Cocktails have a long and colourful history, and many of the drinks we sip on today were created more than 100 years ago. Mixed drinks have been around since the 1500s — mulled wine, sack posset and toddy were being consumed then. But, the term ‘cocktail’ was not coined till later.
There are many stories about its origin.
Myths & Legends
- Some say that it was derived from the Aztec goddess, Xochitl which means flower or that it might have been named after a Mexican princess also went by the same name and served drinks to American soldiers.
- In another myth, in 1779, Betty Flanagan, a real-life innkeeper at Four Corners north of New York City served French soldiers during in war a drink garnished with tail feathers of her neighbour’s rooster.
- A plausible myth might be that the word Cocktail may have been derived from a French word used to refer to an egg cup, coquetel.
- In New Orleans, Antoine Amedie Peychaud made a remedy for stomach problems and served it in an egg cake, called a coquetier in French. His American customers could not pronounce the word, so it became known as cocktail.
For a long time, there was a debate around the first appearance of the word “cocktail” but soon it was proved that it was first found in an 1798 edition of a London newspaper called the Morning Post & Gazetteer.
And the second time the word “cocktail” was used on May 13, 1806 in a New York newspaper called the Balance & Columbian Repository in a response to a reader’s query on an article. The newspaper also mentioned its definition, a cocktail was described as “a stimulating liquor, composed of spirits of any kind, sugar, water and bitters — it is vulgarly called a bittered sling.”
The latter appearance of the word “cocktail” along with its definition marked the biggest celebration day forever – WORLD COCKTAIL DAY.
Father of bartending
In the late nineteenth century, two huge figures produced books on bartending. 1862, Jerry Thomas published, “The Bartender’s Guide.” Mr. Thomas was popularly known as “The Professor” and is fondly referred to as the godfather of American bartending. His book has an interesting collection of some of the earliest recipes for homemade bar syrups, bottled cocktails and jello shots. In 1882, Harry ‘The Dean’ Johnson published, “The Bartender’s Manual”. His manual contained the earliest known reference to the gin martini, “stirred, not shaken”.
The world’s greatest classic bar shares its birthday with the WORLD COCKTAIL DAY
Today is also the birthday of Harry’s Bar in Venice. Right on the World Cocktail Day in 1931, Giuseppe Cipriani opened one of the world’s great classic bars. From Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald to Dorothy Parker, Harry’s has been a place of pilgrimage for cocktail enthusiasts passing through Venice.
Also, Harry’s is the creator of Bellini – yes, our perfect Sunday brunch cocktail!