Cocktail History

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The creation of a cocktail can be traced to the 19th century. A written reference to a “cocktail ” can be found in an American magazine, The Balance, published in May 1806. It stated that a “Cocktail is a stimulating liquor, composed of spirits of any kind, sugar, water, and bitters… ”


– 1860 to 1920: The Birthplace of Cocktails  One of the first modern cocktails to be named and recognized is the martini. “Professor ” Jerry Thomas got famous for inventing the drink in California, USA. The recepie consisted of gin, sweet vermouth, a dash of maraschino and bitters, a slice of lemon and two dashes of gum syrup. This is said by some to be the beginning of the golden age of cocktails.

cocktail history

– 1920 to 1933: Prohibition in the USA  During the prohibition it was illegal to manufacture and sell any “intoxicating liquors. ” Still, the public had ways to gain access to the illegal substance. The popularity of cocktails at that time was partly due to the need to cover up the bad taste of the homemade alcohol. Some of the cocktail recipes invented in these days are still used today in bars around the world!


– 1934 to 1959 The Margarita is Born  Legend says the drink originated in 1938, when Marjorie King, a showgirl  asked for a tequila cocktail at a bar in Rosarita Beach, Mexico. The bartender, poured tequila over shaved ice then added lemon and triple sec. The drink was then named after Marjorie (or at least, the Spanish translation of her name).


– 1960 to Present Commercialization & Innovation  In the second half of the 20th century, the cocktail popularity has flourished. Both literature and film have contributed to the images of wealth and class associated with the cocktail hour.


Enjoy your cocktails and always remember about the history behind them!

The Bartending News Flash Team

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