Retro Cocktail Revival

Glassology semi finalist Carole Coelho and Libbey proudly present a collection of decorated glasses, which fit the upcoming nostalgia for the pop era (late ‘70s to early ‘90s).

Those decades of craziness and exaggeration seem to bring back old memories across a wide part of the world population. And cocktails are no exception.

In those times of excesses considered, by most bartenders, the dark ages of the cocktail scene, drinks should be colorful and eye-catching.

But, nowadays, innovative bartenders and mixology experts are reinventing some of the unloved retro cocktails.

Kitsch and tacky are currently synonyms of trendy.

Quote Carole Coelho

I’d like to take you back to a time of glittery disco balls and wild, decadent nightclubs. I want to help you recreate some of that era’s most famous cocktails, which back then were largely unloved and neglected, and as a result pretty plain and boring to be honest. But we’re going to spice things up a bit, upgrading the original recipes into something fit for today’s discerning public.

Like fashion, bartending is constantly changing, influenced by market trends and wider social movements. And today the 1970s and ’80s are trendy once again. So what better time to modernize the cocktails made popular in those decades and that now form an important part of our shared drinks history?

As bartenders, most of us started our careers preparing iconic cocktails such as the Tequila Sunrise, Piña Colada, Blue Lagoon, Long Island Iced Tea, Cosmopolitan, Sex on the Beach, Singapore Sling and many others.

But as you evolve as a bartender and move on to real mixology, you tend to leave those basic cocktails behind you and start to create your own recipes. Using homemade syrups, bitters, shrubs and infusions in your personal quest to produce the next classic cocktail.

But you don’t need me to tell you that being a bartender is also about entertaining your customers. So why not have a little bit of fun while preparing your drinks and share with your audience some of the joy we take as bartenders in the work we do?

These retro cocktails with a modern twist are super-fun to prepare and provide plenty of opportunity to be original and, in the best traditions of the ’70s & ’80s, create a party sensation. Only this time not on the dance floor, but on the palates of our customers.

Let’s get this party pumping!

Tequila Sunrise

This inescapable ’70s cocktail has you dreaming of summer holidays at the beach with temperatures as high as the blazing midday sun. Though it’s considered an extremely basic drink by the bartender community, I want to rejuvenate this classic by giving the original recipe a modern twist, elevating the palate sensations to something special.

Ingredients:

  • 4cl tequila Ocho
  • 0,5cl Disaronno
  • 0,5cl Aperol
  • 1cl agave syrup
  • 5cl fresh orange juice
  • 4cl fresh mango juice
  • 1cl fresh lemon juice
  • 1,5cl grenadine
  • 2 dashes peach bitters
  • ½ passion fruit

Method: Combine all ingredients (except the grenadine) into a cocktail shaker, add some ice cubes, shake and double strain into a tall glass. Top up with crushed ice and pour the grenadine over it.

Garnish: Decorate with ½ passion fruit and lemon thyme.

Cosmopolitan

An incredibly popular cocktail from the ’80s that went on to become a symbol of glamor and sophistication throughout the ’90s. There are lots of ways to reinvent the Cosmopolitan, such as using a gin base instead of the traditional vodka. But I want to give it a fun and fashionable makeover, by adding some agave syrup to the mix. While for the decoration I suggest some homemade cotton candy to melt inside the cocktail before drinking.

Ingredients:

  • 4cl vodka Ciroc
  • 1,5cl Cointreau
  • 3cl triple citric sour (lime, lemon and grapefruit)
  • 1,5cl agave and cranberry syrup

Method: Add all ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice cubes, shake and strain to a cocktail glass.

Garnish: Decorate with cotton candy sprinkled with red glitter sugar.

Blue Lagoon

It may be unloved by most bartenders, but you can give this typical ’80s cocktail a much-needed dash of modernity simply by replacing the traditional vodka with a blue-colored gin. But in this recipe I’ve gone a little further to give this simple cocktail a whole new dimension, with different flavors and unique taste sensations. Top up with blue citric foam to make it even more exuberant and colorful.

Ingredients:

  • 5cl gin Magellan
  • 10cl tonic water Fever Tree Mediterranean
  • Blue citric foam (with a base of Cointreau)

Method: Fill a tall glass with ice cubes and add all ingredients by layers inside the glass.

Garnish: Top up with blue citric foam (egg white, sugar syrup, Cointreau and blue food coloring)

Piña colada

Your only limit is your own imagination when it comes to reviving this sweet cocktail, which is considered the national drink of Puerto Rico but first gained global popularity back in the ’70s. Be bold and dare to make your own improved version. I’ve gone for a gourmet variant that I’ve adapted to the palate of the modern customer by using a new and complex pineapple-flavored rum, and topping things off with a homemade coconut foam.

Ingredients:

  • 5cl rum Plantation Pineapple
  • 9cl freshly squeezed pineapple juice
  • 1cl freshly squeezed lime juice
  • Coconut foam

Method: add all ingredients (except the foam) into a cocktail shaker and shake. Fill a large glass with ice cubes and strain the mix over the ice. Top up with the coconut foam (coconut milk, vegetable cream, coconut flower sugar and salt).

Garnish: add a thin slice of dehydrated baby pineapple on top.

Long Island Iced Tea

This retro cocktail, very popular in the ’80s, actually has no tea in its recipe at all. Its name comes from its resemblance in color to iced tea. Which is why I’ve decided to use a liquor of green tea and jasmine in my recipe, while also replacing traditional cola with a cola reduction. Finally, the use of premium spirits lifts the experience to another level, breathing fresh life back into this timeless drink.

Ingredients:

  • 1,5cl tequila Olmeca Altos reposado
  • 1,5cl vodka 6C
  • 1,5cl rum Plantation original dark
  • 1,5cl green tea and jasmin liquor Pekoe
  • 1,5cl gin Beefeater 24
  • 1,25cl freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1,25cl freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 3cl cola Fever Tree (reduction of cola and sugar)
  • 3cl water

Method: add all ingredients inside a soda siphon and serve into a large glass, previously filled with ice cubes. Top up the glass with crushed ice and decorate.

Garnish: Decorate with some fennel leaves and cola gummy candies.