Behind every great cocktail is a grand hotel... or at least that's the case with this classic. In the most widely accepted (but still not airtight) origin story of this NY cocktail, Waldorf=Astoria bartender Johnnie Solon invented the drink around 1900 after being challenged to do so by a customer. As for the name? Here's his explanation in The Old Waldorf-Astoria Bar Book 1935 Edition
I had been at the Bronx Zoo a day or two before, and I saw, of course, a lot of beasts I had never known. Customers used to tell me of the strange animals they saw after a lot of mixed drinks. So when Traverson said to me, as he started to take the drink in to the customer, 'What'll I tell him the name of this drink?' I thought of those animals, and said: 'Oh, you can tell him it is a "Bronx.""
A second version of this drink's pre-prohibition place on bar menus cites Bronx restauranteur Joseph S. Sormani for bringing the drink from Pennsylvania obscurity to national fame.
Whatever the case, if you want to channel your inner Bronx bomber, go grab some gin, vermouth and orange juice. Or, if you're feeling more of an allegiance to Queens, you can simply substitute the Bronx's orange with pineapple.
[Photo: Men's Bar at the Old Waldorf-Astoria Hotel via]