Saturday, 14 April 2012

The Origins of Cocktails....fact or fiction? - Food

Cocktails throughout history

No one actually knows who invented the cocktail as there is no historical evidence or timeline that would enable us to pinpoint when cocktails came into existence. It is, however, certain that there have been a number of influences that lead to the making of the 1st cocktails, availability of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages; curious consumers that were eager to try something new and exciting, suitable establishments with the knowledge that would enable them to create something original and different, so as we bear this in mind we are able to estimate the inception of cocktails and have a slightly clearer timeline.

It is theorized that sometime in the latter half of the 19th century, as it was not until that time that distilleries had enough know how to produce such ingredients in order to produce such concoctions, a booming economy also played its hand in its inception by of ensuring that drinks from distant countries duly imported in vast numbers.

Another stepping stone for cocktails were the middle and upper class societies spending alot of time in caf's, bars and pubs which added the final ingredient to the first cocktails: curiosity.

The british were likely to have been among the first to have taking an active interest in the new ways of drink preparations. Because of it's arbitration it was one of the first to discover new spirits, which caused the punch and such delights as this to be born, or ever more exotic fruit juices.

During the same period there are reports of cocktails being served in the United States, in 1862 the first print of the "Bartenders Guide" by Jerry Thomas was released. In it there are 236 recipes, mostly culinary, among them 13 cocktails,which are depicted as "a new invention that is being served up at Galas, Sportsmen meetings and other high level social events".

It wasn't until a few years later in 1870, when a technological breakthrough expedited the evolution of the cocktail: The production of the first ice machines that could make ice available anywhere, with ice being an indispensable ingredient for almost every cocktail from short to long.

There are rumors everwhere over the origins of the word 'Cocktail'. The english etymology is quite clear: The tail of a cock (rooster) is comprised of numerous wonderful colors, representing the varied ingredients that are combined to make a unique blend. The exact origin of the word 'cocktail' will probably remain a mystery forever.

Patrons know all too well that their Establishments are better remembered for their tall tails rather than than for the drink, the origin of the word cocktail has therefore been the source of many legends. Legends that do not necessarily always trace back to there roots.

It wasn't too long before cocktails were being served in quality Establishments like ocean liner's, steamships and airplanes, were the elite of society tend to congregate.

This type of clientle loved the complexity of such beverages which where unobtainable to the average man in the street. Since late 19th century the Manhattan and the Martini are established them selves true classics on both sides of the Atlantic ocean. They symbolize the meeting of different countries, the Italian vermouth is being introduced to American Bourbon and British Gin. The mixture creates a bond and symbolizes the development of a new wave lifestyle.

The American prohibition, which was intended to eliminate alcohol can have contributed to a further expansion of the 'cocktail world'. The many people that were not going to accept this type of big brother lawmaking found their way to the Caribbean, particularly Cuba. There they discovered new aroma's, like the Cuban rum and also an enormous variety of tropical fruits.

This movement was what inspired a special Cuban "cocktail school", which even today after almost 50 years under Fidel Castro's ruling, still exists. Bartenders from all of the world go there to learn how to tap into the exotic register and how to extend their taste pallet.

With the continued experimentation of new ingredients like Rum, Vodka, Tequila, exotic fruits and refined liquors, bartenders became much more professional in the late 1940's. At that time Bartender organizations came into existence, as well as guidelines on how to create cocktails and where to set the banner for serious cocktail making competitions.

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