Making Music, Making Drinks

September 19, 2019

There’s a long association between beverages and songs — there are a lot of old country tunes about drinkin’, and Jimmy Buffett’s entire career is based on liking margaritas. Here are some times when musicians told the people what to drink…and they obliged.

“The Piña Colada Song” popularized the piña colada

The piña colada, a sweet, quasi-exotic blend of rum, coconut cream, and pineapple juice, originated in Puerto Rico in the late 1950s, but it didn’t find mainstream success in the United States outside of tiki bars until the late ‘70s. Sales of the drink skyrocketed at American bars in 1979 and 1980, a newfound popularity that can be attributed entirely to the #1 hit song “Escape (The Piña Colada Song)” by Rupert Holmes. That’s the one about the man who takes out a personal ad to have an affair, hoping to meet someone who likes “piña coladas and getting caught in the rain.”

Kenny G invented the Frappucino

The bestselling jazz artist in history: “smooth jazz” saxophonist Kenny G, who has sold 75 million albums  of his laid-back elevator music. Music has made Mr. Gorelick a very wealthy man, and he put some of that fortune to use as an early investor in Starbucks. Because he was also close to company leader Howard Schulz, the musician could influence the direction of the company. It’s Kenny G who gave Schulz the idea to put cold, blended drinks on its menu. He saw that it was a popular drink at the Los Angeles-based Coffee Bean, and he passed it along. Before long, Starbucks launched the Frappucino.

Rock n’ roll gave us the Tequila Sunrise

The Tequila Sunrise is one of the most famous cocktails in the world — pretty much any bartender can put together this layered drink of orange juice, grenadine, and, of course tequila, which winds up resembling a lovely dawn (or sunset). It’s a surprisingly new drink: Bobby Lozoff created it at the Trident, a bar in Sausalito, California, in 1972. Mick Jagger and Keith Richards stopped in one night, had some Tequila Sunrises, and helped spread its popularity. The drink secured a place in the collective consciousness in 1973, with the release of the Eagles song “Tequila Sunrise.”