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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A typical cocktail, served in a cocktail glass.

A cocktail is a mixed drink containing two or more ingredients. Originally a mixture of distilled spirits, sugar, water, and bitters,[1] the word has gradually come to mean almost any mixed drink containing alcohol.[2]

A cocktail today usually contains one or more types of liquor and one or more mixers, such as bitters, fruit juice, fruit, soda, ice, sugar, honey, milk, cream, or herbs.[3]



Flaming cocktails.

The earliest known printed use of the word “cocktail” was in The Farmer’s Cabinet, April 28, 1803:[4]

“Drank a glass of cocktail — excellent for the head . . . Call’d at the Doct’s. found Burnham — he looked very wise — drank another glass of cocktail.”

The earliest definition of "cocktail" was in the May 13, 1806, edition of the Balance and Columbian Repository, a publication in Hudson, New York, in which an answer was provided to the question, "What is a cocktail?". It replied:

“Cocktail is a stimulating liquor composed of spirits of any kind, sugar, water, and bitters — it is vulgarly called a bittered sling and is supposed to be an excellent electioneering potion, inasmuch as it renders the heart stout and bold, 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.”

Compare the ingredients listed (spirits, sugar, water, and bitters) with the ingredients of an Old Fashioned.

The first publication of a bartenders' guide which included cocktail recipes was in 1862 — How to Mix Drinks; or, The Bon Vivant's Companion, by "Professor" Jerry Thomas. In addition to listings of recipes for Punches, Sours, Slings, Cobblers, Shrubs, Toddies, Flips, and a variety of other types of mixed drinks were 10 recipes for drinks referred to as "Cocktails". A key ingredient which differentiated "cocktails" from other drinks in this compendium was the use of bitters as an ingredient, although it is not used in many modern cocktail recipes.

The first "cocktail party" ever thrown was allegedly by Mrs. Julius S. Walsh Jr. of St. Louis, Missouri, in May 1917. Mrs. Walsh invited 50 guests to her home at noon on a Sunday. The party lasted an hour, until lunch was served at 1 pm. The site of this first cocktail party still stands. In 1924, the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of St. Louis bought the Walsh mansion at 4510 Lindell Boulevard, and it has served as the local archbishop's residence ever since.[5]

During Prohibition in the United States (1920–1933), when the sale of alcoholic beverages was illegal, cocktails were still consumed illegally in establishments known as speakeasies. The quality of the alcohol available was far lower than was previously used, and bartenders generally put forth less effort in preparing the cocktails.[2] There was a shift from whiskey to gin, which does not require aging and is thus easier to produce illicitly.[6]

Cocktails became less popular in the late 1960s and 1970s, as other recreational drugs became common. In the 1980s cocktails again became popular, with vodka often substituted for gin in drinks such as the martini. Traditional cocktails and gin are starting to make a comeback in the 2000s.[7]


Piña Colada cocktails with pieces of coconut.

There are several claims about the origin of the term "cocktail," many of which are fanciful and few of which are supported by documentary evidence. Among them are:

  • A tavern near Elmsford, New York was popular with the officers of the Revolutionary soldiers of Washington and Lafayette. The American troops preferred whiskey or gin, the French preferred wine or vermouth. All enjoyed a bit of brandy or rum. Sometimes late in the evenings, in a spirit of camaraderie, the spirits were mixed from one cup to another during toasts. A soldier stole a rooster from the tavern owner's neighbor, who was believed to be a Tory supporter of George III of the United Kingdom. The rooster was promptly cooked and served to the customers, with the tail feathers used to adorn the accompanying drinks. The toasts accompanying this meal were "vive le cocktail" and the mixed drinks were so called ever after.[8]
  • Another etymology is that the term is derived from coquetier, a French double-ended egg-cup which was used to serve the beverage in New Orleans in the early 19th century.[9]

Derivative uses

The word "cocktail" is sometimes used figuratively for a mixture of liquids or other substances. For example, the usage of such a word could be as follows: "120 years of industry have dosed the area's soil with a noxious cocktail of heavy metals and chemical contaminants".

A makeshift incendiary bomb consisting of a bottle of inflammable liquid (usually gasoline) with a flaming rag attached is known as a "Molotov cocktail."

See also


  1. ^ Thomas, Jerry (1862). How To Mix Drinks. 
  2. ^ a b Regan, Gary (2003). The Joy of Mixology. Potter. 
  3. ^ DeGroff, Dale (2002). The Craft of the Cocktail. Potter. 
  4. ^ David Wondrich (2007). Imbibe!: From Absinthe Cocktail to Whiskey Smash, a Salute in Stories and Drinks to "Professor" Jerry Thomas, Pioneer of the American Bar. Perigee Trade. ISBN 0399532870. 
  5. ^ St. Louis - Party Central -
  6. ^ Eric Felton (November 28 2008). "Celebrating Cinco de Drinko". Wall Street Journal. 
  7. ^ Anthony Dias Blue (2004). The Complete Book of Spirits. HarperCollins. p. 58. 
  8. ^ Stephen Visakay Vintage Bar Ware (Schroeder Publishing Co, Inc., 1997), ISBN 0-89145-789-5)
  9. ^ Stanley Clisby Arthur Famous New Orleans Drinks and How to Mix 'Em (Pelican Publishing Company, June 1977), ISBN 0-88289-132-4)

External links


Up to date as of January 14, 2010
(Redirected to Cocktail (film) article)

From Wikiquote

Cocktail is a 1988 film starring Tom Cruise as a talented bartender who finds love while working at a bar in Jamaica.



  • I am going to be VERY fat, and YOU are gonna love it!
  • Your sexy smile isn't gonna work this time.


  • You bitch! Why didn't you just say a rum and Coke?!
  • Everything ends badly, otherwise, it would never end.
  • I am the world's last barman poet! I see America drinking the fabulous cocktails I make. America is getting stinking on something I stir or shake. The Sex On The Beach...the Schnapps made from peach! The Velvet Hammer...the Alabama Slammer! I make things with juice and froth, the Pink Squirrel...the 3 Toed Sloth. I make drinks so sweet and snazzy, the Iced Tea...the Kamakazi! The Orgasm...the Death Spasm. The Singapore Sling...the Ding a Ling. America you're just devoted to every flavor I've got, but if you want to get loaded...why don't you just order a shot! Bar's open!!
  • If Jordan gives birth to a fine Irish son /There be Cocktails and Dreams for him one day to run /A business that shall yield a financial windfall/To be franchised in every suburban shopping mall. /Now, if a daughter arrives to bless our clan /I guess the shit will certainly hit the fan/But this I shall promise to thee /I'll never let her marry a guy like me /Still if our child is the naughtiest of girls or the wildest of young men / I swear I'll be the best dad I can / And never ever get spooked again.


  • The money's gone, the brain is shot. But the liquor, we still got.
  • Beer is for breakfast, 'round here, drink or be gone.
  • You see, there are two kinds of people in this world, the workers and the hustlers. The hustlers never work and the workers never hustle and you my friend, are a worker.


Doug: You are in training my son.
Brian: In training for what?
Doug: For stardom. No matter how liberal this world may become, a man will always be judged on the amount of alcohol he can consume, and women will be impressed with it, whether they like it or not!

External links

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Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

See also cocktail



Cocktail n. (genitive Cocktails, plural Cocktails)

  1. cocktail

Simple English

A cocktail is a kind of mixed drink. Usually, it is made with alcoholic drinks such as vodka, gin or rum. Since such spirits do not have much taste of their own (at around 40% alcohol), other ingredients are added. Common ingredients are fruits, fruit juice, sugar, crushed ice, and ice cubes. If the cocktail is served in a bar or nightclub, it is often garnished with a piece of fruit, for example, a gin and tonic could be garnished with lemon, a Piña Colada with pineapple and a cherry.

Most cocktails were invented in the late 19th or early 20th centuries. People began drinking a lot of cocktails in the United States in the 1920s due to Prohibition. Around that time, cocktails from Cuba, such as the mojito, became popular around the world.

Cocktails made without alcohol are also made.

Because all the ingredients give their flavor to the finished drink, a cocktail is only as good as the worst ingredient.

Common cocktails

[[File:|A Margarita (7 parts tequila, 4 parts Triple Sec, 3 parts lime juice)|thumb|right|150px]] [[File:|A Bloody Mary cocktail|thumb|right|150px]] There are many kinds of cocktails. They include:

  • A martini is the most common cocktail. It is made with gin and vermouth, and served with an olive
    • There are many variations on a martini, which include a Gibson (martini with an onion instead of an olive), a Bronx (Martini plus orange juice), and an Appletini (made with apple liqueur instead of vermooth)
  • The Old-fashioned is thought to be the first cocktail. It is made with whiskey, sugar, bitters, and soda water
  • A margarita is made with tequila, triple sec and lime juice. It came from Mexico, and is commonly served in Mexican cuisine.
    • A sidecar is similar to a margarita, but is made with Cognac instead of tequila
  • A Manhattan is made with rye whiskey, vermouth, and bitters
    • If it is made with scotch, it is called a Rob Roy
  • A mojito is made with rum, lime juice, sugar, water and spearmint leaves.
    • A mint julip is similar to a mojito. It made with bourbon, sugar, water, and spearmint leaves. It is popular in the Southern United States, especially at the Kentucky Derby
  • A daiquiri is made with rum and lime juice. Like many popular cocktails, it came from Cuba.
  • A Piña Colada is an iced cocktail made with pineapple juice, coconut cream and rum. It came from Puerto Rico.
  • A Bloody Mary is made with tomato and lemon juices, plus vodka. It is different not only because of its blood-red color, but because it is served with a pickle or celery.

There is a group called the IBA that determines what common cocktails are, and how they should be made

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