On this day in 1806, a popular New York publication, The Balance and Columbian Repository, dubbed and defined a ‘cock-tail’ as a ‘stimulating liquor composed of spirits, sugar, water and bitters’. Thus started a deluge of experiments from bartenders across New York in an attempt to secure their own inventions as some of the original names in the rise of cocktails.
In the 1920s, the American prohibition took hold and many people started distilling their own alcohol at home, mixing in different ingredients to make them more palatable.
Enter the classics – the Old Fashioned, Tom Collins and rum mojito all joined the scene and soon soared in popularity. And with the roar of the twenties truly underway, cocktails became the height of fashion and quite the accessory to a Gatsby-esque top hat and flapper dress.
With drinking of these illegal spirits still very heavily policed, drinking went underground. Introducing the Speakeasy. Tucked away bars quietly hushed drinkers inside for nights of frivolous debauchery and the true invention of mixology.
Post-prohibition saw bartenders freely experimenting with spirits and many of the names we have come to commonly see on bar menus were born and in 1958, we first heard the famous words ‘shaken, not stirred’ uttered in James Bond’s Dr No.
Nowadays, mixology has become an art form and creativity in cocktail making is immeasurable. We have those humble beginnings in the heart of prohibition to thank for some of the most wonderful flavours, pairings and concoctions we now hold dear.
Feeling inspired? See our cocktails page to get your creativeness going.