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Fascinating Facts about Cocktails Scramble Squares®
Liquor has been used by humans throughout history and throughout the world. The consumption of alcohol is documented in the Hebrew and Christian bibles, in Greek literature, as long ago as Homer, and in writings by Confucius in Asia. People drink alcohol for many diverse reasons, including as a social “lubricant,” to quench thirst, to become inebriated, to feed an addiction, as part of a religious ceremony or as part of a tradition or custom. In regions with poor public sanitation, the consumption of alcoholic beverages has been a method of avoiding water borne diseases, such as cholera.

When liquor is combined with other ingredients to create mixed drinks, such drinks are called “cocktails.” A mixed drink usually contains one or more distilled alcoholic beverages, along with ice, liqueur, fruit, juice or other ingredients. Many mixed drinks also include carbonated beverages that are nonalcoholic, such as soda water and tonic water. Cocktails became popular during the Prohibition era in the United States, when bartenders at speakeasies would mix drinks with other liquors and with nonalcoholic beverages to cover the aroma and taste of bootlegged alcohol. Until the 1970s, mixed drinks had been made mostly with gin, whiskey, or rum. In the 1970s, the popularity of vodka increased dramatically, and by the 1980s, vodka had become the main alcohol for mixed drinks. Many cocktails that traditionally had been made with gin, such as the gimlet, might now be made with vodka. It was in the 1970s when James Bond popularized his "Large and very strong and very well made" Martini made with gin and vodka and then “shaken, not stirred.”

There are many stories about the derivation of the term cocktail. One popular story traces the term’s roots to the American Revolutionary War when Betsy Flanagan, a barmaid in a tavern in Hall's Corners, New York, served Betsy's Bracers to the American and French soldiers who frequented that tavern. It is said that on one occasion, American soldiers stole some male pheasants from the British, and a wild party ensued. While drinking, the soldiers raised a toast to Betsy's Bracers, proclaiming, "Here's to the divine liquor which is as delicious to the palate, as the cock's tails are beautiful to the eye," to which a French officer is said to have shouted, "Vive le cocktail!" Another traditional story attributes the name “cocktail” to a custom of decorating the outside of a drinking glass with a tail feather from a rooster. At another tavern in the state of New York that claims it was the origin of the cocktail, the tavern keeper’s daughter, Peggy, mixed a powerful and secret alcoholic concoction for the tavern’s patrons. When the sailor with whom Peggy was in love returned home with a promotion and a prized fighting cock named Lightning, he asked for Peggy’s hand in marriage. According to legend, Lightning crowed and shook loose a tail feather into the newlyweds’ honeymoon bed, which Peggy promptly put into her secret alcoholic concoction and said to her new husband, "Lightning names this drink! Drink this cocktail, sir, to your success with my father, and as a pledge to our future happiness!" Following this proclamation, the tavern adopted the sign of the cock’s tail feather as its emblem, and the tavern became known as the originator of the mixed drink “cocktail.”

b.dazzle inc. · 500 Meyer Lane · Redondo Beach, CA 90278, U.S.A.
Tel: (310) 374-3000 · Fax: (310) 318-6692 · E Mail: info@b-dazzle.com
 

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