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How did "cocktail" get its name?

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#1 jaybee

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Posted 19 December 2002 - 07:09 PM

It is a strange name to call a combination of spirits and flavorings. I've worked as consultant to many spirits companies, and the term is used in the industry. but I think it is an anachronism. I never hear younger drinkers say "I'd like a cocktail" or "I'm invited to a cocktail party."

#2 Kingcocktail

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Posted 21 December 2002 - 07:28 AM

Hi Jaybee,

Your absolutely right the 25 to 30 set go to Martini parties! The word cocktail, which emerged at the end of the 18th century at first had a very narrow definition, a mixed alcoholic drink with Bitters, but by the end of the 19th century the word cocktail was applied to any mixed alcoholic drink. The same thing has happened to the word Martini, Martini has come to mean any cocktail served in that distinctive V shaped glass.

There are numerous stories about the origin of the word cocktail and most are just lore but one of the least repeated and the most likely sounding is the story of Antoine Peychaud. He is famous today as the maker of the Peychauds Bitters the brand that is used in the Sazerac cocktail. He came up with the recipe in his apothecary shop in New Orleans in 1793, and served it to friends dashed into small cups of cognac. The small cups he used were the two sided egg cups we use for soft eggs and in French they are apparently called coquetier and some people think they were copied by the fist makers of the two sided jigger for measuring cocktails. The word is similar to cocktail in pronunciation and was corrupted to cocktail….Sounds good to me!