History of the Cocktail

With Summer “hopefully” here in the Eastern Cape many of its inhabitants will be heading for the beachfront and head for a local pub or cocktail lounge, so thought I would look up the history of the cocktail and “edumecate” all 6 of my readers at the same time. 

Many people seem to have theories about how mixed drinks got the name cocktails.   The truth is probably no one actually knows so here are some of those theories and u can decide which is the one you think more plausible.

The first written evidence of the word dates back to 1806 when a newspaper called the Columbian Repository wrote a story about a politician losing 12b of “cock-a-tails”, an interested reader  then wrote back asking what these cocktails are and as to where he can acquire some for medicinal use.

Other stories as to the words origin are the following

A French Chemist in New-Orleans served strong drinks in tiny egg cups that the French call “coqueitier” and the drinks were therefore called “coquetiers” which soon changed to cocktails.

Another (and perhaps my favorite) is the one that has Betsy Flanagan a barmaid and widow of a French Revolutionary soldier used to steal roosters from a neighbour who was unsympathetic to the cause in order to feed revolutionaries who came to her establishment. She decorated her drinks with the colorful tail feathers as a gesture of defiance and her loyal customers would raise their glasses and drink a toast to “vive-le-cock-tail” 

A more logical explanation or origin of the word  probably comes from England where the local pubs would pour all the last bits of different spirits that was left in casks into one holder called a “tale” and the plug used to stopper the cask was called  “yes you guessed it” a “cock”. So patrons would enter and ask for “cock-tales”

Another that if found interesting dates back to the prohibition days (1919-1933) when people distilling their own “moonshine”. This form of spirit is raw and vile tasting and could not be enjoyed just on its own, so to mask the horrible taste they added fruit juices, soda or fruit to the raw alcohol.

The prohibition also banned the sale of  or transport of all alcohol, but it was still legal to drink any stocks of spirits you already had in your home. Those lucky or devious enough to have bottles of real booze in their homes obviously became “popular” hosts. They could invite friends over to entertain them without having to look over their shoulders for the long arm of the law, they could “speak easy”. Clandestine bars sprang up all over the USA attempting to copy this atmosphere and became known as “speak-easies”.

Ok well the edumacting part of the Blog is over, what else do i have to tell you ?   well this must be the first weekend since i can remember that the weather has been nice. Blue skies, no wind and no Frikken rain.  Sat beaches busy with locals taking advantage of the sun and the surf

The Boks survived a spirited Irish team on Saturday to narrowly win 16-12 , the Irish were a weakend team from the one the All Blacks mugged 60-0 not to long ago so that ether tells me the All Blacks are way better than us or the replacements the Irish coach included in his team are better than the one s that took a hiding against  the New Zealanders.  The Boks have not looked good under Heyneke Meyer and hopefully he has a plan

This week i was in Mosell Bay for a couple of days doing a risk assessment for Portnet, was interesting and a change to the training in a classroom. As much as i enjoy the job i have to say that i can’t wait for the year to be finished as I am mentally tired. Had the flu this week so not felt so lekker hopefully by tomorrow it will be gone as need to present SAMTRAC for the next two weeks.  
Well that’s it for this week  

Have a great one

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