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Happy World Cocktail Day!!

May 14, 2009

(By some Internet hiccup, this post seems to have appeared a day late.  Hope everyone had a good time anyways.  –Chris)

drink 025Yes, just a mere 103 years ago today, the word “cocktail” was first published.  A cocktail is defined as any spirit combined with sugar, water and bitters. 

How about a little Q&A about this libation: 

Where did  word “cocktail” come from?  Who knows.  There are as many stories to the origin of the word cocktail as there are recipes for cocktails.  Here are a few of the stories.

Was the first cocktail made in 1806?  No, I garuntee that the combination of spirits, sugar, water, and bitters happened long before 18o6.  However this was the first time this combination was referred to as a cocktail.

Is the cocktail an American invention?  The word cocktail was first published in America, but the is virtually no way of knowing who first combined the ingredients that now define a cocktail.

What was the first cocktail?  Again, no way to know.  All we know is the when the word first appeared in print whcih was in the Balance and Columbian Repository, published in New York, on May 13, 1806.

cocktail2_01Unfortunately,  cocktail has come to encompass any mixed drink, even beer, much like anything put in that wonderful  stemmed triangular shaped glass is referred to as a “martini”.   And though there may be room for expansion to its definition, I do ask that when we all make a effort to refer to specific drinks as cocktails only when the ingredients meet the original criteria. 


So tonight sit back with your favorite cocktail, and give a toast to our lovely libations of spirit, bitter, sugar and water.

Happy World Cocktail Day!   

For more information check out the Museum of the American Cocktail



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