Cocktail is a drink made by mixing one or two liquors, mainly with fruit juices, water, ice, sugar, honey and bitters. Herbs, cream and milk are also added to the drink sometimes, to enhance its taste. Liquors like gin, whisky, vodka, beer, wine, rum and brandy are commonly used to make cocktails. The history of cocktail, which was originally a mixture of distilled liquor, water, sugar and bitters, dates back to a couple of centuries. Want to know more? If yes, them read on to get some interesting information on the background and origin of cocktails.
Interesting Information On Background & Origin Of Cocktail
The history of cocktail dates back to the nineteenth century. The earliest reference to the term 'cocktail' has been found in an American magazine 'The Balance', published in May 1806. It stated that "cocktail is a stimulating liquor, composed of spirits of any kind, sugar, water and bitters". According to the historical records, 'martini' was one of the first cocktails prepared in California, which is considered to be the birthplace of the beverage. The American recipe for the drink was formulated in 1862. Four parts of sweet red vermouth and one part of gin were blended together, to form martini, which was garnished with cherries.
Popularity Of Martini
It is believed that Professor Jerry Thomas, a bartender of the old Occidental Hotel in San Francisco, prepared martini (cocktail) for a gold miner, when he was on his way to Martinez, in California. The recipe for cocktail mentioned in 'Bartender's Guide' (1887), by Jerry Thomas, consisted of Old Tom gin, sweet vermouth, a dash of maraschino and bitters, as well as a slice of lemon and two dashes of gum syrup as the ingredients. By the beginning of 1900, martini had gained immense popularity nationwide. It spread to other parts of the country as well. This marked the beginning of the golden period of cocktails.
Prohibition In USA
Some of the cocktail recipes prevalent in the present times were invented in the days of 'Prohibition' in USA, a period extending from 1920 to 1933. The National Prohibition Act became the 18th Amendment to the United States Constitution, on 16th January 1920. According to the Act, the sale, transportation, import and export of 'intoxicating liquors' (such as cocktail) was illegal. However, the public still gained access to the 'illegal substances', as they were generously sold at speakeasies. Liquor was relished on, at private parties as well.
The Prohibition period in USA saw the mushrooming of gangsters in the country, who concentrated on bootlegging. They smuggled crudely produced hooch and also produced and sold liquor, illegally. During this time, cocktails were served in the illegal bars, parties and the clubs of major American cities. Soon, Chicago became a hub for gambling, booze and prostitution. The mastermind behind the illegal activities in Chicago, during Prohibition, was a notorious criminal - Al Capone. He has been recorded as one of the biggest illegal manufacturers of liquor.
Birth Of Margarita
The period between 1934 and 1959 is said to be the time, when enticing cocktail recipes were invented. One of the most popular cocktail recipes - Margarita - originated in the early 1948. As per historical records, in 1948, Margarita Sames hosted a poolside Christmas party at her vacation home in Acapulco, Mexico. A game was organized in the party, in which she had to mix drinks, which her guests would test and rate. She mixed three parts of tequila with one part triple sec and the same amount of lime. To her surprise, the drink, thus derived, was very tasty. It was approved by the guests as well. The cocktail gained popularity, traveled from Texas to Hollywood, and spread across other parts of the country. With this, 'margarita cocktail' became a popular drink in the country.
Late 20th Century To Present
A number of recipes for cocktail emerged in the later half of the 20th century. At that time, having cocktail and attending cocktail parties was considered to be a symbol of status and wealth and class. The drink featured in films and was even included in literature, which further increased its popularity. Cocktail started flourishing thereafter. A number of new cocktail recipes came to be discovered on a constant pace. Today, cocktail has become one of the inevitable beverages at bars and pubs as well as in private parties.