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Jan 11, 2024

A Few Fun Facts And Legends About Cocktails

If you are considering taking a mixology course, you have a whole world of discovery ahead. Here are a few facts and legends about the art of cocktail making!
Written by THE ART OF SHAKING

Last update: Jan 11, 2024 -

2 min read

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If you are considering taking a mixology course in 2024, you have a whole new world of discovery and adventure waiting for you. Many cocktails have fascinating origin stories, and the history of bartending is full of charismatic people and tall tales. Here are just a few fun facts and legends about the art of cocktail making! 

 

No one quite knows where the name cocktail originated

There are various theories about the origin of the name cocktail. One is that it was taken from the practice of cock fighting, where roosters with shortened tails were known as cock-tails. The cropped feather tail was used as a garnish for mixed alcoholic drinks, hence the name. 

However, another theory is that carriage drivers would use a suppository of ginger powder to make their horses lift their tails and appear spirited and fresh. This was supposedly equated with the enlivening effect that liquor has on human spirits, leading to the name cocktail for strong mixed drinks. 

 

The first bartender’s guide was published in 1862

The legendary American barman Jerry Thomas is credited with writing the first bartender’s guide, The Bon Vivant’s Companion, which was published in 1862 and is still influential today for its cocktail recipes. Thomas was a showman with a genius for publicity and is rumoured to have been the inspiration for Tom Cruise in the film Cocktail.

Thomas worked all over the USA before settling in San Francisco, where he invented his most famous drink, the Blue Blazer. This involved throwing a flame of lighted whisky between two glasses (please do not try this at home).

 

The most expensive cocktail in the world costs $22,579

Cocktails sold in a bar and a restaurant are generally a few pounds more than a glass of beer or wine. However, most people will think twice about ordering a Diamonds Are Forever Martini at the Ritz Carlton, Tokyo, which costs a cool $22,579 USD. It’s made from vodka, lime juice, and a one carat diamond. 

 

The Martini glass is not just about style

The iconic funnel-shaped Martini glass is most often associated with cocktail drinkers, and is an neon-lit symbol of nightspots the world over. The glass is not all about stylish looks, however. 

It is also shaped to allow the intense flavours of the drink to mix in the narrow bottom of the glass, while the aromas can rise to the wider surface area. This enhances the enjoyment of the drink. The long slender stem also allows the glass to be held without touching the bowl, keeping the contents ice cold.

 

The term ‘happy hour’ comes from the US Navy

Happy hour is a term often used to entice early doors drinkers with cut-price cocktails in bars, or just a relaxing hour at home to enjoy a drink or two after work. However, the term was first used in the US Navy during the 1920s, when sailors were given time to wind down with recreational activities and take a break from the toils of being at sea.

 

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