Classic Mixology: Cocktail & Mixed Drink Recipes


After being first mentioned in an April 28, 1803, edition of the Farmer's Cabinet (Amherst, New Hampshire) the cocktail was defined in the Balance and Columbian Repository, May 13, 1806 (Hudson, New York) in response to a reader's question as:

Cock tail, then, is a stimulating liquor, composed of spirits of any kind, sugar, water, and bitters--it is vulgarly called a bitterer sling, and is supposed to be an excellent electioneering potion, inasmuch as it renders the heart stout and bold, at the same time it fuddles the head. [continues with political commentary; the Repository was a Federalist paper].

By the 1850s, the Cocktail had come into its own and was being served in a recognizable form, cold and strained into another glass. How to Mix Drinks (1862) by Jerry Thomas was the first book with a recipe section for Cocktails.

"The 'Cocktail' is a modern invention, and is generally used on fishing and other sporting parties, although some patients insist that it is good in the morning as a tonic. The 'Crusta' is an improvement on the 'Cocktail,' and is said to have been invented by Santina, a celebrated Spanish caterer."