The Origin of the Cocktail

The earliest reference to a "Cock tail" as a drink based on spirits with other spirits and/or other additives goes back to an early American magazine called "The Balance" published in May of 1806.

The word possibly owes its origin to the French word coquetel - being a mixed drink of the time from Bordeaux served to French officers serving in what is now the southern part of the United States.

Cocktails became fashionable during the 1920's and 1930's. During prohibition in the U.S.A. drinks were mixed in cocktail glasses in order to hide the character of the individual spirits. Later, cocktails became identified with the extravagance of the late 1930's this image was partly fostered by their links with the rise of jazz and their portrayal by Hollywood.

Cocktails were now respectable and elegant.