Any event isn’t complete without alcohol. Even the simplest dinner party with friends could use a bit of lubrication – whether it’s wine, beer, or spirits. The fact is, alcohol can make or break an event. Without alcoholic beverages, a party can quickly become dull, boring, and lackluster.
For some individuals, however, plain alcohol or spirits isn’t enough. Perhaps they don’t like the taste, or would rather have it mixed with fruit or juice. Whatever the case, this could be one reason why cocktails were invented. But what do you really know about the cocktail? It would be interesting to find out.
What is a cocktail?
The word “cocktail” became clearly defined in 1806, when it first appeared in the history books. It defined a cocktail as a stimulating liquor comprised of different spirits, water, sugar, and bitters. When it comes to the ideal cocktail, this is the definition you are looking for. The cocktail’s modern definition, however, is slightly different – it is referred to as an iced drink of distilled liquor or wine which is mixed with flavouring ingredients. This definition can also refer to what we know as a mixed drink. But don’t confuse a mixed drink with a cocktail – a cocktail is a kind of mixed drink, but a mixed drink is not always a cocktail.
The history of the cocktail
The fact is, individuals have been mixing drinks for centuries. However, it was only in the 17th and 18th centuries that slings, toddies, juleps, and fizzes first became noticed by historians. Nobody really knows who the genius was who created the first cocktail. What’s clear is that the first cocktail recipe came out in print in 1831, and it was a recipe composed of a third of brandy, rum, or gin mixed with two-thirds water and bitters, enriched with nutmeg and sugar.
The origin of the word ‘cocktail’
Now this is where it gets a bit tricky. Many stories abound on where the word ‘cocktail’ first originated, and we cannot really say which of these stories are true. It’s up to you to decide.
A British newspaper called The Bartender published a story in 1936 that told about English sailors who, decades ago, were served mixed drinks in a bar in Mexico. These drinks were supposedly stirred with a cock’s tail, or Cola de Gallo in Spanish, which is a root that is similar in shape to the rooster’s tail.
A writer named George Bishop wrote a book entitled ‘The Booze Reader: A Soggy Saga of Man in His Cups’, published in 1965. In it, he says that the word cocktail came from the English word ‘cock-tail’, which referred to a woman who was desirable but impure, as she was of easy virtue. This then applied to the American habit of apparently bastardizing British gin with foreign ingredients or matter, which included ice.
The third story is the most popular, where the cocktail simply refers to the rooster’s tail which was used as a drink garnish during Colonial times.
Each story has its merits, but it is unclear which one of them is to be believed. However, this doesn’t change the fact that cocktails are needed in any event to make it successful. If you don’t have your own bar or can’t mix the drinks for your guests, you can always take advantage of the increasingly popular mobile cocktail bars, which bring a customised bar to your event, wherever you are.