August 8, 2006

Six drinks invented in San Francisco

Quick, name something that was invented in San Francisco! You probably thought of Rice-a-Roni, and you’d be right. You’d also be right if you said the television, fortune cookies, the slot machine, bay windows, or any of these famous beverages:

  1. The Martini (maybe)
  2. The Cosmopolitan (probably)
  3. Irish Coffee (sort of)
  4. The Mai Tai
  5. The Mimosa
  6. Bloody Brigid

6 Responses to “Six drinks invented in San Francisco”

  1. The Happy Phantom said:

    So far as I can determine, San Fransisco has existed since 1776. Even if the creation of cool new window designs was their immediate priority, the numbers simply don’t add up here.

    The cottage I rent – bay windows and all – dates from the seventeenth century. A very short bit of googling revealed bay windows dendrochronologically dated to the fifteenth century. Something not quite right here…

    Oh, and the television? Not sure I agree with that, either. Having read a bit about it, I conclude you’re referring to Philo Farnsworth. Somewhat disingenuous to pick out one person from the hordes that contributed to the evolution of the ol’ gogglebox, simply because he fits in with the topic…

    Oh. And LA seems to have as much of a claim to to the fortune cookie – they lost out a bit due to a ruling frequently criticised as massively biased, and one that may yet be challenged. Not that I care much.

    Looks like you might have a point with the slot machine – but there’s still some debate as to whether Sittman and Pitt’s earlier machine – built in Brooklyn – should be counted.


    Sorry. Didn’t mean to go on quite so much – I was certain SF has no claim to bay windows, and checked the rest out on a whim.

  2. Joe Kissell said:

    HP: Thanks for your comments. We’ll have to disagree on the provenance of bay windows, the television, and the fortune cookie—my sources say SF, but if yours say something different, so be it. All that was really tangential to the point of the list anyway!

  3. The Happy Phantom said:

    Yeah, I know 😉 I’m not trolling, or anything – I’ve been quietly reading and enjoying IOTD for some time now – but the inner-pedant has to be satisfied…

    I can’t recall what I was reading earlier – just googling, really – but I’ll try to drum a lil’ something up…

    Windows: – search for ‘bay window’, second reference. Really, though, it’s like trying to find out who invented hats.

    Televisions: – not perhaps the best reference, but it does tend to suggest that one cannot, at any point, attribute the ‘invention of the television’ to any one specific individual. Seems to have been something of a group effort.

    Cookies: – look for ‘origins of the fortune cookie’. You’re probably right, but people are still arguing the toss.

    Slot machines: – go to the ‘history’ section. This is by miles the hardest point to argue, as most reasonable sources tend to suggest SF, but hey – you gots to try 😉

    That all said – good job with IOTD – love the new format, even if I miss the tattered charm of the old one a bit. Hope this new site works well for you.

  4. The Happy Phantom said:

    Obviously, ITOTD, not IOTD. I never meant to imply that there was no thought involved 😉

  5. Kate said:

    As a proud paddy I have to correct you on the invention of Irish Coffee.

    Irish Coffee was invented in Ireland in the early 1940’s, by Joe Sheridan at Shannon Airport, to warm up the cold passengers coming off the flying boats.

    (P.S. the article you reference also says this…)

    Love the lists…

  6. Joe Kissell said:

    Kate: You’re right: that article does say the drink was invented in Ireland. Perhaps I should have referenced this article, which basically claims that Irish Coffee was reinvented or, shall we say, reverse-engineered, in San Francisco based on recollections of the drink served at Shannon Airport.

    Glad you like the lists! Feel free to keep us on our toes.