Jim McCourt, Prohibition
Irish native Jim McCourt came up with this sassy citrus drink while bartending in New York. After a liquor rep dropped off a bottle of Cocchi Aperitivo Americano (pronounced “COKE-ey”), McCourt started experimenting with the Italian aperitif that’s made from a base of muscato with herbs, spices, and citrus. He added it and some basil to the classic Prohibition-era Bee’s Knees cocktail (gin, lemon, and honey syrup). “It wasn’t bad,” says McCourt, “but when a fellow bartender asked for vodka instead, it was perfect.” As he poured the concoction into small cordial glasses for some patrons to sample, one woman remarked on the tiny size of the drinks, and the “Itty Bitty” was born.