mixology of cocktails

What is the mixology of cocktails?

I was learning about the mixology of cocktails a couple months ago. heck mixologists can’t even agree over the origin of the word cocktail. So I decided to write a helpful post on what is the mixology of cocktails?

Mixology of cocktails is when and how and why the drink cocktail was invented. If you love cocktails you might have heard its origin story at some point in your life. But somewhere around the world people are telling a different story about the same cocktails.

bartending is a roughly 30 billion dollar a year industry. more than half of adults in the world enjoy a drink now. So let me tell you how the word cocktail came to be.


the website of the aptly name cocktail Society notes four different origin stories for the word cocktail despite the apparent reference to a male chicken the etymology of the word probably most commonly told has to do with a horse’s tail.

Oxford English Dictionary offers this etymology 

the original use was as an adjective describing a creature with a tail like that of a

specifically a horse with a docked tail hence because hunters and Coach horses were generally docked a racehorse that was not a thoroughbred having a cocked horse in its pedigree thus the dictionary gives the sense perhaps analogous to the idea of an adulterated spirit or that is as a cocked horse represents a mixed breed so did a cocktail represent a mixed drink.

 although that analogy might be taken a step further as the cocktail Society notes back to the racehorse example from earlier a cocktail didn’t just mean a horse wasn’t purebred it was also a sign

of vigor and energy they’re four horse breeders and sellers would insert spices mainly Ginger up a horse’s bottom gross we know in order to make the horse look more youthful and energetic to fetch a higher price the relation to drinks is that before the invention of bitters people would add Ginger pepper and other spices to their beverage in order to liven it up and give the Drinker more Vigor a bit like the horse yep one popular etymology for cocktails something that gallup’s polls suggests between 55 and 71 percent of adults enjoy is that it’s named after spices shoved up the rear end of a horse and but that is not at all agreed upon is the etymology well the cocktail Society offers four possible Origins for the word cocktail the website differs guide for Discerning drinkers offers eight different origin stories including a Corruption of the West African word kakatau meaning Scorpion and anglicized Corruption of the name for an Aztec Noble’s daughter and a reference to actual feathers from a rooster that were used to garnish drinks and while we don’t really know the etymology or origin of the word the definition has certainly changed over time the Merriam-Webster online dictionary defines cocktail as a usually iced drink of wine or distilled liquor mixed with flavoring ingredients but that’s not always been the

Definition Jerry Thomas a 19th century New York City Saloon owner whose seminal work how

to mix drinks or the Bon vivant’s companion originally published in 1862 is widely considered to have popularized mixed drinks in America earning him the sovaque the father of American Mixology includes cocktails as a distinct section well many of the things that fit under the Merriam-Webster definition were listed under different names such as punches or cobblers in fact of cocktails he writes the cocktail is a modern invention and it’s generally used on fishing and other sporting parties although some patients insist that it is good in the morning is a tonic

in fact the earliest purported definition might even have been narrower essentially one drink the website simple cocktails.com notes that the very first definition of the cocktails believed to have been published in an answer to the editor of the balance in Colombian repository in 1806. when posed the question by a subscribe what is a cocktail that Upstate New York newspaper answered cocktail then is a stimulating liquor composed of spirits of any kind sugar water and Bitters it is vulgarly called a bittered slaying and is supposed to be an excellent electioneering potion in as much as it renders the heart Stout and bold while at the same time that it fuddles the head it is said also to be of great use to a Democratic candidate because a person

having swallowed a glass of it is ready to swallow anything else oh leave it to the listeners to maintain your own opinions about the politics of that definition but as a purportedly first time to define a cocktail in print although not the first use of the word imprint the date of the paper May 13 1806 is commonly considered to be the birthday of the cocktail and celebrated as World cocktail day but as to the actual cocktail described and a good mixologist will recognize the recipe as the cocktail today called an old-fashioned in fact the 10 recipes described as cocktails and Thomas’s how to mix drinks are all versions of the same theme using different types of

liquor except for the soda cocktail that replaces the alcohol with soda water


cocktail Authority Robert Simonson in his 2014 book the old-fashioned the story of the world’s first classic cocktail with recipes and lore explains that the drink today called the old-fashioned was originally called a whiskey cocktail Simonson told ether magazine in 2019 when bartenders in the 1870s and 1880s began adding embellishments to their whiskey cocktails some customers rebelled against the Innovations preferring the traditional version and thus ordering

old-fashioned whiskey cocktails so the term old-fashioned actually refers to the fact that the old-fashioned is an old-fashioned recipe as opposed to the many variations that were already being served when Thomas published his drink guide in 1862. as to those variations a Cajun might recognize one in particular the Sazerac which since 2008 has been designated as the official cocktail of New Orleans the Sazerac recipe today is very close to an original old-fashioned with the notable difference being the addition of licorice liqueur either absinthe or herb Saint this deviation from the old-fashioned recipes rather small with the official recipe at new orleans.com calling for just one quarter ounce of herbs Inc use just to coat the glass with the rest discarded but the history of the Sazerac is tied to cocktail lore in fact another the

potential etymologies of the word cocktail comes from the Sazerac New orleans.com explains

The Story Goes that back in 1838 Creole Apothecary Anton pesho invented the Sazerac in his shop at 437 Royal Street they say he first served it to his fellow Masons after hours in an egg cup a cocktier a word that some insist morphed into cocktail that is the name cocktail might have been derived from the fact that peso’s drink was originally served in an egg cup

as an Assad if you’re wondering about bitters it is an alcoholic preparation which uses herbs to create a bitter flavor to complement the sweet and sour flavors often included in cocktails

origin created as patent medicines one of the most popular brands is pesos bitters developed by Antoine peso around 1850 and of course the brand of bitter is usually used in a Sazerac recipe but for being so close to an Old-Fashioned recipe today the original Sazerac that peisho created represents a significant difference demonstrated in the name Sazerac refers to Sazerac de Forge a fee of limos France a fine cognac the original Sazerac was not a whiskey cocktail but a cognac a type of Brandy itself a distilled wine cocktail but chilled magazine which describes itself as the Premier Source for the latest insights Trends and stories within the dynamic World of Beer Wine and Spirits rights whatever locals actually called it the drinks popularity skyrocketed beyond the pharmacy’s walls a local bar eventually known as the Sazerac Coffee House started making its own version and swapped the cognac out for Rye some experts say the switch was motivated to please American Pilots others blame cognac’s steep prices after the great French wine blight in the 1860s thus the original sazerax recipe was less old-fashioned than its newer recipe which is more like a traditional old-fashioned they switch from Brandy to

Rye owing possibly to the availability of Brandy is similar to a switch made for the same reason in 17th century England when William of Orange stat holder of the Netherlands became king of England after the Glorious Revolution in 1689 France and the Netherlands were at War thus the website Vine pair explains he enforced blockades and introduced heavy taxes on French wine and cognac in an attempt to weaken their economy this economic Warfare was coupled with

corn laws that among other things gave tax breaks for local Spirits production that led to vine pair rights a distilling free-for-all notably if a spirit originally produced in Williams country called genovia that Von pair says essentially consisted of a malt-wide base and a healthy amount of

juniper berries to mask its harsh flavor that is where the association between England and Jinn began the resulting boom was called The Gin craze when a pint of gin was cheaper than a pint of beer that then led to a public drunkenness problem that was officially addressed via a distilling tax in fact lime pair quotes Ford gin’s owner Simon for that the British were too drunk to pronounce Jennifer so they abbreviated the word to gen which eventually gets anglicized to the word that we use today and talking about gin and bitter bitterness resulted in one of the most famous cocktails made from gin the gin and tonic in the 18th century India was largely under British rule and the British there notably the military the British East India Company had carried over their love of gin but being a tropical zone They also suffered from malaria the newspaper the independent continues the story gin and tonic is the drink of millions worldwide but it would not exist had it not been for Edinburgh born George Cleghorn an 18th century doctor who discovered that quinine could cure malaria the quinine was drunk in tonic water but it was so

bitter that gin was added to make it more palatable so if you enjoy a g and T you have

malaria and the bitter taste of quinine to thank.

Tom Collins

and of course there are many other gin drinks if there was a drink where you’d think the inventor was clear would be the drink called a Tom Collins a drink that mixes gender vodka with lemon juice and soda water presumably created either by or for someone named Tom Collins but of course it it isn’t just that easy one story ties the name to a prank that became popular and made newspapers in the United States in 1874. the Tom Collins hoax was played by telling a gullible person that a miscreant named Tom Collins was spreading bad rumors about them and said that that Tom could be found at a nearby bar the victim of the hoax would then go to the establishment and angrily ask for Tom Collins only to be met by laughter one claims that the drink was created by New York bartenders and the name of the fictional provocateur but the website of an online wine course by simonier Christine Norman explains that the drink likely originated well before the 1874 hoax sometime around 1800 by a waiter in a London hotel named John Collins and 1882 book entitled new and improved Illustrated bartender’s manual or how to mix drinks of the present Style by publisher and bartender Harry Johnson list a recipe for a drink called a John Collins that uses Holland gin something that likely refers to Jennifer the

original Dutch recipe but also lists a very similar recipe for a drink called the Tom Collins which instead uses Old Tom Gin Norman writes Jennifer is a multi-sweet spirit from Holland made with juniper that most considered the predecessor of gin over time English tastes evolved and the creation in the use of the Old Tom Gin in London dry gin became prevalent thus a Tom Collins is a John Collins made with Old Tom Gin in fact many mixologists note that the drink is very similar to Gin punch which might date back as far as the 16th century and thus might predate the old-fashioned coming before the era when the word cocktail can be referred to any mixed drink


in the name derived from two types of gin seems somewhat ironic because the drink today is often served with a Twist the vodka collins uses vodka instead of gin and on the subject of substituting vodka for Jan one of the most famous cocktails in the world is the martini which can be made with either gin or vodka or both but who invented it and where did it get its name

one stories that the drink was invented during the California Gold Rush and named after the town of Martinez California some of these stories attribute the invention to Jerry Thomas himself which is odd since includes no such drink in his book until it’s 1887 Edition when they called it Dave Martinez cocktail perhaps the most common stories that the drink which includes a fortified wine or wine with Brandy mixed in called vermouth was named after a brand of

vermouth Martini produced by Italian distillers Alessandro martini and Luigi Rossi and has been sold since 1863. another suggestion is that Martini vermouth is what caused the name of the drink to be changed from Martinez to martini a suggestion that the drink was invented by a bartender named Martini at the New York Knickerbocker Hotel in 1911for financier John B Rockefeller can be discounted by the fact that recipes for a martini cocktail appeared in

bartending guides in the late 19th century in any case ironically martinis became particularly popular in the United States because of the prohibition of alcohol USA Today explained in 2018 that Bootleggers distilled bathtub gin that was basically moonshine that had juniper berries mixed in to match the disgustingness of the drink the heavy on vermouth Martini help too

USA Today explains make the drink palatable after prohibition the Gin go better and the martini got drier that is included less for move which is ironic if the drink was literally named after a

type of vermouth in the 1950s Americans developed a taste for lighter spirits and the vodka

martini became popular in the Martini’s popularity was certainly enhanced by the Spy James Bond created by novelist Ian Fleming in 1953’s Casino Royale he orders a version named a Vesper after his love interest in the novel Vesper Lind that uses both gin and vodka specifically three measures of Gordon’s gin took one measure of vodka but he only drinks the so-called Vesper Martini once in other filming novels and short stories Bond drinks gin or vodka martinis with the website novel statistics counting over the course of Fleming stories Bond drinking 19 vodka martinis and 16 gin martinis in both the novels and the films he orders the drink shaken not stirred which Martini Pirates complained melts the ice faster and dilutes the drink the webpage moneycontrol.com noted last year however that a diluted drink may have been his goal as he was a spy and needed to stay Sharp.


gosh I haven’t even started to well ship at the rather full glass of all these stories surrounding so many different kinds of cocktails maybe I’ll come back another time for it well another round but the eight or nine or by some accounts maybe as many as a dozen different possible etymologies for the word cocktail shows just how difficult it is to separate truth from fiction

when talking about the history of Mixology maybe all these stories arrive because stories about how drinks were invented cells drinks or maybe it’s because they arise in bars which are places that are sort of given to stories or maybe it’s because the people’s telling these stories are drunk themselves but even when we have trouble telling which story is true and which story is fiction the story say something about us about what entertains us but we value and that way a story can become history itself cheers I hope you enjoyed watching this episode of the history guy and if you did please feel free to like And subscribe and share the history guide with your

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