This post is waaaaay overdue! Imagine that–you try to write about the staying power of 3 beloved ’80s cocktails, and life keeps getting in the way. From rodents in our attic to an upcoming root canal, there have been so many “real life” interruptions over the last two weeks, I need a cocktail now more than ever! So here goes… (note: click on the photos for more detail!)
I found the amazing 1980s invitations above (in their original packaging) through Etsy shop MADVintology, and they exuded timeless retro style. I knew a cocktail party was in order, and it was the perfect time to try out several drinks that I’d heard about but never actually enjoyed.
Speaking of, did you know that an ’80s cocktail revival is in the works?! As I began to research the drinks featured below, I found article after article talking about the return of ’80 favorites like the Long Island Iced Tea! With mixologists featuring complicated concoctions and speakeasy-style bars stealing the spotlight in recent years, it seems people are ready to return to the magic of “regular” drinks. But was anything really regular in the ’80s?!…
Much of the tableware in the shoot comes from IKEA’s AVSIKTLIG Collection (check out my full feature on these goods here). I also just HAVE to mention that today’s photo shoot was inspired by a 1985 Esprit catalog gifted to me by my dear friend Jon. Bring on the primary colors and Memphis-Milano motifs! Photos like the one below gave me endless inspiration in the realms of color and pattern:
So here’s what happened when I attempted to make three classic ’80s cocktails…
- 1 oz vodka
- 1 oz triple sec
- 1 oz lime juice
Combine ingredients in a shaker filled with ice. Pour, garish with a lime wedge, serve and enjoy!
I seriously didn’t expect this drink to be my favorite, especially since I resisted the urge to upgrade the triple sec to another orange liqueur. But wow–it really packs a punch and is quite refreshing! For me it was the right balance of sweet, tangy and boozy. And you can’t beat a 3-ingredient cocktail that consists of equal parts everything! Note that there ARE variations to this recipe, mostly involving greater amounts of vodka, so find the mix that works for you.
The Tequila Sunrise
The Tequila Sunrise
- 2 oz tequila
- 4 oz orange juice
- a dash of grenadine
Fill a tall glass with ice. Pour in the orange juice and tequila, then drizzle in the grenadine and watch as it sinks to the bottom and creates a gradient of vibrant color! Resist the urge to stir in the grenadine.
This is the showstopper of ’80s cocktails. I mean, come on: it looks like a Miami sunset!!! Unfortunately I made the terrible mistake of using really cheap tequila. So bad that I got nauseated just smelling the tequila. I can still smell it now and it haunts me as I try to fall asleep each night. While it may be possible to coast with cheap vodka, cheap tequila is a one-way ticket to pukesville. The moral of the story: this drink is as good as the tequila you use. Do. NOT. go. cheap!!! If you give this drink the ingredients it deserves, you can’t go wrong. If the liquor is good, the orange juice and grenadine are mere embellishments. Beautiful, ’80s-style embellishments!
The White Russian
The White Russian
- 1 oz vodka
- 1 oz kahlua
- 1 oz heavy cream
Fill a glass with ice. Add the vodka and kahlua, and top off with heavy cream (I used half and half).
Any Big Lebowski fans out there? Aside from being The Dude’s favorite drink, the White Russian actually enjoyed quite a bit of popularity in the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s (you know, before Jeff Bridges brought it back into favor circa 1998). Another easy-to-make cocktail that’s sure to please, although you will find variations involving more vodka! Again, find the mix that works for you. You’ll like this drink as much as you like Kahlua. Unfortunately I don’t seem to love Kahlua. But that doesn’t mean you won’t! A fabulous way to cap off the evening, this dessert-y cocktail is a true classic. As for me, I may try a version that adds (gasp) Bailey’s Irish Cream (this recipe intrigued me). Or I may come up with an alternative cocktail with fresh-brewed iced coffee and share it with you over the holidays! Stay tuned…
I can’t go before we talk about straws! You know those adorable striped paper straws that look like a carnival in plastic packaging? Aside from one photo I’ve seen from the ’80s, those were not the norm in the Decade of Decadence. Instead, think plastic straws, even the bendy kind. Seem cheap? Consider them to be true ’80s relics!
If you like the vases above, you’ll be glad to know they’re both easy-to-create DIY projects previously featured right here at Mirror80! Learn more about the black vase here and the white vase in this post. Cheers, and here’s to the return of “regular” drinks for regular budgets! XO, Kate
LOVE your site! I actually found it a few months ago when I was watching Three Men and a Baby for the 100th time and was looking for photos of the apartment. And YES to the Kamikaze.
Thank you, Danielle! It’s hard to top the set of Three Men and a Baby! So glad to meet another ’80s enthusiast…who enjoys Kamikazes!
That Tequila Sunrise is beautiful! All the photos look great! I last had one in high school & it definitely was made with cheap tequila so I would love to try a good one! Never had a Kamikaze but I am definitely interested.
Thank you so much, Laura! Hopefully we can both move past our initial Tequila Sunrise experiences and discover the true flavor of the drink! Thank you again for your kind words.