KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — The City of Knoxville is set to celebrate the 40th anniversary of hosting the 1982 World’s Fair. The city’s most visible symbol, the Sunsphere, was built for the occasion and organizers marked the celebration with a special cocktail served exclusively inside the iconic landmark.

In honor of the event’s theme, “Energy Turns the World,” the 266-foot tall structure was designed as a monument to the sun and offer panoramic views of the surrounding landscape. Fast food service was offered at the base of the tower with a VIP dining area on the second level and the Sunsphere Restaurant occupying the third and fourth floors.

The Sunsphere Restaurant was the only place where visitors could enjoy the event’s signature cocktail: the Bacardi Sunburst.

The recipe and other historic items are currently on display in the Calvin M. McClung Historical Collection at the East Tennessee History Center. The specialty beverage was even served in a special commemorative glass.

  • Crushed ice
  • 1.5 ounces of Bacardi light rum
  • 1 ounce of Nassau Royale liqueur
  • 1 splash of grenadine
  • 1 squeeze of lime
  • Fill glass with orange juice
  • stir and garnish with cherry, an orange slice and lime wedge

“The president and manager of operations for Bacardi Imports actually visited the fair and was there for the launch of the Sunburst cocktail. He had one of the first Sunburst cocktails and he and his family toured the fair.” said Sue Ann Reese, reference assistant for the Knox County Public Library.

Reese researched the history of the drink as part of the anniversary. She said she hasn’t tasted the drink but plans to mix up a batch for celebrations this weekend.

An interactive, one-of-a-kind exhibit about the 1982 World’s Fair is ongoing through October 9 in the Rogers-Clausen Feature Gallery at the East Tennessee History Center on Gay Street in Knoxville.

The 1982 World’s Fair featured exhibits from 22 countries and garnered visits from more than 11 million visitors over the six-month period. President Ronald Reagan spoke at the event’s opening ceremonies and performers included Johnny Cash, Ricky Skaggs, Loretta Lynn and Conway Twitty.