What value lies in trademarking a cocktail? It depends who you ask.\r\n\r\nTropical Isle, a chain of bars in New Orleans, is the only place you can get a Hand Grenade\u00ae. There\u2019s pride in the ubiquitous nature of the drink in the city. \u201cEvery single Hand Grenade you see littering the streets of New Orleans is from one company,\u201d proclaims Tropical Isle\u2019s website.\r\n\r\nThe pristine sanctity of a Hand Grenade, which Tropical Isle describes as a \u201cmelon flavor drink\u201d with \u201clots of liqueurs\u201d and \u201cother secret ingredients\u201d is dubious at best. But when it comes to other trademarked cocktails like the Dark \u2019n\u2019 Stormy, Sazerac or Painkiller, integrity is often cited as the need for the drink\u2019s legal designation.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nThanks to the trademarks, these cocktails must be made with certain, brand-name ingredients. Gosling\u2019s Black Seal Bermuda Black Rum must be added to a Dark \u2019n\u2019 Stormy. Sazerac Rye Whiskey is required for a Sazerac. Pusser\u2019s Rum is mandatory for the Painkiller. Otherwise, they are merely cocktails inspired by the originals.\r\n\r\nTo the average person, this probably doesn\u2019t matter very much. The trademark holds more weight to businesses, which may be penalized for having made a Sazerac with any other rye.\r\n\r\nA trademark owner can issue a cease and desist letter to any establishment that doesn\u2019t abide by the drink\u2019s specifications.\r\n\r\nMalcolm Gosling Jr., of Gosling\u2019s Rum, says it\u2019s rare that the brand resorts to a cease and desist, but the company will protect its rights.\r\n\r\n\u201cIn order for a trademark to be effective, it must be maintained,\u201d says Gosling. \u201cIf the cocktail is misrepresented on a menu, we have found it is often an awareness issue. We will work with an account to fix the incorrect listing.\u201d\r\n\u201cThe trademark not only protects the integrity of the cocktail, it protects the consumer by ensuring they are actually getting a Dark \u2019n\u2019 Stormy.\u201d \u2014Malcolm Gosling Jr., Gosling's Rum\r\nBut it\u2019s virtually impossible to know how many people might be infringing upon your trademark, says attorney David Postolski. He specializes in intellectual property and patent law, and he\u2019s worked on a slew of food and drink patents.\r\n\r\nIn spite of this, the few brands that have stayed devoted to their trademarked cocktails believe it\u2019s crucial for maintaining the integrity of the drink.\r\n\r\n\u201cThe trademark not only protects the integrity of the cocktail, it protects the consumer by ensuring they are actually getting a Dark \u2019n\u2019 Stormy,\u201d says Gosling.\r\n\r\nFor a brand owner, there\u2019s confidence in having a strong, recognizable product, though Postolski warns that it can lessen with time.\r\n\r\n\u201cThe more your [trade]mark becomes generic, the more it loses power, becomes diluted,\u201d says Postolski.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nThis could explain why Jillian Vose, bar manager and beverage director at New York City\u2019s The Dead Rabbit, can\u2019t rattle off the short list of trademarked cocktails. None are on The Dead Rabbit\u2019s bar menu, though Vose is familiar with their basic formulations. She\u2019ll often use a classic cocktail\u2019s template to create a more modern interpretation.\r\n\r\nThe bar\u2019s take on the Dark \u2019n\u2019 Stormy, for example, is crafted from ginger syrup, fresh lime juice, Gosling\u2019s and soda water.\r\n\r\nAnd if she doesn\u2019t have Gosling\u2019s? \u201cI would use another blackstrap rum,\u201d says Vose. She doesn\u2019t believe the average person would detect the difference.\r\n\r\nVose means no disrespect to these classic trademarked cocktails. She respects them and the general way they\u2019re supposed to be made, she says. All she really cares about is how the drink tastes.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nThat\u2019s what the liquor companies that hold the trademarks claim, too.\r\n\r\n\u201cYou can make [a Painkiller] with Bacardi silver,\u201d says Gary L. Rogalski, president/CEO of Pusser\u2019s Rum, but \u201cit\u2019s not going to taste like the Painkiller as we know it.\u201d\r\n\r\nLikewise, Gosling says, \u201cyou can make a Dark \u2019n\u2019 Stormy with another rum, but it will completely change the drink. Not to say it changes for the worse. The main thing is, it does change.\u201d\r\n\r\nDaniel Djang, founder of cocktail and spirits blog Thirsty in LA, says he will gladly enjoy a Sazerac made with the city's \u201cofficial\u201d specs with Sazerac Rye, Herbsaint and Peychaud's when he\u2019s in New Orleans at a landmark bar such as The Sazerac Bar or The Carousel Bar.\r\n\r\nAnd yet, \u201cwith today's wide range of ryes, anise liqueurs and aromatic bitters, why should bartenders be limited to what one brand calls for?\u201d says Djang. \u201cMyself, I like bottled-in-bond workhorses like Old Overholt and Rittenhouse.\u201d\r\n\u201cPeople don\u2019t realize the responsibility of having a trademarked drink.\u201d \u2014Gary L. Rogalski, Pusser\u2019s Rum\r\nDjang says he\u2019s had countless Sazeracs, but he seriously doubts they were always made with Sazerac Rye.\r\n\r\n\u201cWill Sazerac swoop down on every bar that doesn't use their product in the Sazerac?\u201d says Djang. \u201cHasn't happened as far as I know.\u201d\r\n\r\nSazerac did not respond to a request for comment.\r\n\r\nPusser\u2019s, on the other hand, swooped down on a New York City bar named Painkiller in 2001. After Pusser\u2019s discovered the bar\u2019s namesake drink was not being made with Pusser\u2019s, the bar was forced to change its name. This garnered ill will in the bar community, according to Djang. A slew of publications covered the suit.\r\n\r\n\u201cWas it worth it?\u201d asks Djang. \u201cYou\u2019ll have to ask Pusser\u2019s.\u201d\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nRogalski defended Pusser\u2019s position. He cited the integrity of the drink: four parts pineapple, one part cream of coconut, one part orange juice and however much rum you like.\r\n\r\n\u201cPeople don\u2019t realize the responsibility of having a trademarked drink,\u201d he says.\r\n\r\nPerhaps the responsibility hints at why there aren\u2019t more trademarked drinks. Creativity around cocktails may be another.\r\n\r\n\u201cCocktails with spirits-only ingredients like a martini or Manhattan should be stirred, and you shake drinks with citrus like the daiquiri or margarita,\u201d says Djang. \u201cBut there are countless options for the base spirit and other ingredients, as well as their ratios.\u201d\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nDifferent versions of a daiquiri, margarita or even a Negroni can be fun and a little personal, too.\r\n\r\nThere\u2019s \u201cmarketing genius\u201d behind trademarked cocktails, says Vose, who maintains she just wants to make the best-tasting drinks she can. She\u2019d prefer to put a saline tincture in the margaritas she serves, but says she\u2019ll do a traditional salt rim if a customer wants it.\r\n\r\n\u201cThe pretentious bartender is a thing of the past,\u201d says Vose.