The History of Your (& Our) Favorite Cocktails

Have you ever been drinking your favorite cocktail and wondered how someone paired so perfectly together such delicious ingredients? Some of the most popular cocktails have incredibly interesting histories and origins.  This is true for the drink menu at The Fennec in downtown Birmingham too! Each of our drinks came to be in very unique ways, and ended up way better than anyone could have ever expected.


Gin and Tonic

The Gin and Tonic is one of the oldest cocktails in the entire world. In the 1700s, sea travel began to grow and trade across the Indian ocean was prevalent. Malaria was a huge problem for these sailors and quinine tonic was widely known as a preventative for the disease. The quinine mixture was apparently horrible tasting. To make the drink more bearable, the sailors used their rations of gin and lime and mixed it into the tonic. The Gin and Tonic was born!


Vodka Cran

The Vodka Cran that we know and love today was nicknamed many different things throughout its history. The drink was originally created as the ‘Red Devil’ and became a marketing ploy by Ocean Spray Cranberries who first published the drink in the 1940s and 1950s. Since the name ‘Red Devil’ never took off, the company advertised the drink in the New Yorker as the ‘Cape Codder’  in 1965. This name ties the Vodka Cran with Massachusetts and the Cape, because of their large cranberry industry. This name makes it a signature drink in the Northeast. Eventually it would spread to the entire United States, being nicknamed the Bog-Fog in parts of Florida. There are also hundreds of variations of this drink. By adding club soda, it becomes the Rose Kennedy cocktail. One could also add orange juice and peach schnapps to make it a Sex on the Beach.


Tequila Sunrise

Did you know that Tequila Sunrise was Mick Jagger and the Rolling Stone’s favorite drink? They stumbled upon the drink after it had made its way into San Francisco in 1972 at a bar named The Trident. This drink had been experimented on in the Bay area since the 1930s, but the Trident had remade it using orange juice, grenadine, and tequila. The band instantly fell in love with the drink, and as they toured all of America for the rest of ‘72, they ordered it in every city they visited. Not soon after, The Eagles named one of their songs after the cocktail. The album that this song appeared on, Desperado, was a huge hit and the drink became even more popular.


Fennec’s Jolene

The Fennec’s Jolene is named after Dolly Parton’s fabulous hit Jolene. Parton’s lyrics are heart wrenching and strong. The song is about a woman that Parton knows is incredibly desirable and beautiful. She begs for Jolene to stay away from her man as he is the only man that she has ever loved. Perhaps the most iconic stanza from the song:

Your beauty is beyond compare

With flaming locks of auburn hair

With ivory skin and eyes of emerald green

Your smile is like a breath of spring

Your voice is soft like summer rain

And I cannot compete with you


The Fennec’s Jolene mix of Stoli Vanil, White Cranberry, and Lime is exactly the kind of drink that Dolly describes. It is definitely like a breath of spring, and it is soft like summer rain. This drink is desirable and delicious. You may even talk about it in your sleep!


The Foxhole Lounge Annie Oakley

Annie Oakley was an iconic woman. Being a woman living in the late 1800s, she pushed outside of her zone and made a name for herself in a sport that was thought to be men only territory. She was a prodigy and at the age of 15 started showing talent with a rifle. She was an amazing sharpshooter and toured the country as a member of Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show. This drink encapsulates her history. The mix of Vodka, Honeysuckle, strawberry, basil, and lime was created to honor a female icon. It packs a mean punch but it is sweet and savory at the same time.


The Fennec’s Tupelo Honey

Van Morrison wrote the song Tupelo Honey in honor of his wife Janet. The song encapsulates the bliss that he has experienced in his life since marrying her. The lyrics describe how simple and natural love can be. It is a simple song about being in love. Morrison says it best:

She’s as sweet as tupelo honey

She’s an angel of the first degree, she’s an angel

She’s as sweet as tupelo honey

Just like honey, baby, from the bee

When mixing Jack Daniel’s Honey, Ginger Beer, Lime, and Honey Syrup, it conjures the same feeling that Morrison sings about in the song. It is a beautiful and affectionate love and you will definitely feel it when you take a sip of The Fennec’s Tupelo Honey.