially in a field where so many new creations emerge so often. There can’t be that many cocktails that have gained widespread popularity because of their name – at least, when compared to those that have managed it in spite of their name; yes, shooters, I’m looking at you – but some of the classics just fit. Whoever first named a Cosmopolitan deserves a biscuit, because the name fits the drink so well. For an Old-Fashioned, the name works because the drink is.
Then again, there are those drinks with a story behind the name. I love the story behind the naming of the Sidecar – it was the favourite drink of an Army officer who always arrived at the bar in a motorcycle sidecar. It’s easy to trace the path from “one for the guy in the sidecar” to simply “sidecar”, but if I try it with the regulars at work, I’ll end up calling a glass of white wine a Creepy Old Italian Dude. I’m also particularly fond of the various claims on the Margarita – not necessarily any particular story, just the fact that there are about a dozen with most of them involving either a Margaret or a showgirl.
Leaving the showgirls behind, there’s something to be said for comedy names. I’ve got no love for the Sloe Comfortable Screw school, but I can get behind a malt whisky cocktail called It Came From Outer Speyside, or the bartender who presented a Manhattan with Monkey Shoulder at a competition and called it King Kong.
As for my entry to the Bacardi Legacy competition, I thought I’d not go too wild. I figured that I would try to link the name to the ingredients I’d used – honey, hot sauce, Bacardi. Rejects included:
Bee Sting (drink’s not sharp enough)
Killer Bee (fairly certain that’s taken, anyway)
Ring of Fire (gentlemen, start your diarrhea jokes)
Worker’s Daiquiri (uh, Bacardi left Cuba when Castro came to power)
In the end, I chose to brave the treacherous waters of Google Translator, and came up with Reina de Fuega, which I’m 85% sure means Queen of Fire in Spanish. I think it fits the drink. Now, here’s hoping it stands out.