We may be tempted to look for the roots of the cocktail culture in ancient times. It was then when people “discovered” various alcohols, mainly beer and wine. In antiquity, the Romans and Greeks added spices or flavors to wine to increase or decrease the strength of the drinks. The Greeks further diluted the wine with water, considering those who drink pure wine (to be) barbarians. Such cocktails were served before meals and during feasts.
In Europe at the turn of the 15th and 16th centuries, along with the development of the production processes of various distillates, e.g. spiritus vinum, vodka or spirit, attempts were made to enrich their taste by adding ingredients of plant origin. Initially – believing in medicinal purposes, and with time, when spirit became a commonly consumed alcohol, various other ingredients, mainly of plant origin, were added. What was added? Herbs and fruits, fruit juices, honey, roots and spices, and even milk.What for ? We suppose that they wanted to improve the taste of selected drinks and create new flavors.
What is the history of cocktails like we know today? Where did the name “cocktail” come from?
There are two stories that try to explain the genesis of this term.
The first one is associated with the United States at the turn of the 18th and 19th centuries. At that time, cockfighting was very popular there. The winners put a round of drinks for everyone, and the glasses were decorated with cock feathers. The products of local distillation were mixed with various ingredients, mainly to alleviate the next day syndrome. They were cold, refreshing, and low in alcohol.
So we assume that the name of the word cocktail is a combination of two English words cock and tail.
The second story is related to the 18th-century France and tells about an event that was supposed to take place in one of the taverns, to which many French army officers came one day and ordered something stronger with a meal. The innkeeper, not having enough drinks, quickly prepared a mixture of different alcohols, which he artistically stirred with a cock’s feather, then artistically served the officers. One of them, delighted with the resulting drink, was to shout “Vive le coq`s tail!” that is, Long live the rooster’s tail!
In this case, the origin of the word cocktail fits directly into the French coq`s tail.
What’s the truth? Well, let each of you decide for yourself and choose your own story.
Cocktails were really popular in the 1920s and 1930s in the United States and Europe.
Two circumstances contributed mainly to this. The first is the phylloxera plague, which at the end of the 19th century almost completely destroyed the vinesThat resulted in a shift in alcohol consumption to/towards strong drinks.The second reason for cocktail consumption boost was the introduction of prohibition.
In the years 1920-1933, the production, sale and consumption of alcohol was prohibited in the United States. Despite the ban, the consumption did not decrease but as we know, went underground – to hidden speakeasy bars. In addition, various catwalks were used, e.g. alcohol mixes were served under the supervision of agents, which looked like coffee or tea. This is the birth time of such famous cocktails as Long Island Iced Tea.
Creativity is inherent in the art of creating cocktails.