Hurricanes, Juleps and Other Refreshing Southern Drinks

The Southern U.S. has many unique characteristics that distinguish it from the rest of the nation. Among the most familiar being classic “Southern” hospitality.  Another, often underappreciated southern “specialty” is its long history of inventing and perfecting the many Southern drinks.

“A lot of these drinks feature fresh fruit,” says a spokesperson for Mountain Air Cabin Rentals, “and they’re pretty refreshing, especially after a long day sightseeing in the Southern heat. They can also be made without alcohol, so the kiddos can also have a tasty drink.”

Following are some of the most popular Southern drinks, and a few that might not be as well-known, but they certainly should be.

The Mint Julep

This bourbon cocktail is long associated with the iconic Kentucky Derby, another Southern mainstay. While the origins of the mint julep aren’t definitive, it’s thought to have originated in the south during the 18th century and brought to Washington D.C. by Henry Clay.

What we do know for sure is that the drink was first served regularly at the Greenbrier Hotel & Resort in White Sulphur Springs, West Va. This historic resort has been attracting presidents, world leaders and celebrities since the late 1700s, earning world renown for its natural mineral springs, luxurious accommodations and beautiful surroundings.

The Hurricane

Perhaps no city exemplifies the “South” more than New Orleans, home of Mardi Gras, the French Quarter, Bourbon Street, jazz, Cajun cuisine, and numerous popular Southern drinks, including the Hurricane.

This concoction of rum, passion fruit, and lemon juice is credited to local tavern owner Pat O’Brien who found himself with a surplus of rum during the 1940s. The drink’s name originates from the distinctive “hurricane-lamp” glasses in which they were originally served.

The Vieux Carre

The Vieux Carre (“Old Square” in French)  is another famous Southern drink with a New Orleans origin. This smooth blend made its debut in the 1930s and consists of vermouth, rye whiskey, cognac, Benedictine and bitters.

Ramos Gin Fizz

Particularly popular during Mardi Gras is yet another New Orleans favorite, and one of the oldest: the Ramos Gin Fizz.

invented in 1888 by the Imperial Cabinet Bar’s Henry C. Ramos. It reportedly, became so popular during 1915 Mardi Gras that 35 bartenders were kept busy at Ramos’ Stag bar, and were still unable to meet the demand.

The Grasshopper

Another long-time New Orleans favorite is the Grasshopper. It was invented by Philibert Guichet sometime between 1919 and the mid-1920s.

A favorite of both novice imbibers and “little ‘ol Southern ladies,” the Grasshopper consists of creme de menthe, creme de cacao and cream; it’s name owing to its distinctive green color.

The Alabama Slammer

This is a relatively “new” cocktail, created in 1975. No one knows for sure who invented it, but some say it was first shaken at the University of Alabama. The drink consists of Amaretto, Sloe Gin, orange juice, and Southern Comfort.

It is sweet, colorful, refreshing (and potent), the Slammer is a favorite during fall football Saturdays when the state’s beloved Crimson Tide take to the gridiron.

The Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge region of Tennessee is one of the most popular family-friendly vacation spots.  

After a long day exploring The Great Smoky Mountains, Dollywood or the Pigeon Forge Hollywood Wax Museum, relax on the veranda at your Mountain Air Cabin Rentals cottage with one of these taste Southern drinks.