The New York tabloid The Balance and Columbian Repository defined a cocktail as “a stimulating liquor, composed of [[spirits of any kind, sugar, water and bitters“. It was written by editor Harry Croswell in response to a reader’s inquiry.
“No party is complete without cocktails! My friends all have different tastes when it comes to their drink of choice, so I like to maintain a well-stocked bar with different kinds of alcohol to keep everyone happy.” ~Khloe Kardashian
One of the best ways people get together and bond over life is through drinking. For a fun night out, cocktails provide a wide arrangement of scents and flavors to keep everything exciting and have a long history of becoming a steady staple in people’s lives. So, let us dive right in and see what World Cocktail Day is all about.
History of World Cocktail Day
In 1806, The Balance and Columbian Repository coined the term “cocktail” as a stimulating liquor with a wide variety of sweets, waters, and bitters. Originally, the Oxford English Dictionary defined the term with a different set of connotations, describing it as a horse with a tail like a cock’s, with its tail cocked up instead of hung down. Cocktails as a drink, however, started as a British invention in the 19th century and has since become an American innovation when a Connecticut-born bartender Jerry Thomas wrote the book “The Bartender’s Guide.” The Bartender’s Guide basically broadcasted an encyclopedia of how to mix drinks and recipes on some of the best combinations of drinks and flavors.
During the 1920s American prohibition, many cocktails were mixed into existence that remain firm favorites today. With not much high-quality alcohol available, cocktails were the perfect way to make that smuggled rum, gin, or whiskey just a little bit more drinkable. Enter the cocktail; rum mojitos, the Sidecar, and the Tom Collins all flourished at a time when recreational alcohol wasn’t legal. The ‘Bee’s Knees’ cocktail was actually created to mask and sweeten the taste of illegally brewed bathtub gin. The roaring twenties took the cocktail and shook it up into some of our most popular modern-day cocktails. Drinking didn’t stop during the prohibition, people simply went underground. Many illegal speakeasies popped up, serving cocktails in jazz-style locales.
Post-prohibition saw the invention of drinks that still grace the pages of your favorite cocktail bar menus. 1954 saw the mixing of the Pina Colada in Puerto Rico when Ramon Marrero created the delicious pineapple treat at the Caribe Hilton hotel. 1988 saw the much-loved Cosmopolitan enter our lives, thanks to Toby Cecchini and his desire to share a drink with his fellow bartenders in San Francisco.
A constant throughout the cocktail era in America was the Rainbow Room. Opened after the prohibition in 1934, the Rainbow Room was a high-end club where New York A-listers could celebrate in style with post-prohibition cocktails. The Rainbow Room was revived and renovated in different forms over the years, being closed during WWII and for various restorations. The 1987 reopening saw emerging mixologist Dale DeGroff create a pre-prohibition list of cocktails that revived some firm favorites and spearheaded the modern cocktail mixing revolution that made the cocktail bar increasingly popular.
The holiday itself is held annually by Drinkaware, a United Kingdom-based charity that brings awareness to the effects of drinking and aims to reduce the harm that drinking can have on people and families. The website provides facts and information about drinking, alcohol poisoning, and alcohol abuse. The World Cocktail Day page that Drinkaware hosts have events all over the world that you can partake in, a blog you can follow about your favorite recipes, and how you can drink safely while also having fun.
How to Celebrate World Cocktail Day
If you’re up for a night of fun drinking, then host a party at your place and mix up some of your favorite drinks for your friends. If you want to spice things up, check out a new recipe on some of your favorite blogs or newsletters, and make your kitchen or bar into an experiment place for you and your friends. If you’re feeling confident, you could create your own home bar and serve some of your favorite fizz-fuelled cocktails, or make your own cocktail creations with a fresh twist. Give your bar a theme and add your own unique names to your new mixers. Treat yourself to a cocktail bible and teach yourself how to make the perfect passionfruit martini or rope in your own bartender friend for some mixology advice.
If you are creating your own home bar and are jumping in as a novice bartender, you could start with a classy cosmopolitan or cheeky sex on the beach. Why not take a theme to a whole new level and take your new bar theme to a party level. Whether you’re making a sneaky speakeasy or a chic cocktail bar, making it your own is the perfect way to celebrate World Cocktail Day.
You could even avoid doing the work yourself and enroll in a cocktail class for you and your friends. Learn from the best shakers and master mixologists. Don’t want to leave the house? Why not use an online video or order a beginner’s pack right to your door. Or splash out on an inhouse mixing masterclass (calling all bartender friends again).
You might be more of a cocktail connoisseur than a master mixologist. Why not get some of the good stuff mixed for you, so you can sample some delightful cocktails without having to actually make them yourself. Put on a cocktail-themed film, sip your mojito, and feel like you’re in the summer sun.
You can also celebrate by taking part in Drinkaware’s World Cocktail Day event and hashtag the day through your social media accounts using #WorldCocktailDay and #Drinkaware.